Gary Numan, The Observatory, Santa Ana, CA., September 4, 2013
The legendary Gary Numan made his way behind the Orange County on September 4th, presenting a solid set of electronic rock to a sold out crowd at The Observatory in Santa Ana, California. Previewing selections from the his upcoming album Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind) as well as unleashing the grand classics of the shadowy past, Gary Numan and his band were in top form. All this, and Nine Inch Nails’ guitarist Robin Finck showed up to perform on several of the songs. Numan has influenced NIN, Marilyn Manson and so many other collectives of various genres; with his own musical roots dating all the way back to 1978 when he formed his endeavor Tubeway Army. And now in 2013, the Numan Army of OC was waiting in breathless anticipation for the iconic performer to arrive onstage.
After a brief instrumental introduction, metallic guitars and sobering synthesizers filled the room with their grim reprieves as the notes of the first song Pure spewed out into the audience. “Hey bitch, this is what you are,” Numan snarled venomously in the chorus, with audience members raising fists high in the air. “Put your hate in a box, see how it bleeds for you,” Numan conveyed with a sense of sinister urgency on the second song The Fall, culled for his previous 2011 release Dead Son Rising. Everything Comes Down To This from Splinter was then administered following by the wondrously emotional Haunted from his 2006 masterwork Jagged. Just these first songs alone showed a modern day Gary Numan with a commanding sense of vibrancy that was staggering to behold.
At this point, Robin Finck arrived onstage, and the band burst into the exhilarating strains of Metal, a song dating way back to Numan’s breakthrough album The Pleasure Principle in 1979. This would be followed by the lingering Films from the very same recording. The first single from Splinter, entitled I Am Dust, was then delivered, followed by two glorious classics of yesteryear – Cars and Down In The Park.
The darkness and intrigue would continue to envelope The Observatory, and throughout the set, Numan would pour water all over himself – almost like he was performing some sort of self-baptism. The last six songs before the encore were all newer selections, filling the room with an ominous dread. The atmosphere was absolutely intense, taking on the tone of a dark electro-industrial show, especially when Love Hurt Bleed and Halo poured into the sonic landscape.
Numan and his band definitely earned their well-deserved encore, launching into the diabolic refrains of A Prayer For The Unborn. And then closing out the show were two all-time crowd favorites, a persuasive rendition of Are Friends Electric and the rollicking yet subversively schizophrenic I Die: You Die. 18 songs in all, leaving the OC throngs fully enraptured by the trademark tapestries Gary Numan is so ferociously unleashes. An absolutely unforgettable event from a highly original artist who will continue to shake up the electronic genre for the dark ages to come.
At press time, Gary Numan announced two LA shows, which will take place at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on October 17th and 18th! Do not miss Gary Numan and band in this unique live setting and be sure to check out Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind) when it comes arrives to devastate the masses come October 15th!
The Fall (Officers Remix)
Everything Comes Down to This
Metal (with Robin Finck) (Performed with the outro of “M.E.”)
Films (with Robin Finck)
I Am Dust (with Robin Finck)
Down in the Park (with Robin Finck)
We’re The Unforgiven
Dead Sun Rising (Sonoio Remix)
When the Sky Bleeds, He Will Come
Love Hurt Bleed
A Prayer for the Unborn (with Robin Finck)
Are ‘Friends’ Electric? (with Robin Finck)
I Die: You Die (with Robin Finck)
(Review and Photos by Kenneth Morton)