Gary Numan/Living Ornaments 1981—-Disc 1

For anyone who has been checking in with my blog entries, the need to give some grand introduction to this entry is not necessary. As the very proud owner of 68 Gary Numan compositions, I love to revisit the journey from time to time. This is an excellent live compilation….recorded live at Wembley Arena in 1981, the release has recently been remastered and re-released. Excellent quality and a great landscape of Numan’s career thus far, this is a must have for any true fan.

Me! I Disconnect From You—-Performed live, the song takes on the full original punk feel of the original song. The pace of the music is fast and the vocal delivery is full of accented snot. This is Numan when he was enjoying incredible career highs..and the enjoyment shows in the quality of the performance. This is great….not a favorite song of mine but n this setting, it becomes addictive.

Complex—-Another song that is often covered by Trent & Co., the song is full of atmosphere and incredible keyboard manipulations. The vocal is morose and alien, distant and un-connected. The tone of the voice is so lonely…despite the huge crowd of people…this is an excellent live rendition.

The Aircrash Bureau—-Also taken from the Telekon release, the song further enjoys all of the mechanical music making that Numan was discovering. The tone of the song is cold and full of machine generated emotions. The amazing part is that despite a crowd of 10,000 people, Numan still manages to sound as disconnected and alien in front of them as he does for them. Brilliant….the keyboard swells are masterful…who could ask for more?

Airplane—-The crowd has wild affection for Numan…playing in front of a hometown crowd and doing it so well has elated the huge audience and the enthusiasm is apparent in the delivery of the music. The swirls and atmosphere are incredible, the galloping back beat is brought up front in the mix and it plays well. This is magnificent. The huge sound of the band, the intricate sounds perfectly transposed…this was a  dream show Im sure.

M.E.—-Long a very favorite track of mine, the alienation and aloneness plays very well on this live track. Sometimes Numan seems a tad bit to removed from the microphone, but the more subdued vocal delivery is nice….it allows the keyboard swells to encompass the whole feel of the song. This is cold and distant…unfeeling and harsh…yet it drips of loneliness and emotion. Wonderful!!!!

Everyday I Die—-Magically transported from vinyl to the live stage, the song takes on a much bigger and dense feel. The vocal is at the very front of the mix and the whine of  Numan is in full effect. The cold and distant feeling is only intensified by the slight nasal whine of the voice…of course, we know by now that it works if he hollers and rants as well. This song is masterful in its original incarnation and even more powerful as Numan performs it in 2009. A classic that stands the test of time well….

Films—-Another classic and favorite Numan track of mine, this live version is incredibly fantastic. The swells of the keyboards and the extended deep bass swirls just egg  the crowd on and drive them to a frenzy. As the song finally enters the fray, amidst the airplane noises and mechanical sounds of distance and alienation, the song finally emerges to the crowd’s delight. The familiar strains are so exact it makes one wonder about pre taping certain sounds and moods for the live stage. Numan still manages to sound as distant and irritated as he does on vinyl and the result for the crowd is amazing…you can hear the low hum of the excited crowd in the backdrop. GREAT!

Remember I Was Vapour—-Another classic track from Telekon. the live rendition is as magnificent as the recorded. The energy and the distance all come together in a wonderful delivery.  The song’s feeling  is even more intense because of the pronounced vocal delivery of Numan.

Trois Gymopedies [I]—-Released as a limited B-Side and on the remastered Telekon, this instrumental only served to prove the genius of Numan. Not only could he provide lyrical images of isolation and desperation, he could deliver a moody and somber instrumental that displayed the exact feelings without a single word…GENIUS!!!!

Conversation—-Numan allows the crowd a brief word as he introduces Conversation…poorly mixed and lacking in an adequate mix, this is terrible…you can only hear in the mix what Numan must be hearing in his headphones…it is interesting but tacky….this is somehow overlooked on this release and perhaps only serves to make it even mor valuable!!!!????

**** out of 5

Disc 1:

Intro/This Wreckage—-The energy of the crowd is noticable from the onset….Wembley is a huge arena and I’m sure Numan was thrilled at the turnout. The atmosphere is set from the first strains of the keyboards and you can only imagine the excitement of the crowd…the audience erupts with the emergence of the key players and you can enjoy the live experience in full. When the opening strains of ‘This Wreckage’ begins and the emergence of Gary occurs, the crowd becomes maniacal. The vocal is superb and the audience reaction is real and sincere. The performance is as classic as the Telekon record..who could ask for more…the simple thought that one was able to transport the studio sounds of Numan to a live stage in 1981 is incredible….fantastic!

Remind Me To Smile—-Of course, this is my favorite Numan track of all time…the crowd responds exactly as I would…the cold and distant feel of the record is transported live in an incredible fashion. The keyboard deliveries are exceptional and Numan delivers his vocal with a heavier than usual accent that plays well to the British crowd. The energy of the song plays very well on the stage and this is a remarkable version…as great as the live mix…even more punkier than on record.Wonderful!!!!

Metal—-The crowd and it’s enthusiasm is well recorded as Numan rolls out timely hit after hit. The abilty to transport studio sounds to the live stage only goes to show that Numan was really aware of technology early on. The nasal, british sound of the vocal is classic snot nosed rock with attitude. This is fantastic…still a classic in live sets today and also covered by NIN.


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