Gary Numan ~ The Amazing 80s Icon is Back Stronger Than Ever

From the “it doesn’t get much better than this” department….Gary Numan’s live set presented by KCRW in its total exquisiteness.

This was merely a warm-up for the mini-eastern US tour he was about to embark on, and the later more extensive UK tour.

Unfortunately, I missed Numan in Sunrise, FL when he opened for Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails on October 30. I had a ticket, but circumstances way beyond my control prevented me from attending.

Next time…and there WILL be a next time, so I hear. Perhaps in March 2014.

Until then, there are always quality videos such as this–and my dreams–to sustain me.

With thanks to Andrew Lister for calling my attention to this video.

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Gary Numan’s Machine Music Tour 2012 ~ A Review

My friend and sometimes-guest author Mark Ryan was lucky enough to attend two performances of Gary Numan’s latest Machine Music tour. Mark wanted to share his impressions with other Numanoids via Rave and Roll. I am honored to present his review here. (Photography by Karren Bailey and Vikki Churchill).

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Photo by Karren Bailey

On May 22nd of this year, Gary Numan started another UK Tour. Those fortunate to see him live will never regret it. Those who have not seen him live are missing something special. In this short piece I am going to try and give you a small review of Gary Numan’s Machine Music tour. I saw him in 2 places (Sheffield & Birmingham) and will try to give an unbiased opinion of the live show, along with all of the plusses and minuses.

The Machine Music tour was billed as a singles tour with songs Numan had either never done live, or had only performed onstage once before.

The opening song was Berserker (Berserker, 1984) – I was really looking forward to this having heard it last in 1984. For the 2 shows I attended, the vocals were better if you stood in row 4 or 5; however, the guitar and female vocals were great.

This was followed by Metal (Pleasure Principle, 1979), a brilliant song that’s even better live. This made it seem as though the live show had finally started.

The Fall (Dead Song Rising, 2012) – This is a great song and Gary did the song proud. There are rumours that it’s written for an ex-band member. This was one of the crowd’s favourites with people jumping up and down during the chorus.

Bombers (1978) – This is an old Tubeway Army song that included a video of old airplanes as a backdrop. For this piece, Gary played 2nd guitar and made it seem as though he rejoiced at playing one of his old punk numbers. Also, there was great bass guitar.

Crazier (Hybrid, 2003) – This is one of my favourite Numan songs, and Gary really did the song justice. This song reached the Top 15 in 2003 and the crowd lapped the song up. Gary was truly great on this number.

Photo by Vikki Churchill

Call out the Dogs (The Fury, 1985) – First of all, I have no idea what this song is about, and I have not previously witnessed him sing this live. However, it was brilliant. The drums more or less took over this song especially at the bridge where it seems keyboards/ guitars are fighting for the drums in equal billing. This was the best song/performance so far, in my opinion.

Dominion Day (Sacrifice, 1994) – This was the turnaround song for Gary professionally and once again this was brilliant. I can actually remember hearing this song originally and thinking “wow”. Now, all I can think of is “brilliant”.

This Wreckage (Telekon, 1980) – I was surprised that Gary included this particular song as Telekon had some other awesome songs (Aircrash Bureau). That said, “This Wreckage” came across brilliant live, even the Japanese vocal (which Gary forgot to sing in the 1st part; however, he did seem lost in the moment).

Absolution (Exile, 1997) – This is from my favourite Numan album and written about people’s faith (although it has also been called a love song). This was excellent, although the background video put me off fully enjoying the song.

That’s Too Bad (1977) – This was Numan’s first release. To my knowledge he’s never done this live and it makes you wonder, why not? This was truly amazing with great guitars. I actually remember the words and there people around me who were also familiar with it. If you see any footage of this live, make sure you pay close attention. This was legendary

In a Dark Place (Jagged, 2006) – This was a brilliant song that featured some great keyboards, along with and the keyboard player on backing vocals. This can be included as one of his best songs in the show.

