Hubby and I saw Gary Numan in concert at First Avenue in Minneapolis last night.
Gary Numan rocks!
He is such a stellar performer that it was worth wearing earplugs, standing on a hard floor for three hours, and getting beer accidentally spilled on my shoe. (Why is the floor not covered in anti-fatigue mat, I wonder?)
We went with a friend who happened to look down over the crowd at one point during the concert and noted that everyone was smiling. I’d put most of the crowd between the ages of 30 and 60, all of us there to appreciate Gary’s musicianship and not mosh or get wild.
Aside from feeling generally too old to stand for concerts (something I’ve written about before), I appreciate the size of First Ave. No one is really too far from the stage, whether on the floor or on the upper level. Normally, Erik and I stand on the upper level, but for this concert we were on the floor, standing with our backs against the fence erected around the sound board.
I’m fairly short, but my view of the stage was blocked only periodically. The place was not packed so tightly that people couldn’t easily move. That means I was able to get a few photos.
Erik and I went to see Gary Numan at First Ave several years ago, pre-pandemic, and my phone camera wasn’t as good as the one I have now. Not that my current phone is top-of-the-line, but it’s better than the old one.
Here are a few shots.
One thing I had forgotten about Gary Numan from the previous concert was how graceful he is on stage. He is constantly in motion and moving his arms in a way that suggests he has training in ballet or some other form of dance. His bass player appeared to have the same sort of training.
At the end of the concert, Gary addressed the crowd, thanking everyone for coming out. There was no chitchat from him during the concert, which started at 8:00 p.m. on the nose with Front Line Assembly, the opening act. After 45 minutes of their set and a brief intermission to change out gear, Gary and his band were out and played one song after another.
We were fully expecting Gary’s signature song, “Cars,” to be played as an encore, but were surprised that it was inserted in the middle of the set.
After he thanked the crowd, he and his band made a brief exit, then came back for an encore of two more songs, ending with his Tubeway Army song, “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”
The concert was efficient and professional, as well as rousing and fun. I suspect musicians who’ve been around as long as Gary has owe some of their longevity to their professionalism, not just their creativity. I remember it being very common for concerts to start late when I was in my twenties.
I also suspect that Gary’s age (65) is why his concerts have been scheduled to be done between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m. He, like many of us in the audience, probably appreciates being in bed at a decent hour. I always hated concerts that didn’t start with their opening act until 9:00 p.m. and didn’t finish until after midnight.
Judging by the accommodations I saw at First Ave this time around, which included all sorts of reserved seats for folks around the perimeter of the upper level, I am not alone in wanting to enjoy a concert even though my age is making it less comfortable. Erik reminded me that First Ave was willing to set aside a seat for him after a back injury for a previous Gary Numan concert (one that was postponed due to Gary catching Covid). As the fans and rock stars get older in tandem, venues will need to adapt. First Avenue seems to be making that shift.