Gary Numan @ The Tivoli

One of my very early musical memories was this on Top Of The Pops.  So when Gary Numan rolls into town to play at the Tivoli, how can I refuse.

The trouble is that I only really know the very early stuff, and whilst these songs (‘Cars’, ‘Down In The Park‘, ‘We Are So Fragile‘, ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?‘) sound great tonight (although he does have me worried having changed the intro of ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric’, so for an instance I have that blood-from-face-draining experience that he’s made it into a jazz-lite solo piano version, before the all too familiar synth riff kicks in), my unfamiliarity with the later stuff (i.e. anything after the early 1980s) means that the ‘newer’, harder, more industrial songs sound too samey and make him come over like a lightweight Nine Inch Nails. Having influenced bands like NIN he’s definitely borrowed something back from those bands, visually as well as musically, although I’m sure there’s some irony that he’s now regarded as a godfather of industrial music when he seemed to spend most of the 80s being looked down upon as a poor man’s David Bowie.

From a photographic point of view it’s surprising how hard it is tonight and how sluggish and unsure I feel after a month away in on holiday in New Zealand.   I don’t even move much from my original position in the pit.  For tonight’s gig I start with my 28-70, change in the second song to the 70-200, and back to the 28-70 for the third song. The lights seemed to be all over the place, so although I start in manual mode, I end up changing to shutter priority to make life easier for myself and give myself something less to think about whilst trying to get up to speed with the photographing again.

It’s often hard trying to get the right balance when doing music photography, a balance between having too many gigs to photograph, which leaves you exhausted and not wanting to photograph, and not having enough, which leaves you feeling a yard off the pace, like tonight. At the moment I’m trying to do a maximum of two gigs/week. When you add in time for processing and blogging, photographing two gigs ends up taking up most of the week as it is, not helped by possibly my greatest weakness, playing around in Photoshop.  Some photos go through up to 6 different versions as I play with toning and different processes, even then still ending up unsure of which is the best version, which should be uploaded to flickr or shown on this blog and which should be hidden away from public gaze on my hard drive.  I have included an example below and included a few more on flickr.  And I still can’t work out which of those three photos below is the best; probably the last one, the second one is too dark, but then again the darkness gives it something, and the original colour version isn’t too bad either… 

More photos from the night on flickr.

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