With more than four decades of musical craftsmanship under his belt, Gary Numan is anything but a nostalgic glimpse of the past. He is a constant self-reinventing musical chameleon that just keeps making himself more relevant through each album release, and maintains the title of king of the stage, surpassing fans’ expectations with every performance. Through all the changes, he remains unapologetically true to himself.
When synth pioneer Gary Numan took the stage at the Observatory, I held him to very high standards. His past Savage tour was – in my eyes – Numan at his peak. Musically and visually delivering a breathtaking show that mesmerized audiences each and every night of the tour. Each time I saw him perform during the previous tour, each show felt fresh and as captivating as the first one, perhaps even more so, and that is something not many artists can deliver. It seems every time I think I have seen Gary Numan at his best, he pulls another rabbit out of his hat and I am left mind blown. He has an amazing ability to present his music in a way that each show becomes an experience that enthralls your senses all at once, and holds you captive until the very end, and even then, an 18-song set just doesn’t seem enough.
Tonight’s performance was nothing short of a musical masterpiece that delivered an unparalleled dance of light and darkness, where the airiness of the synthesizer’s sounds were perfectly matched by haunting drum beats and soul-quenching bass lines.
Numan is currently touring to promote the release of his latest album, “Intruder,” which masterfully navigates us through a futuristic savaged world which is fighting for its existence; a theme which seems to perfectly mirror the fears we are currently experiencing due to the political instability the world is facing.
However, Numan didn’t solely focus on his latest album (which to be honest, I would have been perfectly fine with. I am secretly hoping for a “Savage”/”Intruder” two-set concert. Just putting it out there!), but rather gifted his fans a full ride through one of the most amazing musical careers ever witnessed.
He opened the night with the title track from “Intruder,” which rippled through the airwaves with unmatched force. Accompanied by an amazing guitarist and bass player on each side, Numan still controlled the entire stage; it was nearly impossible to move your eyes off of him as he balanced delicate airy dance moves to powerful head banging, almost violent, moves that create a cinematographic representation of the battle between good and evil, birth and destruction.
He followed with “Metal” off his mega-hit album “The Pleasure Principle,” and then – much to my content – he moved onto “Halo” off of the album “Jagged Edge,” still lyrically one of my favorite songs ever, and musically, this song sends shockwaves through your head.
He then visited “Everything Comes Down to This” from the album “Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind),” and then moved onto “Films,” and then to “Ghost Nation.”
It is very difficult to pinpoint specific highlights because the show beautifully moved us throughout his entire musical catalog; carefully guiding us through waves of dark industrial beats accompanied by lighter ethereal synth-pop songs that make his catalog such a unique gift for fans.
I was particularly happy he played “The Gift” from his latest album because that song is – in my mind – a standalone tune; a sort of rare gem in the album. “The Chosen” and “My Name is Ruin” were two welcomed songs, alongside, of course, “Down in the Park,” which is just timeless. He ended the set with high emotions, delivering a most intimate glimpse of himself with a beautifully haunting rendition of “Prayers for the Unborn” that pulled at the audience’s heart.
If you have a chance to see him live, don’t hesitate because his shows are musical experiences you don’t want to miss.