An amazing fact is that during Gary Numan’s 39 year synth pioneering career, this is the very first time that he has ever played a concert in Bexhill.
I suspect it was the home-calling of the iconic modernist building that brought Gary here as he and his family used to live only 22 miles away at the charmingly named Ragged Dog Lane in Waldron.
I know that Gary used to enjoy living in these parts as I met him and his wife Gemma at the Belle Tout Lighthouse a number of years ago and they had just back from the USA and were just chilling out! I suspect that they had been looking for properties as Gary (who’s real surname is Webb) now lives in California.
So tonight’s gig was to be rather special for this and it was also the final date of his 11 venue tour of the UK. Suffice to say that the De La Warr had sold all of the allocated tickets for tonight’s proceedings.
The evening got under way with a brooding-horror style 30 minute film/music set from support act I Speak Machine. Not my cup of tea at all. It would have been much more enjoyable if our own local Hastings based Vile Electrodes had hot-footed it from their recent Happy Monday’s support slot on Hastings Pier instead!
This setback didn’t dent my enthusiasm one bit as 35 minutes later the lights went down and all of the appreciative crowd were applauding loudly as the heavy drone synth began to ring out for the opening track called ‘Replicas’.
This tour was a celebration of Numan’s early career No1 chart hitting albums from 1979 and 1980 (‘Replicas’, ‘The Pleasure Principle’ and ‘Telekon’), so the overjoyed Numanoids knew exactly what to expect – classic track after classic track bathed in terrific lighting!
Gary has massive credibility these days (as more and more artists like Nine Inch Nail’s Trent Reznor, have cited Gary as the Godfather of the synth) and is usually not one to dwell on the past as he has released 21 studio albums and a host of live albums during the 39 years. My wife calls me a hoarder as I have virtually all of his original vinyls and cassettes and CD’s. But let’s face it, quite a number of his songs have really stood the test of time, just like tonight’s ‘Metal’, ‘I’m An Agent’, ‘Down In The Park’ and best live track of the night in my eyes ‘M.E.’. It’s those swirling synth sounds that put the hairs up on the back of my neck and arms, and yes Mr Webb has still got it!
Tonight’s tracklist: Replicas, Metal, Remind Me To Smile, Me! I Disconnect From You, Films, The Joy Circuit, I Dream Of Wires, You Are In My Vision, M.E., This Wreckage, The Machman, Observer, I’m An Agent, Down In The Park, Cars, We Are Glass, Are ‘Friends’ Electric?, I Die: You Die, We Are So Fragile, My Shadow In Vain.
By Nick Linazasoro.