GARY NUMAN reunited with former band members Chris Payne and RRussell Bell for a live rendition of ‘Love Needs No Disguise’ as a touching tribute to the late Ced Sharpley who was Numan’s drummer between 1979 to 1992. The screen montage featuring photos of Ced from Stephen Roper’s excellent ‘Back Stage’ book were met with big cheers and applause from the audience as the atmospheric intro drifted in at London’s Forum where The Electricity Club were in attendance.
The song itself which was a No 33 hit in 1981 as a GARY NUMAN & DRAMATIS joint single hadn’t been performed live by the trio since the 1983 ‘Warriors’ tour. Payne and Bell joined Numan on stage for several of the ‘Machine Music’ tour dates starting from Bournemouth and including Bristol, Birmingham, London and Brighton. At the latter performances, they even returned for the encore to participate in ‘Are Friends Electric?’
Neither GARY NUMAN or The Electricity Club like to wallow in nostalgia…if one is to acknowledge the past, then it is to celebrate innovation, recognise history and appreciate artform, not used as an excuse to retread past glories. As TALKING HEADS’ David Byrne once asked on his own ‘Once In A Lifetime’: “Well, how did I get here?” Promoting his ‘Machine Music : The Best of Gary Numan’ DVD, the evening consisted of a hearty mixture of classic and new material, ranging from the dystopian synthpop of ‘I Die: You Die’, the PPG propelled ‘Call Out The Dogs’, the steadfast goth metal of ‘In A Dark Place’ and the exuberant electro assisted rock of recent single ‘The Fall’. But as Mr Numan himself says in the DVD’s interview, the promo video collection does what it says on the tin and is “the best of Gary Numan, NOT the sh*ttest!”. Thus tracks from the albums Strange Charm, Outland and Machine & Soul were omitted.
The biggest surprise of the evening though was ‘Warriors’, not just for its inclusion but also as a song, it has aged very well, much better than say, ‘White Boys & Heroes’ which also did not feature in the live set. Other highlights included the magnificent ‘Metal’, ‘We Are Glass’ and a slightly paced down version of Andy Gray’s reworking of ‘Rip’. Many of the film projections used in the show were excellent, and all in all, it was a suitably balanced live presentation showcasing the diverse catalogue of the man born Gary Webb and delivering his most consistently paced show for many years.
‘Machine Music : The Best of Gary Numan’ DVD set is released as a limited edition of 3000 and will be on sale soon via the online Numan shop at Townsend Records.
‘Back Stage – A Book Of Reflections’ featuring contributions from GARY NUMAN himself, Nash The Slash, Tim Dry, Steve Webbon, SIMPLE MINDS’ Jim Kerr, OMD’s Andy McCluskey, RRussell Bell, Chris Payne and the late Ced Sharpley about the imperial period in GARY NUMAN’s career between 1979-81 is available from several outlets. Copies signed by the book’s curator Stephen Roper can be purchased at www.thetouringprinciple.co.uk/BackStage.html It is also on sale via the Official Gary Numan Online Store at Townsend Records
Chris Payne’s excellent solo CD ‘Between Betjeman, Bach & Numan’ which features classically influenced reworkings of ‘Down In The Park’ and ‘Fade To Grey’ is released by Coverdrive Records and available now
Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Richard Price
4th June 2012