Concert Review

Gary Numan – Replicas/The Pleasure Principle 45th Anniversary Tour hits Glasgow

The 45th Anniversary of Replicas and The Pleasure Principle were played out to a pack venue in Glasgow. Gary Numan has masterfully brought those albums back to life and the near sold out tour confirms they have stood the test of time.

Hard to believe it’s been 45 years since Gary Numan released the seminal “Replicas” album. It was the second album for Tubeway Army following on from the debut of the same name. The concept album cemented Numans legacy within the electronic music genre and has stood the test of time albeit having a fresh approach to it. Similary, “The Pleasure Principal” not only redefined Numans approach but it set a template for others to follow. Of course, Numan may not have been part of the ground breaking first wave of heavy industrial electronic music, but he was a catalyst for many budding bedroom artists and created a movement that morphed throughout the decades. Gary Numan was a talisman of electronic pop music and has reached legendary status as he has re-invented himself with a number of false horizons throughout his career.

It was a bold move to tour two albums that turned 45 years old in 2024. Although the albums contained two of Numan’s biggest ever chart hits, the rest of the songs remained relatively unknown unless you were a fan. It had been a very long time since I had heard either album in it’s entirety, but I gave them both a run through before the gig and even then, I still wasn’t convinced this would work. How wrong I was. Gary Numan has taken that early mechanical electronic sound and given it a huge makeover. Anyone who has seen him in the past 10 years will be well aware of this and known the live feel and huge sound would bring the songs alive. The dramatic cinematic sounds of Numan’s last two albums, “Intruder” and “Savage” may have been missing but having performed varied songs from his back catalogue in recent years, it didn’t take a massive leap of faith to realise the albums would captivate and immerse the audience. With Steve Harris on Guitar and Tim Slade on Bass, the visuals remained the same from the Intruder tour. David Brooks on Keyboard/Synths replicated those early analogue sounds perfectly and Jimmy Lucido on drums brought the whole show to life.

I expected the two albums to be played in chronological order but to my surprise, the were creatively mixed up. The evening kicked off with “Replicas” before launching into the much sampled “M.E.” The song made famous by Basement Jaxx. The reminiscent “Me! I disconnect from you” demonstrated that Numan had indeed been able to replicate those early songs and make them feel fresh. It was one of the more recognisable songs before the set delved into the rarely played album numbers. The crowd remained attentive throughout the evening giving their endorsement to the electronic indulgence. “Down in the Park” was expertly rendered and the “The Machman” was slotted in right before “Metal” which I thought was a master stroke. The fragility of the audience was demonstrated as one poor person had been on the verge of fainting as they were over come with heat exhaustion. Numan crouched on the edge of the stage making sure the fan was given some much needed water and eventually moved from the barrier to a cooler part of the venue. At one point, Numans wife Gemma came out to check on the fan before the show resumed. Ironically, the main set came to an end with a rousing performance of “We are So Fragile”. The song grew in stature and had the packed venue demanding more as Numan led the band off stage.

It wasn’t long before Numan and Co returned to play out the set with the two songs most of the audience had come to expect. “Cars” and “Are Friends Electric” came as no surprise to anyone who’s ever been to a gig or heard of Gary Numan. The iconic songs that were the sound track to much of the audience youth brought proceedings to a close.

Watching a Gary Numan concert is more than an indulgence, it’s a pleasure. I recommend you do so at some point in your life and try catch the current tour to understand where it all began.

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About The Author

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Raymond Thomson - Deputy Editor

I am a photographer/musician/engineer living in Scotland. My passion is music and motocross and I share my work on facebook/punk4RT and facebook/madmaxmedia. I do like a bit of throw back to the heydays of the 60’s/70’s/80’s when it comes to taking shots of bands. I grew up on the music papers (NME/Sounds/Melody Maker) and drew influence from Pennie Smith/Jill Furmanovsky/Anton Corbijn/Bob Gruen/Adrian Boot/Charles Peterson.
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