Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Night Music 10 26 10 - Gary Numan, Crofoot, Pontiac Mi,

In 1979, I was 8 years old, and my parents listened to an oldies / soft rock station whose principal selling point was having really good updates on morning traffic patterns. When I heard "cars" for the first time it was like something flipped a switch in my brain. I didn't know music could sound like THAT. I didn't understand the lyrics at the time, but it had the coolest pre-MTV video I'd ever seen (this was the age when video pioneers were folks like Poco) and that sound... THAT SOUND!

I got the Pleasure Principle with my own money. I think. Maybe I just bought the single from the neighbor girl with a dollar of said money. But when I got the album I listened to it over and over, and tried to get my friends interested. If they needed any further proof that I was a wee bit weird, that was it. I remember one friend singing "Jimmy is a mental / cause he likes Metal" when I put it on the jukebox at a pizza hut when my cub scout den went out for an educational za' trip. Ah well.

I've loved gary since I was 8. 8. I am now almost 40. In all those years I have never been able to go see him live. I've either been on the wrong side of the Atlantic, or someplace he wouldn't normally come through, or destitute, without reliable transportation, kidnapped by aliens (whom Gary prays to on a regular basis, or so we're told) and any number of other lousy excuses.

So when a friend told me he was coming to MICHIGAN, and the tickets were INEXPENSIVE, and it was on a night I DIDN'T have to work... fuck yes, was I going. Wild horses couldn't have dragged me back from that precipice. I might have driven further, paid more, and re-arranged my schedule three times with four different people. I was going.

And I did.

What can I say? I was six feet away from the man. He had five other people on stage, four of whom had synthesizers, and they played through the entirety of Pleasure Principle. They came in to the b-side Asylum, went into Airlane, and then just started rocking out. The crowd -- surprisingly moribund and unmovable during the opening act's decent techno work -- surged into motion and sang along in something approaching religious ecstasy. There wasn't a silent voice in the hall by the time he got around to Cars, which, as you could expect, he saved for the end.

Then, hands rushed out and took away two of the synths, got out two guitars -- one for Gary -- and a different microphone, and they started into other works. The first one was unfamiliar, and might be off the forthcoming album. He played works from Exile, Sacrifice, Pure, Jagged... and then got everyone screaming with Down in the Park. They knocked off with Are Friends Electric, and then came back for a couple more, truly ending the evening with A Prayer for the Unborn.

Gary is exactly what I thought he would be. He towers. He leers. He conducts the darkness as though shadows were leaking out between his fingers. His voice is surprisingly intimate, then explosively powerful. He has lost none of his energy.

For a man who was sidelined -- for the first time ever in 35 years of touring -- from losing his voice on the 19th, he was amazingly vocal. He was also in good humor, as his bemused grins at people yelling FUCK YEAH GARYYYYYYYYYYYY while drunk off their asses could attest.

I wasn't the only one there with the "first album" story. Folks my age. Folks older. Folks much much younger. All came together at the church of Numan to pray to the aliens. This was worth waiting for and I'm glad I could finally make it happen. Hopefully I will not have to wait more than 30 years to see him again.

In other news, Pontiac is a bitch to get out of, due to poor street signage and asinine construction problems. I think I broke three traffic laws to get where I needed to go. Thankfully, it was Monday/Tuesday at midnight, and the cops were probably receiving handjobs from clowns. In cars.


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