Gary Numan Live in London

Despite having put in plenty of shows over the past seven years, electro-pop pioneer Gary Numan reached all the way back to the fall of 1997 for this live two-disc set, recorded at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire a couple of weeks into his Exile tour. Accordingly, about a quarter of the set list is pulled from the Exile CD. The balance of remaining tracks, however, are culled from the enigmatic artist’s first three albums with just one tune (the Metal Rhythm track "Voix”) representing Numan’s numerous releases between ’79 and ’94. Weird. Though not mind-blowing, the live sound quality warrants at least an eight-out-of-ten rating, which, presumably, is much better than that of the numerous live Numan bootlegs circulating around, the voluminous likes of which undoubtedly provided at least some of the impetus behind this release. In a testament to both the progressive nature of Numan’s old material, and the consistent, at times samey qualities of his newer compositions, both period’s pieces come off sounding seamless and equally timeless with classics like "Cars” and "Are Friends Electric?” benefiting from some minor adjustments. Other highlights include some rare Numan crowd banter (dude’s polite to a fault and takes himself a little too seriously — who knew?), and the innovative, soccer-like audience chanting "Nu-Man, Nu-Man…” at least three different ways. (Eagle)