Remember Gary Numan? If you grew up in the 80s or were an adult in the 80s, you do. Maybe you were even a "Numanoid" back in the day! Well, can you believe that his album "Pleasure Principle" came out THIRTY years ago? I know, right? Here, you can reminisce over the video for one of his biggest hits, "Cars."
I've never seen someone look so cool while playing the tambourine. (I tried to find a youtube of his performance of it on Urgh! A Music War, but to no avail.)
Anyhoo - the show was at Tripod (you may remember me complaining about their stingy whiskey pouring a few weeks ago), which is a pretty good-sized venue (maybe a third bigger than the Paradise in Boston), and I had honestly wondered if maybe it would be half empty, not knowing if anyone would remember him after all this time, and especially after that industrial phase he went through in the 90s. But when we showed up during the opening act, the place was already quite full. And the crowd was enthusiastic!! Which was good because it was a pretty elaborate setup compared to the shows I generally go to. Lots of lights!
(photo by Barry Delaney)
Of course, since this was the "Pleasure Principle Tour 2009" he started off with a bunch of old hits, which the crowd went wild for. At the start, I rolled up a napkin and shoved the rolls into my ears, like I always do (I really need to start buying earplugs!), because I am fiercely protective of my hearing. But then halfway through the first song I thought, "You know what? I'm going to live a little. This isn't so loud. I can take it." He had four synthesizers, a bass player, and a drummer. The sound was big. I thought to myself, if he keeps this up, it will be amazing! But then, out went two of the synthesizers and in came two guitars. Time for the new stuff. I thought people would be rude about it, but as I looked around, the crowd was still very supportive. There wasn't the loose excitement in the air as with the old songs, but that could have also been because of the nature of the new songs, which are extremely heavy. For those songs, I put the makeshift earplugs back in!
But it made me think of something. Here's Gary Numan, he had all those hit songs when he was young. Then the years went on. He explored other musical avenues -- he evolved. He isn't the same person or the same musician as he was back then. But the love for his older music lives on, and let's face it, he has never had a hit like those old songs. He moved on, but his fans, overall, have not. It must be such a pain. I wonder if he resents his earlier music.
Here's what Gary had to say on his website about last night's show: "So, just finished the show in Dublin. Great crowd. We had a fairly catastrophic failure of one of the keyboard computers during Pure (we are using three this time for various duties) which took a few minutes to sort out. Luckily the crowd were very understanding. Our trusty back-up system failed at its first challenge. That idea obviously needs a rethink. Apart from that, the tour has been amazing so far. I'm playing keyboards on most of the Pleasure Principle songs which is a lot of fun for me and I'm really enjoying myself. The PP songs sound far stronger than I thought they would, the newer songs in the second half seem to work really well, the lights (when we can fit them all in) look absolutely stunning. I'm very happy."
Poor Gary though. He is wearing the worst rug I've ever seen. It looks like a crow died on his head. I guess we all have to age. Here's another shot from the show last night
(photo by Barry Delaney)
I really enjoyed the show overall, but towards the end I was disturbed by some of the images he used as his backdrop were not cool for me -- they were images of women looking like cadavers, clearly alive, but dripping in blood and looking like they'd been dug up alive. First off, that really isn't an original motif. It's like yeah, yeah, we know you're heading into goth territory, we get it. But maybe throw some bloody guys in there, too? I didn't like the sort of sexualisation of bloody dismembered women. It wasn't cool. Or frightening. It was just lame.
But I am still very happy that we went! After the show we grabbed a pint at Anseo, which I had never been to. I liked the atmosphere. It might be a little too packed on a weekend night, but for a Tuesday night it was perfect. But having skipped dinner, I was starving, so we grabbed a couple of Falafel sandwiches and then headed home!