PICS: Gary Numan at the Observatory North Park

New wave/electronic music pioneer Gary Numan electrified his friends at the Observatory North Park on Wednesday, Nov. 15 with an 18-song set list.

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Fatima Kelley
And the Numanoids rejoiced: The UK electronic music icon is currently on tour to support his new album, “Savage (Songs from a Broken World),” which features the leadoff single “My Name Is Ruin” (which also features the guest vocals of his 11-year-old daughter Persia).
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Fatima Kelley
Born Gary Anthony James Webb in Hammersmith, West London, he worked various jobs in his teens (forklift truck driver, air conditioning ventilator fitter, accounts clerk, etc) before his father bought him a Gibson Les Paul guitar — which Numan regards as his most treasured possession. Little did he know musical stardom was right around the corner.
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Fatima Kelley
Webb didn’t always go by Numan: His original stage name was “Valerian,” in reference to the hero in French sci-fi comic series “Valerian and Laureline.” He later picked the surname “Numan” from a Yellow Pages advertisement for a plumber whose last name was “Neumann.”
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Fatima Kelley
Numan first got a taste of success as the lead singer of the new wave band Tubeway Army. After recording an album’s worth of punk-influenced demos, they were signed to Beggars Banquet Records and released two singles (“That’s Too Bad” and “Bombers”), neither of which charted.
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Fatima Kelley
In 1978, Tubeway Army released a self-titled, new wave debut album and introduced a Numan fascinated by dystopian science fiction and synthesizers. The group released the hit single “Are ‘Friends’ Electric” in 1979 on the album “Replicas,” which hit No. 1.
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Fatima Kelley
A few months later, Numan released his debut solo album “The Pleasure Principle,” which spawned the gigantic international hit “Cars.” The album reached No. 1 in the UK and a sold-out tour followed. The concert video from that tour is often referred to as the first full-length commercial music video release.
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Fatima Kelley
Around that time, his image became cemented — even though it was largely unintentional. According to Numan, he was about to perform on “Top of the Pops” and was suffering from acne: “So they slapped about half an inch of white makeup on me before I’d even walked in the door. And my eyes were like pistoles in the snow, so they put black on there. My so-called image fell into place an hour before going on the show.” Now, as you can see, Numan favors a different type of aesthetic -- more 'desert apocalyptic chic'.
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Fatima Kelley
After several album releases in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Numan has experienced a resurgence as of late. Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, the Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan and Marilyn Manson have all cited his work as a huge influence and have recorded cover versions of his hits.
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Fatima Kelley
At his Nov. 15 show, Numan performed an 18-song set list including: “Ghost Nation,” “Metal,” “The Fall,” “Films,” “Bed of Thorns,” “Dead Sun Rising,” “Down in the Park,” “Pray for the Pain You Serve,” “Here in the Black,” “Mercy”...
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Fatima Kelley
Followed by “Love Hurt Bleed,” “My Name Is Ruin,” “Cars,” “When the World Comes Apart,” “A Prayer for the Unborn,” “Me! I Disconnect From You,” “The End of Things,” and “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”
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