LIVE REVIEW: Gary Numan @ El Rey Theatre 11/3
If it was the familiar hit “Cars” that brought Los Angeleans out to the El Rey Theatre Wednesday night, the moment Gary Numan dressed as a Gothic God took the stage, concert-goers knew this wasn’t going to be a reunion tour of an 80’s electro-pop star. Numan set the mood to pay tribute to the 30th anniversary of the release of The Pleasure Principle by transforming an Access Virus TI into the familiar Gary Numan sound of a late 1970’s Moog Polymoog synthesizer.
After opening with the instrumental songs “Random” and “Airplane,” he stepped back, revealing an uncharacteristic smile. Numan seemed to genuinely enjoy playing 8 more hits off of The Pleasure Principle with bass player Tim Muddiman on his left and guitarist/keyboardist Steve Harris on his right. Often in the 80’s, Numan would forgo the more popular electronic drums in favor of acoustic. Drummer Richard Beasley showed us why as he added a pulse to songs like “Films” and “M.e.”
Following his most well-known song “Cars”, Numan stepped out from behind the keyboards and transformed into a rock icon as if closing the door on the past and introducing a new millennium. He powered through a series of songs including “The Fall” which resembled the industrial sound of Trent Reznor. Ensuring everyone went home happy, Numan ended the night with the Tubeway Army hit “Are Friends Electric.”
Gary Numan proved that at 52 he has the energy to take back the reins from the aging (and some say retiring) 45-year-old Trent Reznor by continuing to transform sounds into music.
More photos by F. Palmer: Gary Numan