Photo by Vikki Churchill

Down in the Park (Replicas, 1979) – This started of the whole Gary Numan craze for me. Once I heard this back in the day, I was hooked and still am. No matter how many times he performs this, I will never tire of it.

RIP (Pure, 2000) This was a perfect song. The band were on form at this time. Especially when the chorus approaches.

Love Needs No Disguise (1981) This has never EVER been done live by Gary before. So obviously I was looking forward to it, knowing it could possibly be the highlight to the show. Before the song he dedicated it to the Memory of Cedric Sharpley who was Gary’s previous drummer and who passed away 6 weeks ago from a heart attack. He then introduced Rrussell Bell (guitar) & Chris Payne (violin) who were in Gary’s backing band at the start of his career and are still loved by longtime, faithful fans. This seemed almost surreal. It absolutely delivered live as Gary sung it with so emotion. This was indeed the highlight of the show so far.

Warriors (Warriors, 1983) Although I love this song, it did not work for me. Good song and lovely guitar work; however, the original featured some electric slap bass and live it did not work or connect with me.

I Die You Die (1980) This is probably my favourite Numan song. Every time he does this live it makes the hairs stand up on my arms and this was no exception. Gary seemed to really enjoy this.

Photo by Vikki Churchill

We are Glass (1980) This was released as a single and reached the Top 5. However, this song doesn’t sound right live, almost as though there is something missing. It’s almost anticlimactic. This actually left me disappointed.

This was the end of the live set but high chants of NUMANNNNNNNNNN echoed throughout the venue as we waited for an encore……………..and they did not disappoint.

Healing (2007) This is an Ade Fenton Song where Gary sung vocals and it got considerable airplay on some music stations. However, this did not fit in with the rest of the show and I wonder why this was included. There are so many other songs he could have played in this spot.

Cars (Pleasure Principle, 1979) This was the usual Cars performance but I wish he would not do it live. It’s a great song, but when you have heard it for the 100th time (?) live………nothing wrong with the performance, though.

Photo by Karren Bailey

Are Friends Electric (Replicas, 1979) was the final song of the show. This is /was all things great. As a special treat he again invited Rrussell Bell (guitar) & Chris Payne (violin) onto the stage which surprised the audience. This was, without doubt, the highlight of the show. “Are ‘Friends’ Electric” was sung with effort and emotion, along with a backing band that raised their Game. This was a perfect ending to a great night’s entertainment.

Gary Numan ~ Semi-Unplugged via SHOWstudio

It has been well over a year since I saw/met Gary Numan in Orlando. During that time, he has recorded an incredibly moving album called Dead Son Rising, and has performed in multiple venues across Europe and Australia. Critics, who panned him for the last 20+ years, are again enamored of him, and rightfully so (although I think they’ve had their heads up their collective behinds for the past two decades, but that’s a rant for another post).

Recently, Mr. Numan engaged in a presentation called “SHOWstudio” where he performed several of his songs in a semi-unplugged (minimal back-up) style. The breathtakingly atmospheric videos are posted on YouTube and are way too fabulous to not repost here. Enjoy!

SHOWstudio: In Your Face ~ When the Sky Bleeds He Will Come ~ Gary Numan

SHOWstudio: In Your Face ~ Dead Sun Rising ~ Gary Numan

SHOWstudio: In Your Face ~ Are ‘Friends’ Electric? ~ Gary Numan

SHOWstudio: In Your Face ~ For the Rest of My Life ~ Gary Numan

“Dead Son Rising” CD by Gary Numan with Ade Fenton ~ A Review

Please do not copy any portion of this article without the express written consent of the original author. Requests for permission may be left in the form of a comment on https://raveandroll.wordpress.com.

