Monday, 4 April 2011

Gary Numan - Back To The Phuture

I think I might become a Buddhist. Karma is real. I found this out after giving my Rock Band drum kit to my old pal Matt. He offered me cash, but I honourably declined. He said he would buy me a pint next time I saw him, but he only went and won a competition for 2 guest list tickets to see Gary Numan at The Troxy and gave one to  me.

Now Matt likes to get a good spot as he has filmed some great live footage in the past. He said he would be there around 3pm. Doors didn't open till 6pm and Gary wasn't due on till 10:30. Now I don't trust myself in that situation and would have probably got drunk and leg cramps if I had gone that early. No one else on the bill really interested me, although I wouldn't have minded seeing John Foxx.

As I've said before I've been a big fan of Gary Numan for many years. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" came out in 1979 and I've followed him ever since, seeing him live on a number of occasions. I managed to meet Gary a couple of times: once outside the STV studios in Glasgow when he was there to do an interview and again at the launch party for the "Random" tribute album. He's a nice guy, and remarkably approachable. I met him again at Reading Festival a few years later. I was there with my ex, who had banned me from playing his music when he was round, but at the time he had a local radio show and wanted me to get an interview. I had a chat with his wife who introduced Greg to Gary and they had a lovely little chat, while I sat on the side lines with the wife, seething with jealousy.

Anyway, after a dreadful journey on the Hammersmith & City line I got to the venue. It was a brilliant venue. Much nicer than the likes of the Shepherds Bush Empire that I've seen him more often than any others. My mate and also my flat mate had been to see Morrissey there last year and both of them said the same.

Matt was right down the front so there was no hope of seeing him, but he texted me to say that a couple of people I haven't seen for many years, possibly the 90s were in attendance. I sent Jon a message and managed to meet up with him and Karen and we managed to get a fairly good vantage point front right.

Gary opened with an epic version of Down In The Park, which was the single before AFE that has since been covered by the likes of Foo Fighters and Marilyn Manson. The stage looked amazing with huge LED screens that showed some pretty awesome images, but best appreciated towards the end of the gig when i had moved to the back of the room. A few other older tracks were played, such as That's Too Bad and Zero Bars, and of course AFE.

Some new songs from the upcoming Splinter album were played, such as Captured Underground Noise Transmission and The Fall, and he even through in a new song that he had only written on Monday (Everything Comes Down To This?), which was a brave move. Out of the new songs, this one was probably the weakest and could do with a little more work, although Gary did tell us in advance it was going to be rough!

Gary was energetic as usual, banging his head, thumping the stage with his mic stand and throwing some shapes. He seemed to be having a great time too. Anyway, my hangover from the morning was really catching up with me, and I felt sad to be leaving early, but I was exhausted. All in all, a great night out and even though he has been performing now for 33 years still as fresh as ever.

There was a documentary on Sky Arts about Gary that I couldn't see because I was at the gig. And I don't have Sky, but hopefully I'll be able to track it down somewhere. Any ideas?

Incidentally, Gary is now on Twitter - @numanofficial

I recorded a few videos on my phone which were not too bad, but they suffer from rather poor sound quality. I have put a couple of them after Matt's much better quality movies. Thanks to him for putting these up, and thanks again for the ticket!

1. Crash

2. Films

3. Haunted

4. Everything Comes Down To This

5. Zero Bars (Mr Smith)

6. Pure

7. Halo

8. Down In The Park (poor phone camera quality)

9. Captured Underground Noise Transmission (poor phone camera quality)

A couple more tracks - this time from supilangweilig on youtube:

10. I Die: You Die

11. Are "Friends" Electric?

Update: Thanks to AK on the comments below I have found the Re:Invention documentary. OK, it's recorded off the telly and there are Danish subtitles, but if you want to check it out, it's here


  1. Hi Andy I was at the Back To The Phuture gig at troxy on Saturday too! I loved it and so did my newbie friend who I brought with me. Trust me her and I were both unmissable and I mean TOTALLY unmissable in the crowd *ahem* everybody was staring at us like we were specimens under a microscope LOL! heh heh heh but whatever I wish I could bear Gary's children! i love John Foxx's music too and I have his albums from the 1st Ultravox one up to Metamatic.

    Anyway long story short, never fear Andy! because the following link I believe is supposed to be the documentary that they showed on Sky:

  2. Oh cheers for that link! Looks like the right one to me! I missed John Foxx. He has got under my radar and I dont know much about him...