Gary Numan @ The Tivoli, 12.05.2011

Having last been here in March 2009, Gary Numan makes a fairly swift return  to The Tivoli as part of his tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of his third album, but the first released under his own name, The Pleasure Principle. I don’t get there until really late, so late in fact that not only have I missed support band Severed Heads but I’m still not in the photo pit when Numan and his band make their entrance.

Although I was running late, there were some photo pass issues with Rave photographer Justin Ma having turned up before me and picked up the pit pass. It seems like there’s been a monumental screw up with both of us having been emailed a confirmation for tonight, although it’s my name that’s on the door list. They won’t let us have a photo pass each so I say we’ll split the three songs and I’ll come out of the pit as near to half way through the second song as I can so that we can both get some photos. Although I do this, other Justin decides that he’ll give it a miss anyway so I end up going back into the pit for the remainder of the three songs. I get an email later from Justin saying that it was his mistake as his confirmation was for Cut Copy and he’d turned up at The Tivoli a week earlier than he should have!

To be honest he didn’t miss much in deciding that he wouldn’t bother photographing Numan. It’s not a very engaging experience with Numan and two of his band hunched over their keyboards for the three songs, a drummer hid away in the dark at the back of the stage and only a bassist who’s giving much to work with in terms of movement. But, to be honest, The Pleasure Principle isn’t a very engaging live work anyway; it’s too much of a background piece for most of the album, heavy on instrumentals, low on energy and just not very exciting to see performed live.

It’s only after The Pleasure Principle has been performed, when Numan and his guitarist ditch the keyboards, that tonight becomes a more visual and more stimulating experience. It would have been much more fun to have photographed the first three songs of the second half of the set and have gotten Numan away from his keyboards and pulling out rock star moves instead.  The second half of the show is much more similar to his previous time at The Tivoli, with Numan showcasing his more recent industrial leanings. He still manages to play the same version of Are Friends Electric? that he played last time though. In fact, reading through my blog post from last time I could probably write the same words this time around to describe the evening.  I wonder it he’ll be back in 2013 celebrating the 35th anniversary of his Tubeway Army début album and back a couple of years after that for a 35th anniversary tour for Telekon?

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