“Dead Son Rising” CD by Gary Numan with Ade Fenton – released September 2011

(Photo credits: Ed Fielding Photography http://www.edfielding.co.uk/)

Long awaited, Dead Son Rising is a theme-driven collection of electronica only the way Gary Numan, along with Ade Fenton, can create. Pounding and wistful, demanding and longing, tender and brutal, it is a study in impossible contrasts that work together so seamlessly as to be other-worldly. Words can only inadequately describe the music on this brilliant CD. If you love electronica/dark wave/industrial/goth, this is a must-have addition to your collection.

Resurrection
The swell of the synthesizers backdropped with breathing sounds and static is a perfect indicator of what is to come on this epic CD. Something sinister yet magical is in the air, and we are about to be willingly drawn into its merciless grasp.

Big Noise Transmission
Static noise and a driving rhythm section catapult us into a staccato mind-puzzle fraught with urgent, whispered pleas. Fully Numan-esque and gripping, this industrial anthem is a rock-solid testament to a direction Numan has whole-heartedly embraced over the past sixteen years. He shows us he has this genre fully mastered and ready for our listening pleasure. The abrupt end leaves us aching for more.

Dead Sun Rising
Numan uses his signature vocals against a deeply satisfying electronic backdrop. There is no one on this planet that could pull off an electronic ballad as successfully as Gary Numan. It is the perfect melding of lyrics, vocals, and synthesizers that captures the soul and transports it to another dimension.

When the Sky Bleeds, He Will Come
Numan and company use everything but the kitchen sink to deliver this masterpiece. Left to the devices of mere mortals, this song would result in listening confusion; in Gary and Ade’s more than capable hands, it is an extraordinary testament to pushing music to its limits and successfully achieving perfection.

For the Rest Of My Life
Don’t let the title/lyrics fool you. This is no tender love song. It borders on an obsessiveness that is both scary yet oddly compelling. It is similar to approaching an accident scene on the highway, and not being able to avert your eyes. In fact, it makes the listener want to hit the “replay” button; not only to hear it again, but to validate the message.

Not the Love We Dream Of
The stark piano notes that open this song are gorgeous. Enter Gary Numan’s voice, and what we end up with is a slightly off-kilter and purposeful story woven of disappointment and sadness. Who can’t relate to the melancholic message delivered here? We have all made mistakes that have devastated us. Numan and company put context to those feelings so we can unleash the demons within.

The Fall
Gary advises us how to deal with being shattered, even telling us point blank that the world still goes on even if we cannot. This is a perfect song to play when things are falling apart in our lives, if only for the rhythm, which makes it impossible to sit still long enough to feel sorrow.

We Are the Lost
The powerful and driving drumbeat that opens this track and anchors it throughout is a welcome diversion from the keyboards that usually take the limelight. Coupled with a Middle Eastern flair that Numan has previously and successfully brought into his music, this song resonates down into the listener’s toes. The textures are rich and colorful, like an open market full of hand-woven cloth displays.

For The Rest Of My Life (Reprise)
Like a path winding its way through a dark forest, we are gently guided to a clearing where Gary awaits us to remind us of the lost love he introduced us to earlier in our journey.

Into Battle
This track is a cacophony of sounds that starts out somewhat reminiscent of wind chimes in a stormy summer garden. But don’t be lulled into submission. The seemingly harmless wind chimes morph into the cadence and timber of something destructive and sinister. Even if you are on your guard, you are not going to be ready for the abrupt end. Signifying eternity, perhaps?

Not the Love We Dream Of (Piano Version)
Again, we are treated to the stark piano notes winding through the introduction to this song. Slowed down and purposeful, almost funereal, we are reminded of mortality, mistakes, and failed missions. It is definitely a song of introspection, but with the change-up in tone and tempo midway through, Numan informs us musically that there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

Dead Sun Rising (Early Version)
This version feels like it is played at a slower speed. Numan’s vocals are the focus with the lush accompaniment of electronica there merely to support the master as he works his craft. It is a delightfully welcome version of the title track, and the perfect close to a perfect CD.

Well done, Gary. You are a perfectionist, and our lives are enriched because of it.

