‘Complex’ night for Gary Numan in West Sussex

Posted On 25 Sep 2019 at 5:16 pm

Gary Numan live at The Assembly Hall, Worthing 24.09.19 (pic Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pic on enlarge!)


Following on from his concert the previous day at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill (read our review HERE), Gary Numan and his crew hot-footed it across the county to appear at The Assembly Hall in Worthing this evening.

This was the third date of his 40th anniversary UK ‘‪(R)evolution Tour’ with the opening night being in Dublin and this is the very first time that Numan has performed two concerts in Sussex on the same tour. Let’s hope that this is a regular occurrence, especially as him and his band have been practicing 40 or 41 tunes for this tour and I understand that there are 4 basic setlists which they are working from. Thus we would be hearing some different tracks across the two nights – more on that shortly.

Gary Numan live at The Assembly Hall, Worthing 24.09.19 (pic Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pic on enlarge!)

For many people, it appears as though Numan has come back into the limelight having been away for decades. But this is certainly not the case. The nearest he came was (briefly) retiring from live concert work only back in 1981 due to the pressure of having No.1 singles and No.1 albums at the tender age of 22. Back then, he was very much to the fore, but he has never really ceased making music, he was arguably bubbling away in the background, and even during the biggest gap between studio albums from 2000 to 2006, there was a reasonably steady flow of live albums and compilations. Yes it’s true that his musical direction has changed many times down the years, and just like David Bowie, some were more ‘special’ than others. These days the ‘Numan sound’ is far heavier than those that people recall from his ‘Top Of The Pops’ performances at the tail end of the 1970’s into the mid 1980’s. Here is an artist that certainly has not mellowed with age, and I for one applaud that.

Prior to this tour, Gary has been making headway on his 2020 studio album release, which I believe the working title is ‘Intruder’ and tonight in Worthing we had a little taster. Last year he performed at the same venue as one of three warm up gigs leading up to his Bluedot Festival performance on 21st July. The other warm up shows on that mini ‘Savage’ tour were Holmfirth Picturedrome on 18th July and The Anvil in Basingstoke on 20th July.

Last years Worthing concert had sold out and again tonight this is the case, as so many ‘Numanoids’ follow him around the country in order to get their Numan-fix. Therefore one can assume that a fair number of punters this evening had travelled the length and breadth of the country to get here.

KANGA live at The Assembly Hall, Worthing 24.09.19 (pics Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pics on enlarge!)

And so onto this evening. The support last time around was Nightmare Air, but on this tour it is the Los Angeles based composer, artist, and music programmer known as KANGA and this evening the heavy electronic sounds could be heard booming throughout the venue, from the back of the upstairs balcony and the stairwells at the front of the building and also in the bars! There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the live industrial sounding music had begun and your attention was demanded. Check KANGA out on Bandcamp.

I had witnessed KANGA’s set yesterday and as far as I could tell, tonight’s performance was choreographed in exactly the same way, both musically and visually. KANGA is clearly a fan of Numan as was noted watching his set (which commenced at 9:03pm) with Gary’s wife Gemma from the front left of the stage. Quite often Numan’s three daughters, Raven, Echo and Persia are in attendance, as they were last year in Worthing, but this time around they had to fly back home to LA to continue with their studies. Numan moved from East Sussex to LA a few years back.

Gary Numan and his band live at The Assembly Hall, Worthing 24.09.19 (pics Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pics on enlarge!)

It would have been nice if they were present with Gary Numan tonight as Persia Numan features on his latest excellent album ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ and sings on tonight’s (and last night’s) opening track ‘My Name Is Ruin’. Instead we see her singing as part of the film backdrop behind the band. I should add here that Numan’s stage sets are always very impressive and you know that you are going to witness a visual delight at his shows.

Joyfully, the second song ‘The Machman’ is different from last night’s Bexhill performance and so the guys must be working to a different setlist – and indeed they were, it was setlist 3 instead of 1A. This is most encouraging as it gives you a chance to hear several different songs. It does however have its downside as we will shortly see. Next up was a really terrific version of ‘My Jesus’ from his ‘Pure’ album from 2000. Things are starting to flow nicely for this 19 track set, then the gremlins strike…………….

