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Intruder: Gary Numan @ Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown 2/24/22

March 5, 2022

“I could talk about my world
How you brought about ruin
I could talk about your greed
If you want me to”

“Intruder”, Gary Numan

It was the cusp of winter and spring, and I could feel it in my bones as we drove down the dark desert highway and the mirage of Pappy & Harriet‘s appeared around the bend.  Once a sleepy western “town”, tumbleweeds have now been replaced with a boho fashion show featuring obvious tourists.  But not so much tonight, as the black-clad crowd crawled out of their caves- some for the first time in a long while- to dance and sway to the industrial goth and new wave genius-ness that is Gary Numan.

It had been 80 degrees a few days before, but it was now hovering around 30; if you haven’t spent winter in the desert before it is a different kind of cold.  A dry cold?  I don’t know- but we we all had so many layers on for this outdoor gathering.  They sold hot toddy’s but that only went so far.  So we hovered around the solo heater by the merch booth.  If you thought we were waiting in line for 30 minutes before asking… sorry man, that’s on you!

Getting out and about now is sometimes like meeting a bunch of feral animals.  Before I meet new people I really have to tell myself: no politics!  even though a war just began yesterday…. no pandemic talk! even though that’s all anyone can discuss (quote of the night: lady in line for the bathroom who must have been a teacher: “…they don’t need to know if I’m wearing a BRA to work every day!!”… can’t even talk about the weather because, climate change.  But, after stumbling through conversations focused on fashion, film, and music… it was time for the show!

I had only been to smaller shows inside Pappy’s back before this place got hugely popular, so this outdoor stage made me forget where I was.  Some great tunes were playing – including some more recent NIN (“I Would For You”)- and suddenly I got nostalgic.  It’s been so interesting to see what has happened to people mentally during the pandemic.  I think it’s the first time a lot of people really got inside their heads, or evaluated their lives in a heavy way.  To a lot of people, the pandemic might be the heaviest thing that ever happens in their lives.  Not for me.  I’ve seen a lot of people say when this is over I’m gonna this, that, and the other.  I’ve already done everything I’ve wanted to do in my life.  The pandemic is not the heaviest thing that has ever happened to me.  But I am definitely guilty of living in my head a lot, and back when I went to concerts all the time, it really got me out of my head, to live in the moment.  So- it was really nice to be back in the ephemeral.  As the band walked out on stage, it was like a whole part of my brain that had been dead Nosferatu’d and was like heyyyyyy.  We’re back 🙂


And then, Bladerunner 2049 soundtrack music…

Like tears in the rain…

Somehow I had never seen Gary Numan before; this year is all about seeing bands that somehow just escaped my former reign as the live music queen.  But this show was so fun, and he was so great to see, that it was worth the wait.

I was honestly not expecting much production, but there were several light columns and Numan donned the brick red streaks down his face seen on the album cover of his latest release, Intruder.  And so much energy!  To be honest I was not super familiar exactly how industrial-ized his music had become which is a huge blind spot in my education, and very admittedly weird, so it was a good surprise!  I am a fan of the old stuff.  Because I am officially old now.

My entry point, beyond “Cars”, was NIN covering “Metal”:

I’m surprised I wasn’t at that show, I went to so many shows on that NIN tour…

And then maybe this- back when I was in college and still went ‘to the club’:

That night, I invented shiver-dancing.  I looked around and everyone was so happy and into it.  What a great reprieve from reality.  Then the second best quote of the night: “Who the fuck is smoking cloves?  I haven’t smelled those since the 90s!”

Everything from the 90s is back.  But Gary Numan has never gone away.

He’s just one of those great examples of an artist who can keep creating and reinventing himself without seeming inauthentic:





2022: If you’d like to view the show from the tour (Santa Ana gig), you can view it here.

Numan was fantastic- in voice and presence.  It wasn’t ultra-polished- it was raw, and frenetic… just the way I like it.  It was not like I expected.  I don’t know what I expected, but I was blown away.  If it were the olden days, I would pack a bag and go to several more shows… it was that good.  Get thee to the show nearest you.




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