THE Skaparis Orchestra are self-styled as “not your average amazing orchestra” and there was little that was typical about their concert collaboration with robo-goth veteran Gary Numan, from the vocal, livewire crowd to the headbanging percussionist Jan Bradley.
All concerned were having a ball, in frisky mood on this last night of a tour which has seen this rocking young chamber ensemble, led by flamboyant conductor Simon Robertshaw, interpret Numan’s latest incarnation as post-apocalyptic seer, ushering in the end of days while clad in designer desert robes, with heady Arabian strings alongside his band’s trademark synth rock stylings.
While the orchestra ramped up the drama and bombast of his sci-fi vision, Numan’s vocals were initially a little lost in the sonic maelstrom but he came through, casting off the stiff cyborg routine of old to embrace the joys of a looser performance, even bordering on interpretive dance at points. The strutting frontman was also a proud and slightly embarrassing dad, welcoming his daughter Persia onstage to add penetrating vocals to My Name Is Ruin and Breathing.
Numan also cherrypicked from his substantial back catalogue, using the orchestra to enhance rather than swamp the moody futurism of Down in the Park, to provide taut, trembling strings, and then an epic flourish to Films and to take up the quaking hookline of the climactic Are “Friends” Electric?
Only the dread symphony of The End of Things came close to providing a comparable hit in the encore.- FIONA SHEPHERD