LIVE: Gary Numan @ The Bridgewater Hall


The Bridgewater Hall, holds a sound like no other venue in Manchester, what better fit for the man himself, Gary Numan? His band are playing with the accompaniment of the Skaparis Orchestra from Manchester. The supporting act Chris Payne used to play various instruments for Numan in his band between 1979 and 1989, so I’m expecting big things.

A fantastic display of lights on a white translucent sheet to the rear of him illuminates the entire stage, and a track plays with fantastic hard-hitting orchestral instruments. This sounds mega. Chris Payne enters the stage, stands behind his keyboard/laptop combo and does nothing? After a minute or two he plays a tiny bit of piano, then stops again and does nothing. He’s also playing to a backing track. His credibility goes right out the window.

The orchestra have started playing and yet all I can hear is the gammon brigade (the crowd) shouting “NUMAN” and “GA-RAY” in football style chants. One by one, the band enter as the orchestra become louder. The music is beautiful. I see Numan hasn’t aged a single bit since his debut in ‘The Mighty Boosh’, but his look seems to surprisingly have become more boisterous.

Everyone is mesmerised. The band kick in, the orchestra is a fantastic addition, they certainly bring a modern take on 80’s synth driven music. Their second track ‘Metal’ blasts out and everyone jumps to their feet and are fully getting into it. It’s a short and punchy that’s got everyone’s attention and the band have an absolutely fantastic stage presence.


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@garynuman at Manchester Bridgewater Hall 17/11/19 📸 @katieairdphotography

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But let’s not forget the stars of this show: Skaparis Orchestra. They are something else. In fact, I’d be happy to just sit here and watch them play. Without them, this act would be nothing more than a band destined to be playing in a rubbish venue (trust me, I’ve been there).

Exit Numan & the band. The Skaparis Orchestra burst into a beautiful piece that I’m fully enveloped in. The band come back on stage and start playing. It’s good, I just wish it was a solely orchestral piece. But on the plus side, we seem to have gone from English Electronica to Nu-wave synthy stuff, with a hint of the Middle-East. I welcome it.

It’s time. ‘Are Friends Electric’ is playing. It’s gone from 80’s synth-galore to a more industrial rendition of the song. The orchestra are playing what would be the main synth line that we all know and love. My only criticism of the song is one of the sections drops down and Gary Numan speaks in a low, croaky voice… It’s cringe-worthy to say the least. However, the entire gig is being filmed, so it’s no surprise that everything is a bit “hammy”.

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