100 Shows of 2010 - #79: Gary Numan @ Black Cat, 10/20/10

Oh. Sweet. Mercy. For my 79th show, my friends, I got to see an absolute, certified, bona fide, hot damn Legend. In what was very probably the musical event of the 100 thus far, yours truly was witness to the one, the only, Gary fucking Numan. At the Black fucking Cat, to boot. Which means, for those who have never had the pleasure of a show upstairs at said venue, it was choc full of Numan fans young and old in a cozy space that made one feel oh so special for being there. In a way it was surreal, seeing such a performer in such a space. The good kind of surreal, of course. There was a strange, cosmic sort of serendipity about this show, but I'll get into that later. Give me a minute, friends, I think I'm still in recovery...

MINI RECAP: Gary Numan = He Is Legend! Overall Score: A

And now, for the serendipity. Numan's tour, in which he played the vast majority of the record, was The Pleasure Principle tour. This album was released on 1979. Also of note in 1979? Yours truly was born. And in the third piece of this little serendipitous triad, this show is #79. So already, even before things got underway, this show was destined to be quite memorable. As we know, this kind of tour has become quite the rage, especially amongst bands that perhaps haven't been in the public eye in a while. And so, to my delight, around comes Gary Numan, touring the heck out of one of 1979's most seminal albums (seriously, if you don't own it...).

This show could have been a little dodgy. By his own admission, Numan was dealing with some sort of vocal issues, and considered canceling the show. But to the delight of those present, he decided to soldier on, and I'm so very glad he did. Sure, the crowd picked up the slack on several numbers (which added a sort of loose, intimate vibe to the proceedings), but when Numan sang he very frequently sounded just right. Perhaps I was listening with ears prone to hearing just the good bits, or perhaps I was just so excited to see one of the most important new wave/synth artists of ever. Be that as it may, Gary Numan damn near killed it.

His supporting bandmates filled the room with song after song of Gary's trademark dark, sexy synth-laden sound. Hearing my trio of favorites from The Pleasure Principle was nothing short of breathtaking: "Metal", "Films", and "M.E." Each song was fantastic. When the notes of "Cars" inevitably began to waft into the room, along with a battery of strobes, there was an overall feeling of ecstasy within the walls of the Black Cat. Everything was working, the darkness, the nuances of the songs, the absolute synthy perfection...even when he abandoned The Pleasure Principle and pulled from later, more rocking records, Numan to me didn't miss a beat.

And yes. If you're wondering whether or not the man is still a fox, the answer is a resounding and very emphatic yes.

The man who helped launch a movement proved he can still play with the best of them. Had he not had a night of being a little vocally-challenged, this show would have been even more glorious, somehow. But as it stands, it was one hell of a night. Viva Gary Numan!

mp3: Metal (Gary Numan from The Pleasure Principle)


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