CONCERT REVIEW: Gary Numan – O2 Academy Edinburgh 10th May

A recent upgrade and rebadging of the former ‘Corn Exchange’ on the west side of Edinburgh meant that the newly named ‘02 Academy Edinburgh’ was in prestige condition to open its doors again to music fans and tonight to Gary Numan as part of his 19 date UK tour.


Unknown to the majority of the gathering 2000+ standing crowd, the night kicked off with support from Devine Shade a 3 member French outfit who entertained ‘big time’ with a thrilling 45min set. The moody stage set filled with smoke and strategically placed strobe lighting created the perfect image for the band to perform at the top of their game. Right from the start the crowd warmed to them and you would be forgiven to compare their sound to the likes of ‘Nine Inch Nails’ or a heavy version of ‘Depeche Mode’. The main man is Ren Toner on vocals/ keyboards ably supported by Emile Casas on drums and Nicolas Thonnerieux on guitar. The theme of their songs fitted perfectly into the Gary Newman image of electro synth rock with a touch of industrial music on the side. The final track ‘Black Birds Return’ was possibly a bit more danceable than the others but there were no disappointments. At the end of their set there was a buzz from the crowd ‘they were great need to check them out!’

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For the record the Devine Shade setlist played on the night was: ‘Hate & Oblivion’ ‘Ruines & Cendres’ ‘Stars’ ‘From The Sky’ ‘Éternel’ ‘Love Of Angels’ ‘Ashes’ ‘Get Away’ ‘Black Birds Return’


Expectantly we did not have long to wait for the impressive stage set to be cleared to reveal an array of video screens and lighting to do justice to the music we were about to hear. What was to come was not unexpected, screens displaying lava and fireballs imaging the likes of a deserted planet and hopefully not our future earth. With the haunting and echoing sound that starts the title track of Gary’s new album ‘Intruder’ Gary arrives on stage dressed in a Bladerunner styled outfit with the customary 3 red strips down his face. Not to be outdone guitarists Steve Harris (lead) and Tim Slade (bass) are also dressed to kill with shaved heads and long black skirts. Quietly in the background on mounted platforms are David Brooks (keyboards) and Richard Beasley (drums). The set list for the night was to lead us down a memory of Gary’s 40 years as a top line performer through an age of punk, new wave, synth to the now more but equally acceptable industrial sound. The new ‘intruder’ album does not disappoint as 4 tracks were included namely ‘Intruder’, ‘The Gift’, ‘Is This World Not Enough’, ‘And It Breaks Me’. Going back in time memories flooded back to the days of ‘Top of the Pops’ and ‘the Old Grey Whistle Test’ when Gary and his band treated us to ‘Down in the Park’ ‘Cars’ etc. That was in 1979-1981 and fortunately for us all Gary is still Gary prancing non-stop around the stage mimicking a nimble ballet/mime artist when not singing. With a 1 hour 45 min performance I must wonder how Gary keeps so active does he practice at home in front of a mirror exercising his moves instead of going to the gym? Tracks ‘Bed of Thorns’ and ‘My Name Is Ruin’ appeared on Gary’s last album Savage (Songs from a broken World) that features his daughter Persia, who’s images appeared when these tracks were played. In total Gary has released over 20 albums some more successful than others here in the UK and in the USA so the choice what to play is endless. The night also featured songs from the albums ‘Jagged’, ‘Telekon’, ‘Splinter’ and The Pleasure Principle (Tubeway Army). The encore tunes on the night were ‘Remind Me to Smile’ and to send everyone home happy ‘Are Friends Electric’. Overal it was an amazing show but unusually throughout the set not a word was spoken ‘no audience chat, introductions or thanks’. Guess some artists feel they need to engage and for others the music speaks for itself.

There are still busy times ahead for Gary and we wish him all success. Hopefully no more Covid issues that affected his massive USA tour in February and March this year.

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For the record Gary’s full set list tonight was: Intruder, Me! I Disconnect from You, Halo, The Gift, Metal, Bed of THORNS, Is This World Not Enough, Films, Pure, Resurrection, Down in The Park, An it Breaks Me Again, Dead Sun Rising, Cars, My NAME IS Ruin, Love Hurt Bleed, The Chosen, We Are Glass – Encore: Remind Me to Smile and Are ’Friends’ Electric


Photographs by Steve Gunn Review by Hugh Connell for Scottish Music Network (SMN)

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