Gary Numan - Manchester Academy - 21.2.01

Don't you find it bizarre the way celebrities are portrayed by the media. Well maybe you don't. Maybe you are the sort of person that thinks Anne Robinson is the devil itself and that Craig David is the sort of guy you'd like round for a cup of tea. So I'm here at the Academy and Gary Numan walks on stage clad in black - so right he must be a satanic industrial goth then. Well no, the truth is that he's on tour with his wife constantly by his side and his parents as joint tour managers. He's the sort of friendly guy who offers you a drink, a bite to eat and will just chat for hours. Well being a media whore I'll stick with the image of a satanic goth just as I'll stick with H from Steps being straight, Billie "Chazbaps" Piper having a kidney problem which suddenly affects her in clubs and of course Britney Spears alleged knee operation.

After 22 years in the business Gary finds himself with a dilemma of what songs to play. Should he play from the new album "Pure" which despite being a fave with the critics isn't actually very good or should he play the oldies which is tantamount to admitting your past it and simply a bit pathetic. Opting for something in between he selects something old (I.e. "Cars", "Are Friends Electric") something new (several forgettable tracks from "Pure") and something blue (a few select songs recently covered by the likes of Manson, Smashing Pumpkins, Fear Factory etc.).

I come to the conclusion that I must be too young to appreciate this kind of music as the predominately late 30s crowd sing along as if tonight is there last. "Pure" is to industrial music what Gabrielle is to soul music - very pleasant but about as original as satellite dishes and teenage mothers are council estates. When "Cars" starts all is forgiven and I could go home happy. For the majority of people here tonight  it was a night in gothic heaven (or hell) but for me I came, I saw and it made fuck all difference to my life.

Alex McCann