The electronic rock pioneer played a residency of three consecutive dates that were more intimate and stripped back performances than his usual packed out stadiums, to oversee his 998th, 999th and 1000th live shows since the start of his career.

Entering to the otherworldly creeks and rattles of the prehistoric ‘Resurrection’ which served as an introduction to the set, Gary Numan began his 999th show on his early material with ‘Down In The Park’, his third single with Tubeway Army, then donning electric guitar for their debut 1978 punk rock single, ‘That’s Too Bad’.

As part of a more career spanning setlist, for the first time since 2012, Numan performed ‘Rip’, a single released in 2002 and appearing in his ‘Pure’ album, which had him singing in a low whisper. His debut solo album, ‘The Pleasure Principle’, followed with ‘M.E’, which saw Numan on keyboards in front of a small screen, the song featuring an graduating ombré of synth, culminating in an operatic peak.

He returned to his early material with Tubeway Army, playing the seedy ‘Everyday I Die’, with its echoing synth interactions and final icy, dancing cascades ending the song. Then bringing his set up to date, Numan performed from his latest album, ‘Intruder’, with ‘The Chosen’, then back to his early work with 1979 debut solo single, ‘Cars’, and then back again to the present with the primordial awakenings of ‘Is This World Not Enough’; one of the best tracks on the ‘Intruder’ album, its technological, disconnected twitches making it ahead of its time even in 2021.

Numan finished his set on a remix of ‘A Prayer For The Unborn’ and on an encore of more Tubeway Army with its first two ‘Replicas’ tracks: ‘Me! I Disconnect From You’ and hit single ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’. Because the show had been stripped down, it carried a level of unpretentiousness, feeling as close as possible to Numan’s early performances.

14/04/23: Gary Numan @ Electric Ballroom, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.