Machine Music ….. It almost sounds like a boring hour long documentary about some people in a factory making brass instruments.
Oh how wrong you would be to think that.
It’s that time again where the synths blare and the guitars play and of course the fans scream as one.
Oh yes Gary Numan was back on tour and this past weekend we saw the closing nights of his Machine Music DVD tour.
This tour took place over 2 months. On a break down that’s 13 shows in 13 cities across the UK spanning over 2000 miles.
This review will focus on the London and Brighton legs of the tour.
But first a little more about the tour itself, this time around it isn’t about a new album. This time it was to showcase past single releases and past music videos.
Last year Numan toured with his then new album Dead Son Rising (https://www.theblackflag.co.uk2011/09/20/review-gary-numan-dead-son-rising-shepherd-bush-empire-17th-sept-11/) and the fans said that night it would take something big to beat that tour. This …… was that something big…… No this was something immense something so big that it was the biggest doors of a Numan gig in ten years.
As ever the night opens with the support act this tour being a young fresh band called The Officers. A good set was opened by a track recorded with Numan and they followed up with their own songs.
We now head to the main attraction. Gary Numan, a man known for his light shows and energetic performance onstage. This tour was no let down; the set was opened with the classic ‘Berserker’ and a roar from the fans that could be compared to an earthquake.
Following one of the loudest intro scrams in both London and Brighton Numan played ‘Metal’ and ‘The Fall’. Track 4 brings us to the TubeWay Army vintage single ‘Bombers’ and another earth shaking roar from both London and Brighton crowds. To quote one fan after London “I love that Bombers was played! I’ve been waiting to hear it live for so long.” As the night rolls on we hear such singles as ‘ Call Out The Dogs’, ‘This Wreckage’ and ‘In A Dark Place’ among others.
For song 14 of the set Gary takes a moment to talk to the fans about the passing of former drummer and longtime friend Cedric Sharply, the human backbone of Gary Numan’s android, futuristic synthpop sound of the late 1970s and early ’80s., who passed away on the 13th of March 2012 of a heart attack. Dedicating the next song to Cedric Gary bought onto the stage Cedric’s Dramatis band mates Chris Payne and Russell Bell who took up the violin and guitar respectively to play ‘Love Needs No Disguise’ a fitting tribute as the fans on both nights sang along paying respect.
Payne and Bell left the stage as another classic ‘Warriors’ title track of the 80’s album of the same name began, the main 17 song set ended with ‘We Are Glass’ and again the fans sang with all they had in them.
As the lights faded the roar of the fans increased to deafening levels. The lights came up once more as the band and Numan walked out once again this time Gary was hand in hand with his children and his wife Gemma as Numan said to the fans “They asked if they could see what you all look like.” The music stars as Gemma walks off but the girls stay on at the back for an Ade Fenton song ‘Healing’ followed by no doubt the most well-known song ‘Cars’.
We come to the end of the night In both London and Brighton with ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ and the return to the stage of Bell and Payne. A fitting end to London and even more fitting to the DVD recording in Brighton with the fans loving every moment of the nights.
When asked after the London show how they felt about the night some fans said the following:
“The gig was so amazing!”
“All I can say is ‘Oh my gosh’ the London atmosphere was immense totally mind blowing and the forum roof was extracted….He is God!”
Brighton fans said:
“The lighting was utterly amazing and the show was better than ever. I can’t believe how great it was”
And one other fan can be quoted as saying: “It was an honor to see Russell and Chris on stage again and it was a fitting tribute to Cedric.”
One fan Tweeted: “Got out of my sick bed and was in agony all night but you all made it worth all the suffering!”
For one person at Brighton it was his first Numan gig. And now he can’t wait until the next one.
In my eyes this tour has to be the most amazing tour I have been to. Lighting, sound and fans made the night better than any gig I’ve attended so far.
So what’s next? Well Gary has a new album set to be released at a later date by the name of ‘Splinter’ and has a move to the U.S.A very soon. If this is the last tour for a while then there was no better tour to go out on. Look out for the new album at a later date and the DVD of this tour in the coming months.
We will have memories of this tour for years to come.
Words & Images: Marcus Fox