With Glasgow in the grip of an unseasonable heatwave, the prospect of an evening standing in a room full of sweaty strangers was slightly unappealing to say the least. Arriving at the ABC, I stationed myself near the back and as far from the seething mass clamouring for the stage as possible. The venue was fit to burst with Numanoids of all ages and, as we waited for Gary to take to the stage, the excitement was palpable.

Bursting onto the stage through a seemingly impenetrable wall of smoke, dressed all in black and with the energy of a man half his age, Numan launched straight into 'Berserker', the title track from his 1984 eighth studio album. His stagecraft was superb, and far removed from the awkward twenty-one year old who appeared on 'Top of the Pops' in July 1979 with 'Are Friends Electric'?

Numan’s five piece band is superbly tight and their playing is energetic and spiky. They breeze through 'Metal' (from 1979’s 'The Pleasure Principle') and rock out completely on the overdrive-drenched 'The Fall' from last year’s 'Dead Son Rising'.

The highlight of the evening for me was Numan’s performance of Tubeway Army’s debut single 'That’s Too Bad'. More punky than Numan’s later electronic/industrial work, it’s one of those songs that you can’t help moving to.

The set is rounded off with two tracks from one of Numan’s finest albums, 1980’s 'Telekon'. 'I Die: You Die' and the fabulous 'We Are Glass' sound every bit as fresh and inventive today as they did when they were first released thirty-odd years ago.
On the back of such a fantastic performance there was no way that the audience were going to let Numan leave without an encore, which was probably just as well as he had yet to play the two songs for which he is most famous, namely 'Are 'Friends Electric? and 'Cars'. Both songs had the audience going wild and Numan himself seemed to be having a great time, even sharing vocal duties with the audience on 'Cars'.

Thankfully when the gig was over Glasgow had cooled down somewhat and as I made my way home I reflected on an interview I did with Numan last year where he described music as his hobby. Throughout the gig, Numan seemed to be enjoying himself immensely, and this enthusiasm passed on to the large and appreciative audience. That Numan is such a box office draw is no surprise to me – his contemporary material is as relevant as his late ‘0's work and as a frontman, he works the stage with energy and confidence.

Sadly Gary Numan is leaving the UK to live in the USA, so I imagine that it may be sometime before he tours Britain again. If and when he does though, I for one will definitely be going.

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Commenting On: ABC, Glasgow, 23/5/2012 - Gary Numan

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