A big crowd braved the chill of the Minibeast From The East, (some had to stay in hotels in the area after the gig, it got so bad out there). But it was warm as toast in the packed (what is the fire limit?) Middlesbrough Empire where Numan fans from far and wide had gathered to witness the latest outing of a man whose musical career has spanned four decades. Trio, Nightmare Air from the US opened the night with their guitar/electro sound that had some similarities to the Sugar Cubes and a bit of Teenage Fanclub. The songs were catchy and at times had a darkness befitting the evening.
Gary came on with much dry ice and light beams singing Ghost Nation from the new album Savage: Songs From a Broken World. The night featured a good few of the songs from this excellent new album. My personal favourite is My Name Is Ruin, which has Numan’s daughter’s vocals giving it an ethereal feel over the industrial rhythm.
Indeed it is noticeable that although Gary Numan sowed one of the seeds for electronic music, he has reaped some of the fruit in the form of inspiration from such sources as Nine Inch Nails (with whom he has collaborated) and Rammstein. I’m of the opinion that his last album Splinter, and this one, are a form of rebirth for Numan and a welcome one. Songs such as Halo, Pray for the Pain You Serve and Haunted were interspersed with classics like Me! I Disconnect From You which worked really well. The new material is dramatic, dark and big enough to engage an audience who are not yet familiar with it.
Onstage, Numan looked happy and totally at home, belying his age by at least a decade. It was a great performance. Gary Numan has a brilliant band around him as well which certainly is a major factor in the impressive live sound. Of course a large section of the crowd were waiting for Cars. But there was a good response for Are Friends Electric with enthusiastic singing along. For the encore, A Prayer For The Unborn and My last Day made for an appropriately apocalyptic ending. Gary Numan continues to be a living legend in my eyes.