Just 9 days after Gary’s Oxford show, I had the great opportunity to see the final show of his tour in London. I was ready for the Replicas, The Pleasure Principle and Telekon repertoire one more time. However, Gary had announced several songs from Splinter and I was very much looking forward to hearing them live.
I was pleasantly surprised by the venue in Brixton. I believe it was just the perfect place to see Gary Numan again. I was wondering which Splinter songs we would get to hear, since I just love that album.
My expectations of the Numans’s last show of the tour were very high. And I have no problems saying that I got what I had come for. The first three songs that they performed were as I predicted: “Replicas”, “Metal” and “Remind Me To Smile”. I thought I was blown away in Oxford, but this time the band went even beyond that, the feeling of excitement and exhilaration was incredible even at the very beginning of the show, during those first three songs. And one more time, the crowd was very excited and again loudly expressing its excitement, but this time the band won the battle of who was louder.
We didn’t have to wait for Splinter too long. They played “I Am Dust” next. I can’t really pick the favourite Gary’s album but Splinter is definitely very high on my top list. If only I could have frozen that moment… At that point I was out of the photo pit and taking pictures from the crowd. I wanted to memorize every single second of that marvellous performance. I felt sorry that pictures couldn’t capture the sound. I felt handicapped, as if my efforts were useless. The pictures would remain forever a timeless document of something brilliant and unique, but they would never match the strength of the real experience. The sound prevailed and I felt so small, yet blessed for being there and seeing one outstanding artist at work. I felt “I was dust”.
Splinter material blended in with the Replicas, The Pleasure Principle and Telekon songs nicely. The old material they play live is by now refreshed by the new arrangements and the sound is updated. As I wrote in my Oxford review, “Gary went more rock, more powerful, noisier, louder and rawer” on live versions of these old materials. Somewhere between “Me! I Disconnect From You”, “You Are In My Vision”, “M.E.”, “I’m An Agent”, that I had already heard in Oxford, they played “Splinter” and another one of my favourites, “Everything Comes Down To This”. Live performance of those Splinter songs gives them even more volume and power. And for those few who hadn’t followed Gary’s public announcements on social media, there was a surprise: they played the new track “Bed Of Thorns”, and it was the first time that I heard it. It is a dark, atmospheric and emotional piece and it deserves some deeper thoughts, making me look forward to the new album. Anyway, afterwards they continued with “Down In The Park”, which seemed like a perfect sequel. And again, the new and the old joined hands so wonderfully.
There was the live performance of “Cars”, that I had already described as a version closer to the cover Numan did with Fear Factory. It was followed by “Love Hurt Bleed”, one that I was hoping to hear. It gave me chance to rest from the camera, because there was little chance of standing still during that one. And all the time I was thinking how it was the last gig of the tour and how they put such an excellent show. It was not only that Gary showed us again how well he performs and enjoys every second of his performance, but the band was following him tremendously well. And, yes, I have pics to prove that. And there was their physical performance, visually so strong, where one could see how they all put themselves in to make this show even more memorable and I really enjoyed seeing each of them giving his best as a musician and performer. I couldn’t wish for more from the live show. Again, no theatricals needed, just them.
“Are “Friends” Electric” was the last one they played, but we knew they would not leave us without the encore. This time they stayed with us for three more songs: “We Are So Fragile”, “My Shadow In Vain” and, to my absolute thrill, “Here in the Black”.
No words suffice, no words are effective enough to describe one of the most memorable shows I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of them. No wonder some people attended more than one show of this tour. I am actually considering attending more than two next time he comes over. Until then, I guess I will just continue listening to Mr. Numan at home and keep on looking at my pics. Thank you, Gary and all the fantastic people who made this show such an overwhelming experience.
1. Replicas (Intro), 2. Metal, 3. Remind Me To Smile, 4. I Am Dust, 5. Me! I Disconnect From You, 6. Films, 7. We’re The Unforgiven, 8. You Are In My Vision, 9. Splinter, 10. M.E., 11. Everything Comes Down To This, 12. I’m An Agent, 13. Bed Of Thorns, 14. Down In The Park, 15. We Are Glass, 16. Cars, 17. Love Hurt Bleed, 18. I Die: You Die, 19. Are “Friends” Electric
Encore: 20. We Are So Fragile, 21. My Shadow In Vain, 22. Here In The Black
Tim Muddiman and The Strange Setlist:
1. Strangers , 2. Rolling Stone, 3. Bullet Stroke, 4. Damage is done, 5. Wildwood stone, 6. Your drugs, 7. Glass Queen, 8. Oversea-Underworld