GARY NUMAN // O2 ACADEMY, GLASGOW
A pioneer of synth rock and electronic music, Gary Numan visits Glasgow.
Even after 43 years in the music business Gary Numan is still revered by critics and followed his loyal fans. Initially, making his name as leader of a group called Tubeway Army and then with a successful and lengthy solo career. Famed for his merging of synthesizers and guitar. His impact on modern pop music is clear from influencing Trent Reznor and being sampled by Basement Jaxx.
Tonight, his loyal legion of fans (known as Numanoids) pack into the Glasgow 02. Before their hero takes the stage, they are warmed up by Kanga, playing songs from their new EP Eternal Daughter. Kanga use cold, emotionless vocals and fast electronic beats to create what could best be described as gothic dance music. Kanga’s immensely enjoyable half hour set is well received by the crowd.
After Kanga, ominous, dense beats play out the speakers until Gary Numan, sill spritely at 61, bounds on to the stage. The tension of the intro noise is quickly replaced by rapturous applause before returning with the keyboard squelches that introduce My Name Is Ruin from his most recent album, Savage Songs from a Broken World. The glam stomp and keyboard lines combine to create a catchy piece of dystopian pop. Numan’s lyrics warn of a future world ransacked by environmental disaster. The clear Depeche Mode influence on the song is testament to Numan’s ability to taking inspiration from his contemporaries.
During the 2nd song, the new wave, Remind Me to Smile, Numan is already oscailtely widely around the stage, while still nailing the deadpan vocals. Seemingly, invigorated by the love from the crowd, he later comments on the strong connection he feels to Glasgow.
Guttural blasts of synth induced distortion introduce Ghost Nation, forcefully demanding the attention of all in the venue. The song also from Savage Songs from a Broken World continues the dystopian theme questioning the role of God, in this new future world, torn apart by disaster. These heavy themes are no surprise from an artist who broke through to mainstream with concept albums about being an android (hence Numannoids) and who regularly exposes his atheist views.
Though the new songs are thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd, the show really catches fire when the older Tubeway Army material is aired. Down in the Park, is beautifully sedate and creates a picture of loneliness and isolation. While the classic Are ‘Friends’ Electric?, gets a substantial singalong from the crowd. This is followed by the punky Me, I Disconnect from You, which is wisely saved for the encore, are all highlights.
Other highpoints come from across Numan’s back catalogue the urgent Here in the Black and the twinkling atmosphere of Prayer for the Unborn.
Though, there are less successful moments, such as the oddly dated crap radio advert feel of Stories (not played since 1980 so hopefully at least enjoyed by the diehards in the audience) and a rather rudimental run through of Absolution.
Ultimately, however the career spanning show is triumph and testament to the fantastic career and music of Gary Numan. Numanoids, leave sated in the promise of new material to come and having enjoyed a fantastic set.
SETLIST: | GARY NUMAN : O2 ACADEMY, GLASGOW - 28.09.2019
My Name Is Ruin
Remind Me to Smile
Stories - (First time since 1980)
I, Assassin - (First time since 2009)
Down in the Park
Here in the Black
Warriors - (First time since 2012)
A Prayer for the Unborn
Are ‘Friends’ Electric?
Voix - (First time since 2004)
Me! I Disconnect From You
Jo the Waiter