Visit Gary Numan’s website: http://www.numan.co.uk/

“The Fall” official full-length promotional video via YouTube user GaryNumanOfficial:

“The Fall” live by Gary Numan – via YouTube user GaryNumanOfficial:

The Secret Life of Numanoids ~ Part Nine

Please do not copy any portion of this article without the express written consent of the original author. Requests for permission may be left in the form of a comment on https://raveandroll.wordpress.com.

Stephen Numan (Scotland)

What better way to show your love and admiration for someone than to take their surname as your own? I have been privileged with meeting Stephen Numan, who kindly agreed to share his secret life as a Numanoid on Rave and Roll. His story is a fascinating one, so sit back and enjoy.

Stephen writes:

There is history behind this. My mom divorced our abusive father when I was around four or five. My surname then was McAllister. When she got her divorce, she reverted to her maiden name of Boyle. She remarried many years later, and as a courtesy to my step-dad, I took on his surname of Nobbs. I took his name because he was great for my mom, and loved her and all us kids so much. Sometime later, I realized I wanted to take on the surname of Numan. I will explain later.

I have been a fan since first seeing Gary on The Old Grey Whistle Test back, I think, in 1978. What drew me to him was the projected persona: alien-like, emotionless, staring grey eyes, the eyeliner and make-up, and the utter loneliness I heard in his voice and lyrics.

Gary Numan’s music means EVERYTHING to me. I was 12 or 13 when I first heard his music. As a depressed loner at that time, I was searching for a hero, a figure I could look up to and possibly relate to. I saw that figure in Numan. I heard in his music and lyrics all the alienation and rejection I had felt throughout my childhood.

Now then, my favorite album – tricky – I would have to say Telekon, with The Pleasure Principle a close second. My fave song – EASY – “A Prayer for the Unborn” – just because of the story it tells about Gary and Gemma’s loss.

My fave Numan moment – his first live gig in Glasgow back in the day – it was amazing to see my hero on stage. I was in tears and utterly hysterical – oh the freedom of youth!

I think it’s obvious now my fave way to express my love for him; I changed my surname by deed poll 6 years ago. When I stayed in South Africa for 25 years, I imported ALL of his albums, singles and 12-inch singles. I had so many, I used to place them upon my living room walls as homage to the great man. I came back for a holiday in 1984 to see him on The Berserker Tour – great gig – I returned to SA with the album and a few 12-inch singles. I then painted the cover of Berserker on my living room wall – 10 foot by 10 foot, draped it in blue curtains with blue lighting from below – it looked awesome!

I’m a diehard Numan fan; always have been, and always will be. Obviously, I don’t like every track, and yet I love his ballads. “Don’t Call My Name” is truly heart-wrenching.

I have never met him, which makes me sad, and yet, maybe it’s meant to be that way. “Idolize at a distance.”

Whenever I need inspiration, whenever I need to be lifted from depression, whenever I need reminding of all that is and was great in my life – I play Gary Numan. Whenever I buy a new car or mp3 player – I ALWAYS play Numan on it first.

“Sleep By Windows” by Gary Numan via YouTube user themachman19691:

“A Prayer For The Unborn” by Gary Numan via YouTube user TheTelekon:

The Secret Life of Numanoids ~ Part Eight

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Nik Sylvian (FaceBook persona)

The 80s decade spawned a lifetime of brilliant music that has lived long into the 21st century. Some of the more tenacious artists have made it to the present, still creating vital and brilliant music. Of course, Gary Numan is one such lesson in creative survival, and he is in good company along with artists like Peter Murphy, Bryan Ferry, Simple Minds, David Bowie, and Japan, to name a few.

Speaking of Japan, Numanoid Nik Sylvian also happens to be a deeply committed fan of David Sylvian. Both Gary Numan and David Sylvian were non-conforming pioneers during the most exciting musical decade in modern history, so it stands to reason Nik would be drawn to both of them. Let’s take a closer look at Nik’s fascination with Numan.

