Gary Numan, Nightmare Air
The Second Savage North American Tour
September 27th, 2018
The Second Savage North American Tour would be making its way to Omaha, marking Gary Numan’s debut in the Husker State. Los Angeles based trio Nightmare Air would be continuing their trek with for the second leg of Numan’s worldwide tour. While very few of the several hundred that made their way into The Slowdown had heard Nightmare Air before tonight, the band’s melodic set, emphasizing on sonic momentum, was more than enough to get everyone pumped for tonight’s show. Named after a skater film from the 80’s, Nightmare Air were a perfect choice to open for this tour.
After Nightmare Air adequately amped the crowd, Gary Numan was ready to take over The Slowdown.
Numan is best known for crafting music that uses synthesizers fed through guitar effects pedals to achieve a distorted, phased, metallic tone. Numan’s attention to detail and love of his craft are the reason that he has been able to maintain his relevancy and continues to grow his fanbase. Its because of this that a Thursday night show in Omaha nearly sold out. I’m sure most in attendance were only familiar with his MTV Generation music, but it was his recent music that many of us were excited for.
For many fans, tonight would be their first time seeing Numan live. Tonight’s show would be my second time. A lot of people have heard his songs played live before though. Marilyn Manson started his touring career in the mid-90’s by adding Down In the Park to his band’s set, and Foo Fighters played the track during the encores of the band’s ’97 tour. Fear Factory crafted a brutal cover of Cars, while Hole covered the song during their ‘95 live set. Even industrial goth rockers God Module added Me! I Disconnect to their live set several times. While Nine Inch Nails has been covering Metal for years now and has brought Numan on stage several times to perform his tracks with the band.
Hearing other bands cover Numan’s songs, or even hearing Numan with Nine Inch Nails was great but hearing the man himself perform live is a religious experience. Tonight’s show was a night that few would forget. For this tour, he chose tracks from his lengthy career that created a soundscape that would fit perfectly as the backdrop to a bleak, apocalyptic future. An oeuvre of industrial masterpieces, Gary Numan held the crowd firmly in his gothic embrace. It was a night fueled by his fascination with a dystopian future, and science fiction. The band’s 17 song set focused on his latest release, Savage: Songs From a Broken World, and highlighted fan favorite cuts. Numan has mastered the art of musical evolution during his five-decade spanning career. It was truly brilliant to hear how well tracks from his earliest releases, some 40 years ago, meshed so well with his current more aggressive material.
The stage presence that Numan has honed is second to none. This man knows how to work a crowd into a frenzy. The stage was his tool and he is a master of his craft. While I grew up listening to his earlier works, and seeing Cars on MTV, it’s his new material that I enjoy the most. My musical obsession with Numan began in the late 90’s with the release of his MAGIC EP, from his Sacrifice/DAWN release that featured music inspired by Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings and served as the soundtrack for Jospeh Michael Linsner’s comic Goddess of the same name. It was “You Walk in My Soul,” an ode to his future wife Gemma O’Neill, that I clung to the most. My musical obsession grew with 2011’s Dead Son Rising release. Hearing tracks from Dead Son Rising, Splinter, and Savage were the highlight of my night. These albums have quickly become my go-to releases no matter what mood I’m in. Melodic. Aggressive. These album’s tracks are the once that I feel I can relate to the most.
Numan maintained an incredible level of energy during his band’s performance. Numerous times throughout the night I had forgotten that this man has been performing on stage for longer than I have been alive. But the crowd’s excitement didn’t falter once either. For nearly an hour and a half Omaha proved their love for Gary Numan, and hopefully he will return soon.
Gary Numan’s setlist:
Everything Comes Down to This
Bed of Thorns
Down in the Park
Pray for the Pain You Serve
My Name Is Ruin
Here in the Black
Love Hurt Bleed
Me! I Disconnect From You
When the World Comes Apart
Are ‘Friends’ Electric?
A Prayer for the Unborn