Live shows from long ago… Gary Numan

Gary Numan, Majestic Theatre, Wellington, 15 May 1980

When Gary Numan played in Wellington local punks spat on him, but his show was great according to GARY STEEL.

On the hearing of one Gary Numan record, last night’s Majestic Theatre show was what one could have expected. It was a sonic glorification of the Numan alienation pose – according to one’s allegiance either the total experience or a bore.

Unfortunately, a few of those with the latter view made their presence known, spitting at Numan and hurling verbal abuse.

The capacity crowd consisted mainly of the converted. They did not need convincing of Numan’s talent, allowing themselves to be dazzled by the flashy, extravagant light show.

There is far more to the show than cynical critical ears suggest. A majority of songs are derived from the two popular albums Replicas and The Pleasure Principle with the exception of a couple of unknowns, presumably from the up and coming Telekon. Predictably, those to get the biggest response were the chart hits ‘Are Friends Electric?’ and ‘Cars’.


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Numan is quite a charismatic performer, despite reports to the contrary. He simply has presence, spider-moving across the stage in an original decadent little dance, staring unblinkingly, blowing imaginary bubbles.

The backing band is impressive, consisting of two synthesizer players on a 20-foot high rostrum, a surprisingly human drummer, a bass player and one other depping on synth, snares and guitar. Not to forget Numan’s occasional contributions on synth and guitar.

Despite the late start and the shortness of the show (barely an hour) Gary Numan and band gave his audience more than they could have asked for – an all-around show that sent the senses reeling.

If this concert can be bettered this year we are certainly in for a year of it.


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