Gig review: Gary Numan at O2 Academy Leeds

Gary Numan
Gary Numan
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Fun fact, Gary Numan is in fact seventeen days older than Gary Oldman.

Why is this relevant you ask? Well, when your audience in attendance are mostly ageing punks and rockers in their fifties, pulling on old tour T-shirts and leather jackets over their increasingly beer-swelled circumference, and you are on stage some 10 years their senior all black crow hair and svelte figure, you can see who made the better life choices.

Gary Numan’s resurgence owes a lot to finding a new audience. After being championed by the likes of Nine Inch Nails and taking inspiration this evening from German metallers Rammstein having the bass and guitar players dressed in black and smeared in black Joker smile grease paint, this is a band that shouldn’t be reliant on past glories.

So why then do a 40th anniversary tour? Well for every new fan they’ll always be the Nu-fan. The one who wants ‘Cars’ at every show, the one who tells you it was all different back in ‘Tubeways day’.

Numan’s most recent studio release ‘Savage’ is a fantastic synth and guitar-heavy post-apocalyptic trip into the abyss. A forward-looking, future dystopia of an impending ruinous landscape. The setting is so befitting of a grandiose live production but gets short shrift in the setlist this evening.

Maybe I’m at the wrong gig, maybe I shouldn’t be at a greatest hits/anniversary tour, as much as I like hearing ‘I Die, You Die’, ‘Down In The Park’ and ‘Are Friends Electric’, there’s a nagging feeling that I’ve seen this all before and I have on October of 2017 when I last saw Numan in Leeds.

After 40 years of touring, there must become a sense of deja vu, a sense of repeating oneself every evening.

And it is that, that is detrimental to tonight’s performance. It is fantastic, every synth note, every strobe of light and hit, precisely timed to the second. But I saw that last time, so what have you brought me to the table this time? Unfortunately nothing and therefore the whole gig feels formulaic and forced.

My apologies as a fan, but this was simply OK, a run-through of the same old, but I wanted something more.