Nik has been a fan of Gary Numan’s for the past 30 years. There was something about Numan’s music that caught Nik’s ear three decades ago. When asked specifically what that “something” was, Nik responds, “Gary Numan talking about the future and how it would be like.”

When you love an artist, it’s very difficult to nail down a favorite creation. When asked to name a favorite album, a fan will instinctively answer, “All of them.” Nik is straightforward with his response, however, stating that “Telekon” is his favorite Gary Numan album. He quickly adds, “Also, I Assassin.”

Similarly, Nik points to “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” as his prefered Numan single, but again adds, “And also, I Assassin.” There may be a trend here!

Exciting Numan moments for Nik include seeing Gary perform on Top of the Pops and The Old Grey Whistle Test. He’s in good company with many other long-term Numanoids who hold those same precious visions close to their hearts. As a final thought on Gary Numan, Nik shares, “He’s simply the best.” I know there are many people out there that would agree.

“Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” by Gary Numan – via YouTube user dashproductions:

“I Assassin” by Gary Numan – via YouTube user GaryNumanAlbums:

The Secret Life of Numanoids ~ Part Seven

Please do not copy any portion of this article without the express written consent of the original author. Requests for permission may be left in the form of a comment on https://raveandroll.wordpress.com.

Mark Kemp ~ UK

For the seventh installment of the series, Mark took the challenge to share his story about being a Numanoid with gusto. His enthusiasm for Gary Numan is genuine and infectious, and needs no further introduction from me.

Mark writes:
Gary Numan; a name that has not been far from my mind since the age of 12. Like most fans, it started one Thursday night watching “Top of the Pops.” The sound, the image….mesmerizing. I bought the single (AFE) but couldn’t afford Replicas, so I had to borrow it and tape it. My “Grease Soundtrack” cassette sounded far better with Numan taped over it!! (Piss off Travolta).

I had discovered “real” music. My Saturdays from then on consisted of looking through music magazines for anything I could find relating to Gary. I sometimes spent my entire pocket money on a magazine that contained one small picture of Gary no bigger than about 4 centimeters square!

I never made it to his first tour, but managed to see him on the Teletour, which to a young lad was mind-blowing. I AM IN THE SAME ROOM AS GARY NUMAN !!!!!! Been on every tour since then, the exception being the Wembley “final” concerts. London might as well have been the moon for a lad from up north with little money. The “holy grail” of a front row seat at a Numan gig was a long time coming. It finally came on the “Metal Rhythm” tour.

I believed that I had grown up a bit when it came to being a Numan fan. I was wrong. I was in fucking awe of the man. He stood just a few feet away and I had never even dreamt of getting this close to my hero. I held my hand out to him and mouthed, “COME HERE.” He mouthed back to me, “NO YOU COME HERE” knowing full well that I couldn’t get up on the stage. He was teasing me! He waited about 10 minutes, then he bent over and shook my hand. Yep, that was GARY NUMAN shaking MY hand!! I quickly handed him a pen and my tour programme, which he signed; I even had time to take his picture signing it.

I have met Gary on 4 occasions, the best being at the first convention held in London where I had my picture taken with him. My Numan collection still grows: rare records, concert recordings, more pictures, thanks to the wonderful eBay. Favourite song? Still CARS. After all this time I have never got bored of it. Album? Again, The Pleasure Principle is an outstanding piece of work that still sounds relevant even today: “Noise Noise,” “The Machman,” “Every Day I Die,” “This Is My House,” “We Are So Fragile,” “I Die You Die,” “Complex,” “I Dream Of Wires,” “My Shadow In Vain,” “Tracks,” and “Cry The Clock Said.”

Amazing talent. I will always prefer Gary’s older material, but the new stuff is still good; just not as good.

“Noise Noise” by Gary Numan via YouTube user patrickingham21:

“My Shadow In Vain” by Gary Numan via YouTube user dashproductions: