Gary Numan – ABC, Glasgow – 13/11/13

NumanAfter giving Gary Numan’s latest album, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind), such a glowing review back in October, it’s fair to say I was looking forward to this. Add in the fact that I had seen him before and loved it, plus Dave was buying the beer and it was set up for a good night.

And so it proved. Firstly, I’m sure I’ve probably mentioned this at some point before, but the ABC is a great wee venue. I’ve been lucky enough to get to a few gigs there over the past few months and the set up is great, good sound, good views and usually pretty quick service at the bar. Top job ABC dudes.

But now, to move on to the show itself. Kicking off with the new album opener, the brooding ‘I Am Dust’ set the tone for the show. Dark, anthemic, loud and accompanied by a killer light show. From there we went into ‘Metal’ from Gary’s 1979 chart-topping The Pleasure Principle album. Despite being a record that completely eschewed the use of guitars the guitar heavy sound worked well here.

For the first 10 songs of the set he alternated between new stuff and classics like ‘Films’ and ‘Down in the Park’. This was great to see with the older songs standing up well to the more heavy, industrial arrangements whilst the new songs, and I’m thinking ‘Here in the Black’ in particular easily stand up with the best things he’s done.

As we, to use golfing parlance, move into the back 9, we kick off here with ‘Splinter’. Sadly, probably the weakest of the new tracks and of the night actually. This is redeemed big style by a stunning, spine-tingling version of ‘Lost’. Probably my favourite track off the new album, it’s even more magnificent live. The main set finished with ‘A Prayer for the Unborn’. A decent enough song, but I felt a bit underwhelming, especially when it was preceded by the excellent ‘Love Hurt Bleed’.

The three song encore was as enjoying as it was predictable. ‘Cars’ followed by ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’. Both were eagerly anticipated and neither disappointed. I still think that both these songs are amongst the very best to come out of the late ’70’s/early ’80’s electronica era and still sound as strong as ever. The gig closes, as the new album does, with ‘My Last Day’. The perfect finale to what was an excellent gig.

Graeme Campbell

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