Gary Numan

Exhibition Tour 1987: Ghost

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It was an indicative situation for Numan's commercial fortunes at the time: A year after the Strange Charm album appeared to little attention outside his dedicated fan base, the Exhibition greatest-hits comp appeared, returning him to the charts with a remix of "Cars." Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth -- and also riding a bit of a wave with his participation in the Radio Heart project -- Numan took to the road, producing another live album with Ghost. Like White Noise recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, Ghost concentrates to a heavy degree on Strange Charm -- a smart move in retrospect in that it made for a chance to bring that relative return to strength to a wider audience. With a fair amount of the same touring lineup as on White Noise -- there's a different rhythm section, but standbys like Chris Payne and Russell Bell remain present -- Numan leads his band through an enjoyable if not particularly remarkable set. The Strange Charm songs, like the Berserker numbers on White Noise, definitely benefit from the live presentation, though admittedly such cuts as "Tricks" aren't really up to Numan's own particular standards in the first place. That said, "The Sleep Room" and "My Breathing" make for a great one-two punch, leading into an agreeably punchy version of "Cars," complete with an extra midsong break and a slightly snarky intro from Numan. Other older favorites take the expected bows -- "Are 'Friends' Electric?," which for once doesn't end the main set (that honor goes to "Berserker" this time around), "I Die: You Die," "We Are Glass," "We Take Mystery (To Bed)." About the only thing that definitely should have been changed is the spectacularly ugly cover photo of Numan -- quite what he was thinking when that was approved is a question for the ages.

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