When Kraftwerk performed as headliner in three shows for Moogfest 2014, the synthesizer pioneers essentially played the same (very good) show three times.
Gary Numan, being something of an overachiever, performed three different shows over three different nights as the headliner for Moogfest 2016. On the last day of Moogfest, Gary had quite a day — first receiving the 2016 Moog Innovation Award in a ceremony on Saturday, May 21, and then performing the third of his three concerts a few hours later at Fletcher Hall in the Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC.
Sadly, I couldn’t make Gary’s award ceremony as the 2pm time conflicted with a Moogfest show by Gwenno, who was high on my “to see” list for the synthesizer festival. It is appropriate, however, that Gary received the gift of a Minimoog from Moog Music Inc. along with his award during the ceremony. The Minimoog, as Numanoids (or Gary’s fans) know, kicked off Gary’s experiments in synthpop when he famously found one in a studio after rehearsals one night and started exploring it.
Very proud to have just received the 2016 Moog Innovation Award. I was even given a new Mini Moog D. Honoured. pic.twitter.com/WmqVpgaXfr
— Gary Numan (@numanofficial) May 21, 2016
The third and final show was devoted to the album “Telekon,” following dedications the previous two nights to the first two parts of his famed “Machine Trilogy” of albums.
If the other two albums — “Replicas” and “The Pleasure Principle” — are generally better known, that didn’t stop Gary from putting his trademark energy and flourishes into an invigorating rock show to honor his work.
Telekon is certainly the *most* “industrial” of the trilogy with his generally heavier distortion and repetitive riffs. Its songs continue building upon themes generally introduced in the first two albums of the trilogy: questions of identity, life, and existence.
Although it’s Gary’s third show, an enthusiastic full house greets him and his band when they take the stage. Gary has an early set time for his final Moogfest show, around 8:30pm versus 11:30pm sets on the other nights. I think this earlier time draws some fresh faces that didn’t stay out late enough to see his previous shows, which helps in part to maintain an insanely high level of energy and enthusiasm for another concert.
Gary raced through 12 tracks of the Telekon album, hitting highlights such as “I Dream of Wires” and “I Die: You Die” and closing on “The Joy Circuit” while largely rearranging the running order of the album for performance. Given time for one encore, Gary excited the house with yet another rollickin’ performance of “Cars,” which again receives a wildly glorious reception from people who burst out dancing in the aisles.
With the recent touring of the Machine Trilogy around the United States and Canada, Gary is likely to perform new songs the next time I see him. Indeed, he has been running a PledgeMusic campaign with the intent to release a new album this fall.
Says Gary, “With this new album I have deliberately held off of writing anything until this campaign is in place. I will start to write it the day the campaign is launched and I have eleven months to get it completely finished as the release date I’ve set for it is mid October, 2016. Three years exactly since ‘Splinter’ was released. I have no idea how I want it to sound, or who will work on it with me, if anyone. It doesn’t even have a working title as yet. It’s as blank a canvas as I’ve ever had and everything that happens will happen with you as part of it.”
You can support the album online at http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/garynuman.
Gary is ramping up for a UK tour in the fall, but now that he lives here in the United States, we will surely see more of him — and his new and early works soon.
Here are some pictures of Gary performing “Telekon” during Moogfest on Saturday, May 21, 2016. You can revisit my review and pix of the first night of Gary’s Moogfest residency, and the second night awaits you here.