According to setlist 3, the next track sound have been ‘Replicas’ from the No.1 album of the same name. The guys were a few bars in and it appears that the Apple laptop didn’t want to play ball (twice!). Surely they are Engineers“All that we are, Is all that we need to be, All that we know, Is you and machinery, We’re engineers”. Gary named the culprit piece of machinery, adding “fu**ing technology”. They abandoned the tune and moved onto ‘Metal’ and then ‘Absolution’ (with its accompanying film) and then ‘Jagged’. But the gremlins were back and it didn’t quite finished as it was supposed to, which was much to Numan’s annoyance. Clearly it was just going to be one of those nights! This rarely happens to Gary, although he did forget some of the words to ‘Jo The Waiter’ on the opening night in Dublin. He does tend to always highlight the imperfections of himself, his music and his shows. This in the past had led to several own goals, but this is just the way he is …HONEST!

As a whole we tend to more and more rely on technology and when it breaks down then things can get stressful. Yes Gary was stressed tonight, but thanked the crowd for their patience later on during the set. Well actually he said “Thank you very much for putting up with this sh*t”. Artists (including Numan) are possibly relying too heavily on the laptop for convenience during live performances and thus they can make gigs a bit identikit and interchangeable.

Previously when the tracks were played live you could change and adapt them in rehearsal using musicianship, but when some of the music for the tracks are more increasingly on laptop, then artists quite often tend to stick to the same versions, as it takes time or money to change them. As a result of this, the new material sounds exactly like the album because it pretty much is the album. Also in Gary’s case, he’s got the further complication in that he occasionally lets fans pay to attend the band’s rehearsals, therefore it’s not a proper rehearsal where new ideas will be tried for fear of possibly appearing amateurish in front of the fans. You could add that with the best will in the world that practising an impressive 40 songs might be overcooking it a tad. But that’s Gary for you, he tries hard to please his fans as he is fully aware that he wouldn’t be where he is now without his loyal ‘Numanoid’ fan base which includes yours truly!

The show must go on and indeed it did. We were treated to a career spanning (1978 to unreleased 2020) repertoire, which included ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’, ‘Cars’, ‘Down In The Park’ and ‘We Are Glass’ from the classics list, as well as the very rarely performed ‘Call Out The Dogs’ from 1985 and new demo version of ‘Intruder’ from the next album.

I’m not sure what went on with the tailend of their set (including the encore), but they did not stick to setlist 3. Maybe this was an on the spot decision or simply just a one-off gig, although having said that Numan’s band were working from setlist 3, I know as I have one.

Gary Numan’s Worthing setlist reads:
‘My Name Is Ruin’ (found on 2017 ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ album)
‘The Machman’ (found on 1979 ‘Replicas’ album)
‘My Jesus’ (found on 2000 ‘Pure’ album)
‘Replicas’ (found on 1979 ‘Replicas’ album) abandoned track!
‘Metal’ (found on 1979 ‘The Pleasure Principle’ album)
‘Absolution’ (found on 1997 ‘Exile’ album)
‘Jagged’ (found on 2006 ‘Jagged’ album) false ending!
‘Down In The Park’ (found on 1979 ‘Replicas’ album)
‘The Promise’ (found on 2018 ‘The Fallen’ EP)
‘Cars’ (found on 1979 ‘The Pleasure Principle’ album)
‘Here In The Black’ (found on 2013 ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind’ album)
‘We Are Glass’ (found on CD of 1980 ‘Telekon’ album)
‘Call Out The Dogs’ (found on 1985 ‘The Fury’ album)
‘A Prayer For The Unborn’ (found on 2000 ‘Pure’ album)
‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ (found on 1979 ‘Replicas’ album)
‘My Shadow In Vain’ (found on 1978 ‘Tubeway Army’ album)
‘It Will End Here’ (found on 2018 ‘The Fallen’ EP)
‘Intruder’ (unreleased and will appear on 2020 ‘Intruder’ album)
‘Jo The Waiter’ (found on 1978 ‘Tubeway Army’ album)

So it’s time to get a little technical in comparing tonight’s setlist from yesterday’s Bexhill one:

The tracks that they performed tonight in Worthing that were not performed last night in Bexhill were:
‘The Machman’ (found on 1979 ‘Replicas’ album)
‘My Jesus’ (found on 2000 ‘Pure’ album)
‘Replicas’ (found on 1979 ‘Replicas’ album) abandoned track!
‘Jagged’ (found on 2006 ‘Jagged’ album) false ending!
‘We Are Glass’ (found on CD of 1980 ‘Telekon’ album)
‘My Shadow In Vain’ (found on 1978 ‘Tubeway Army’ album)
‘It Will End Here’ (found on 2018 ‘The Fallen’ EP)

