The Sheffield show was absolutely awful. I'd been really looking forward to this for months, and I came out feeling incredibly disappointed. A lot of people seemed to enjoy it though, but I suspect they were enjoying the beer more than the gig (and anything is bound to be amazing after enough pints). Either way to me, the whole thing just somehow felt low key and half-hearted.
The worst problem was the sound - it was abysmal. Sound check anyone??! I was standing half way back in the middle where you ought to get decent sound... and I've seen Gary at the O2 Academy there before and it was brilliant, so I don't know what happened. You could barely hear him until "This Wreckage", when somebody clearly had the idea of turning his volume up. slightly.
"Berserker" - the one song I'd really been anticipating - was a complete let down. Same with "Call Out the Dogs", which sounded like it was mostly coming from CD.
The more recent songs ("In A Dark Place", "The Fall", "Crazier") sounded muffled and muddy and there was no need for Ade Fenton collab "Healing", whatsoever - a lost opportunity for something like We Take Mystery. The newer material was clearly favoured over the older stuff (ie what everyone really wanted). "Rip" is a pointless song to play live because whispered vocals just don't work live, especially when you can't hear him in the first place.
After attempting to play many of the old tracks as they were, "Metal", "Cars" and AFE were all subject to heavy makeovers which ruined them. The songs didn't even flow well, almost as if they were picked at random.
All of you will know what a fan of Gary Numan I am, and I don't criticise anyone without good reason. But I wouldn't recommend this tour. I was wondering if it was just the venue but I read similar things about the Glasgow gig.
I turned to my mate during "Rip" and said I was bored. It's just not right to be BORED at a concert, is it?!
And there's the Machine Music DVD - nicely packaged with a slipcase and booklet; 2 discs, interview etc - but at £28, they're having a laugh. I understand that limitations on the footage rights have limited the DVD to a run of just 3000, but charging close to thirty quid for a DVD is a bit of a joke. Which put collectors like me in a frustrating position. Knowing this was my only chance to buy it and the pressing was limited, I bit the bullet and bought one. So if a cheaper version appears on Townsend after the tour, I shall be furious. It's particularly saddening because Gary has always gone out of his way to give fans good value and fair prices. maybe I'll be able to confirm this when I've watched it.
But overall, what a disappointment. Maybe I've seen Numan too many times in recent years, but after that, I'm done with gigs for a while.