Live Zone

Gary Numan, UEA, Norwich, 19th May 2024



Gary Numan. At 66-years-old and been at it for 47 years; touring the globe, recording and releasing 23 albums, deservedly recognised as a pioneer of synth/electronic music, one may expect and forgive the voice to be a tad frayed around the edges so to speak by now. Yes?

Well, from his performance last night (Saturday) in Norwich, it is not a concern at all, because that voice sounds EXACTLY as it did back in the day when Gary Numan fronted Tubeway Army and had a big hit with “Are Friends Electric?” in 1978 – and then his solo career launched with a big bang on the back of the smash hit “Cars”.

Norwich the second stop of an 18-date UK tour, much of which is sold out, which opened in Belfast on Friday and closes with three nights at London’s Roundhouse. The tour marks the 45th anniversary of Gary’s iconic albums, “The Pleasure Principle” and “Replicas.”

The all-standing 1550 capacity venue in Eastern England was rammed with a vast age range of fans in, from kids still at school and college to those who were adults when Gary’s career was at its height in the 70s and 80s – some here tonight with kids and grandkids. A good few musicians in the house too.

No support tonight, Gary kicks off early with a 22-song set [full setlist below], which includes a brace of songs for the encore; saving his biggest tracks to close the show, “Cars” and “Are Friends Electric?”.

Plenty of material from his two biggest albums, to mark 45 years since “The Pleasure Principle” and “Replicas” blasted onto the airwaves and Gary became an ‘overnight star.’ Even owning and piloting his own ‘plane.

There was also a deep dive into more of his LPs in the set list, including some songs from his most recent album, 2021’s “Intruder”. Got to say most of the material from his last few albums stands up just as solid next to his early and most successful tracks.




Me! I Disconnect From You
We Have a Technical
Do You Need the Service?
Praying to the Aliens
It Must Have Been Years
You Are in My Vision
Down in the Park
The Machman
Only a Downstat
We Are So Fragile


Are ‘Friends’ Electric?


Born Gary Anthony James Webb , he adopted the stage name Numan from a plumber’s advert’ in the Yellow pages, whose surname was Neumann. 

Gary and his wife Gemma and their three daughters Raven, Persia and Echo are now based in the US since 2012, after living in Essex and then East Sussex.

His career began as front man to the band Tubeway Army and after two albums with them, he left to go solo – his debut solo studio album “The Pleasure Principle”, topping the UK Album Chart in ’79.

He has sold more than 10 million records, and has had two UK number one albums, seven UK Top 10 and 16 UK top 40 albums , plus a # one UK single, six UK top 10, 23 UK top 40 and 40 UK top 75 singles.

But along with the career highs, Gary has also overcome “crippling debt”, depression and been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

For my money, there wasn’t a duff song in the set tonight, and it was a faultless performance from Gary and his cohorts. I realised I was smiling broadly for most of the night and forgot all about my troubles for the entire set.

Gone were the knackered car woes, the eye-watering gas bill pain, niggly health issues and an impending visit from the in-laws (schhhhh!)…and all I could think of was how great Gary sounds, and how innovative he was almost five decades ago. First there was Kraftwerk and then there was Mr Numan. He is still a mighty contender in 2024.



His fans all have their favourite songs, of course, and I admit there were a good few numbers here I was hearing for the first time. But I jotted down the songs I most enjoyed, such as “Me, I Disconnect From You”, “Metal”, “Films”, “Down In The Park” and “We Are Fragile”.

Having checked out Gary’s many videos on YouTube across a few days before the show, I was struck by the track “My Name Is Ruin”, with his daughter Persia singing on it and appearing in the video, and so I was a wee bit disappointed they did not include that in the set in Norwich.


Maybe it goes without saying that the glistening jewels in the crown of the set must be the chart topping “Cars” and “Are Friends Electric? – and both send a jolt of electricity throughout the venue and into every last one of the 1550 fans here tonight.

They really are timeless tracks and part of the soundtrack to many lives of the people here tonight. Husbands nudging wives and vice versa, when they hear the first few notes of those two glorious songs that transport many back to the days when they bought those singles as teenagers/young adults.

But the point I leave you with is this; Gary Numan in 2024 is definitely still an exciting, creative force and not stuck on the nostalgia circuit, like so many of his contemporaries from the 1970s and ’80s.

I was gobsmacked at how current he sounds and again, how strong his vocals are after almost 50 years of using that instrument on the road and in the studio.

Now to dig into his extensive back catalogue and hope it is not too long before Gazza tours again back on these shores. I’m a new fan for Numan…


Photos: Liam Battersby

Words: Andy Faith





Follow us for all the latest news!

This function has been disabled for Music Republic Magazine.