The tracks that were performed the previous night in Bexhill, they were dropped from this Worthing concert were:
‘Dark’ (found on 1997 ‘Exile’ album)
‘M.E.’ (found on 1979 ‘The Pleasure Principle’ album)
‘Dead Son Rising’ (found on 2011 ‘Dead Son Rising’ album)
‘I Die You Die’ (found on CD of 1980 ‘Telekon’ album)
‘This Wreckage’ (found on 1980 ‘Telekon’ album)
‘Halo’ (found on 2006 ‘Jagged’ album)

The band tonight were performing from Setlist 3, however they did not stick to it and made several changes. Those changes being:
‘We Are Glass’ (found on CD of 1980 ‘Telekon’ album) was performed instead of ‘Remind Me To Smile’ (found on 1980 ‘Telekon’ album) which was dropped.
‘Call Out The Dogs’ (found on 1985 ‘The Fury’ album) was performed instead of ‘Love Hurt Bleed’ (found on 2013 ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind’ album) which was dropped.
‘My Shadow In Vain’ (found on 1978 ‘Tubeway Army’ album) was performed instead of ‘Jo The Waiter’ (found on 1978 ‘Tubeway Army’ album) but ‘Jo The Waiter’ became the final track the same as Bexhill.
‘It Will End Here’ (found on 2018 ‘The Fallen’ EP) was played two songs earlier instead of the planned ‘Intruder’ (unreleased and will appear on 2020 ‘Intruder’ album).
‘Intruder’ (unreleased and will appear on 2020 ‘Intruder’ album) was performed as the penultimate song instead of ‘Everyday I Die’ (found on 1978 ‘Tubeway Army’ album) which was dropped.
‘Jo The Waiter’ (found on 1978 ‘Tubeway Army’ album) was performed as the final track instead of the proposed ‘It Will End Here’ (found on 2018 ‘The Fallen’ EP) which came two songs earlier.

My ticket

So in conclusion, my friends Andy, Cris and Stuart accurately sum up the evening as thus:

“I think the gig would’ve been amazing had the sound mix been better (the synths mainly) drowned out by drums and guitar especially on the oldies Cars / We Are Glass / Are ‘Friends’ Electric? / Down In The Park etc. But great to hear them still.

Then the issue of the backing track on the laptop being fu**ed (he swore too much too and didn’t need to dwell on the technical issues all the time ) he should’ve used a good old fashioned reel to reel tape machine.

It was a good gig overall though would’ve been 10/10 had those issues not have happened.

Have read on his Twitter he was having issues in Dublin maybe they were unrehearsed etc?

Some of the newer tracks sounded solid and slick

Overall 7/10” – Andy S.

“I can clearly see why Gary Numan has lasted the past 40 years, a consummate performer and fantastic frontman with such a unique voice that carries every track. The heaviness of some of the material took me pleasantly by surprise and I was mesmerised by the fantastic lighting and visuals. Turned out to be a very memorable night and will definitely be checking him out next time he’s in the area!” – Cris Watkins

“I’ve been coming to Numan gigs for 35 years and this was one of his best! He did have a few technical/computer glitches, but this actually led to a very personal show, with a real rapport between Gary and the audience. The choice of songs was great, and I especially liked tonight’s version of ‘Call Out The Dogs’ and the new visuals”.Stuart Morris

For those of you who are still wondering what tunes they performed in Worthing in 2018 – here you go:
Numan’s Worthing Assembly Hall setlist from his 19th July 2018 appearance reads:
‘Pressure’ (from 2006 ‘Jagged’ album)
‘Halo’ (from 2006 ‘Jagged’ album)
‘The Fall’ (from 2011 ‘Dead Son Rising’ album)
‘Metal’ (from 1979 ‘The Pleasure Principle’ album)
‘Mercy’ (from 2017 ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ album)
‘Everyday I Die’ (from 1978 ‘Tubeway Army’ album)
‘Me, I Disconnect From You’ (from 1979 ‘Replicas’ album)
‘Pray For The Pain You Serve’ (from 2017 ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ album)
‘Here In The Black’ (from 2013 ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind’) album)
‘My Name Is Ruin’ (from 2017 ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ album)
‘Down In The Park’ (from 1979 ‘Replicas’ album)
‘Everything Comes Down To This’ (from 2013 ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind’) album)
‘Love Hurt Bleed’ (from 2013 ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind’) album)
‘My Jesus’ (from 2000 ‘Pure’ album)
‘When The World Comes Apart’ (from 2017 ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ album)
‘That’s Too Bad’ (from bonus disc on 1978 ‘Tubeway Army’ album)
‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ (from 1979 ‘Replicas’ album)

Further information on Gary Numan visit:

Tour flyer

The proposed setlist for tonight

Visit and ‘LIKE’ our ‘What’s On – from Brighton and Hove News’ Facebook page HERE.

