Review by Glenn Raybone with Photography by Robert Barrett

Marking his 40th anniversary, Gary Numan shows no sign of slowing down, putting his feet up or anything else you’d expect for someone who’s been in the business for so long. In fact, as he ages, he becomes more prolific, more influential.

Gary Numan

Tonight, sees the only midlands date on his current (R)evolution tour, after the Leamington Assembly closed where he was also due to play, and judging by the queue it appears most who held a Leamington ticket have turned up, maybe they were offered a Birmingham ticket as a way to compensate? It takes a good 40 minutes to finally get into the venue, the box office insist I have to stay in the stalls, which when trying to watch and review a gig, and being vertically challenged is not great. As it turns out the venue became so full, I never actually saw Numan, and so what follows are my thoughts on sound alone.

Opening with ‘My Name is Ruin’, the full force and power is evident. I’ve been to various gigs across the genres but I have to honest in terms of volume few compare to a Numan gig. The sound almost pushes you backwards. Numan sounds perfect, his vocal is clear, and the band are superb. Sadly, there is no appearance of his daughter, Persia, who has backed him on the track at other venues, but according to his social media output she has recently been attending gigs in America, Liam Gallagher no less.

Gary Numan

Gary Numan

The show then takes us on a journey through his whole back catalogue, and it’s a delight to hear songs such as ‘Remind Me To Smile’ and ‘Stories’ with a modern, full-on treatment, all that power. It’s a pleasure (principle?). The show continues with standard set pleasers ‘Metal’, and ‘Down In The Park’ gets an early airing.

There is no in-between song chat as usual, simply one song into another, and when ‘Cars’ is played (which gets the biggest cheer of the night) I do wonder what is due next, given it’s usually a set closer, but fear not, he has saved the best until last, with a sublime ‘We Are Glass’, ‘Love Hurt Bleed’ before ending with ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric’.

Gary Numan

Gary Numan

The heat in the venue is now sauna-like, and movement in and out near impossible. In fact, security staff come to the door, take one look and turn away. Hopefully there were no emergencies or people needing help.

A four-song encore rounds off a wonderful (sounding) show.

Gary Numan

Gary Numan

Merchandise consists of shirts, albums (mostly signed) and even a corgi model Telekon car, also signed, which Numan has recently criticised those re-selling online for twice the purchase price. It has to be said he does look after his fan-base, always offering meet and greet opportunities and his latest venture is a modern take on the fan-club. Ghost Nation is a monthly subscription service offering exclusive access (depending on how much you pay per month) and whilst this is a great idea it’s not cheap, with the top level setting you back $50 a month. Clearly to have the most access you need the deepest pockets.

So overall another resounding success, the gig sounded superb, and Numan has never sounded better. I really can’t wait to hear his next material. The venue however, and general experience was shocking. Clearly the gig was over-sold, so much so that safety was compromised. After going to gigs for close to 40 years myself this is one of the most uncomfortable gigs I’ve been in, unable to move, unable to see, can’t get to the bar, and I firmly believe safety was at risk. I did mention this to a member of staff on the way out but I may have well spoke in an alien language for all the notice he took of me.

Gary Numan

Set-list
My Name is Ruin
Remind Me to Smile
That’s Too Bad
Stories
Metal
Absolution
Dead Sun Rising
Down in The Park
The Promise
Cars
Here in The Black
We Are Glass
Love Hurt Bleed
A Prayer for The Unborn
Are ‘Friends’ Electric

My Shadow in Vain
Halo
Intruder
Jo the Waiter

Gary Numan

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