He keeps the packed Concorde waiting but finally appears with his band The Good, The Mad and The Lovely at 21.30 to everyone’s relief. After his recurring health problems, it’s a known fact that an Adam Ant show can vary from shambling to euphoric and you never know which one you’re going to get until he actually turns up, but from the off he’s looking fit and ready to play, with that old Ant swagger still intact.
He launches straight into “Plastic Surgery” to huge cheers, and it’s a powerhouse opening to what proves to be a great show. The band consists of bass, lead guitar and a male and female drummer providing that classic Ant drum sound and there are also two female backing singers who change outfits three times in the set like proper stars should do.
It’s a great set, with older songs like “Cleopatra”, “Catholic day”, “Never trust a man (with egg on his face)” and “Cartrouble” from their 1979 debut album “Dirk wears white sox” still sounding fantastic. Its hearing them live again that I’m reminded of what great songs they were, and the band play them with an attack and enthusiasm that makes them sound fresh. Adam Ant is obviously enjoying himself on stage too, which is great to see. It shows this is not just an exercise in 80’s nostalgia but something he genuinely loves doing.
He’s in cheeky mood too, at one point asking us “don’t you think Johnny Depp looks like me?” as he stands there in huge pirate hat and coat, and you also have to laugh at his jibes at Liam Gallagher’s new band Beady Eye who he declares to be a shit pub band. 🙂
Of course, it’s the crowd pleasing classic songs like “Stand and deliver”, “Antmusic”, “Kings of the wild frontier” and “Prince Charming” that go down really well too, and I had to laugh when he played “A.N.T.S.” which is basically sung to the tune of Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.”, one of his more obscure tunes that was available as a blue flexi-disc. Good to hear that one live.
He dedicates “Goody two shoes” to Kevin Rowland, the person he originally wrote the song about, the line “don’t drink, don’t smoke what do you do?” referring to the days when Dexy’s maintained a strict fitness regime as part of their band manifesto. Near the end of the set he does a great rowdy version of Marc Bolan’s “Get it on”, a perfect song for him to cover as he has the same charisma and star quality that Marc Bolan had.
In short, a great mix of well known tunes and rarities performed by a band who are really into what they’re doing and not just coasting along. My lovely girlfriend, a long time Ant fan, mentions that she had never noticed how camp he was before, but he was always about punk swagger coupled with a kitsch disregard for convention and he’s always been brilliant because of it. One of the best gigs I’ve been to in a long while. Definitely catch him on this tour if you get a chance.