  1. kevin tuck Reply

    the night was electric chatting to Gary getting photo’s with him and getting stuff signed at the meet and Greet awesome such a nice person to be around. The gig was everything I expected it to be he loves his fans/followers and shows it as well. 5 stars

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thanks for your comment Kevin.

    • Paul Jones Reply

      You’re the type of fanatic that has made following Numan a laughing stock. Of course he loves his fans he’s not going to openly hate them in public is he? The gig was nothing of the sort either 5/5 you are having a laugh mate. Back in the day fans would call Numan out if the shows were rubbish what I’ve seen over the last few decades is a ridiculous outpouring of sycophantic mush , even my wife who got me in to Numan all those years ago says she wants nothing to do with it any more and let me tell you she used to be a total fanatic!

      • Nick Linazasoro Reply

        Hi Paul, Thank you for this comment too. Yes Gary has certainly attracted many eager fans over the years and I am aware of people that only go to his concerts. However, the general consensus is that Numan is NOT a laughing stock and instead a truly respected artist. Thanks.

  2. Paul Jones Reply

    I’ve seen Numan since 1979 this was one of the worst gigs I’ve been to. Really disappointing. Nothing from I Assassin or Dance, so many incredible tracks left off the set list. To those who are saying it would have been 10/10 if the tech issues had been sorted sooner, get real it was nowhere near a 10 score and some of the comments on SM are embarrassing to read such as “best gig since the TPP” “Numan is the master”. Get a life please.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thank you for your third comment Paul. I’m glad you are taking an interest in our work. I actually, too wished that we would have had at least one track from ‘I, Assassin’ and ‘Dance’ too. Maybe even ‘Warriors’ as well.

  3. judy pristony Reply

    Worthing was sold out

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Hi Judy, How do you know? The box office appeared to be selling tickets to the people right in front of me. They weren’t collecting them as far as we could see.

      • Paul Jones Reply

        It wasn’t sold out plenty of room inside the venue and they were flogging tickets at the venue.

        • Nick Linazasoro Reply

          Hi Paul, The venue have 100% confirmed that it WAS sold out. Prior to the performances, there was a large number of fans participating in liquid refreshment and not actually in the main concert area.

    • Ian Edwards Reply

      Can I ask you why you went to the gig if you think in your eyes Gary Numan is so bad these days? I looked up the venue’s website the night before and that stated it was sold out. I thought after all this time there would no longer be people going to his concerts just to slag him off. Strange!

      • Nick Linazasoro Reply

        Thank you for your interest in our article. I’m unsure if you attended the concert yourself or not, but the article was an accurate portrayal of the nights events. I saw NOT slagging him off, I was reporting the events of the evening. There were about 10 of us in our group who all shared virtually the same account of the night. I have been a fan since “Down In The Park” and have seen him many, many times since. Cheers.

  4. JB Reply

    A lazy and somewhat amateurish performance. He clearly can’t be bothered to rehearse and the band is limited, which is why they cannot adapt to technical problems as they occur.

    There’s no new audience out there, Numan’s simply preaching to the converted like all the other crusty old ’80s acts. The new material is accepted through gritted teeth; 99% of the audience would be far happier if he stuck to tracks from 79-86.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Hi JB, Thank you for your post and interest in our accounts of the night. From my own perspective, I know that there are many sons and daughters of Numanoid parents that are now attending the shows in their own right, because they want to go and are not being dragged along by their parents. So there are some new fans coming through.

  5. Stephen Sheldrake Reply

    Hello, The concert was sold out. Best Wishes – Stephen Sheldrake (Worthing Theatres)

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thank you Stephen, I will update the article to reflect that right now. Thank you for your interest.

  6. Andy Miller Reply

    I was sat up in the balcony and really enjoyed the gig and even with the glitches thought it was a great show and fair play to Numan and his band who battled on -thought visuals were very good too ,thank you for your detailed review and accuracy which is so good to see and coming from a Fan rather than somebody who doesn’t know the artist or music he/she is reviewing

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thank you for the kind words Andy. Been a fan since “Down In The Park”.

  7. Simon Mathias Reply

    I chatted to Gary after the show and told him that he had nothing to feel angry about regarding the technical issues. We all still enjoyed his show and that these things happen. He appreciated that.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Nice one Simon. Thank you for your interest in our article.

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