Adam Ant is an iconic figure to anyone that loves music of the eighties. He is amongst that small band of singers that have a dance to one of his songs that is immediately recognisable to anyone who grew up in the eighties.
Ask anyone about ‘Prince Charming’ and they will break into an impression of the music video and on Wednesday evening at the Royal Albert Hall there was full proof that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery with an array of ruffled shirts, painted faces and dandy highwayman outfits.
From 1980’s ‘Dog Eat Dog’ to 1983’s ‘Goody Two Shoes’, Adam Ant and his collaborator Marco Pirroni channelled a love of Ennio Morricone into glam rock and punk and turned it into a definitive sound that defined a decade. Combined with a look that could easily be the inspiration for Depp’s Jack Sparrow and Tonto years later and you have a recipe that has insured Adam Ant has a cherished place in many hearts of a certain age.
It seemed that all those hearts were present and correct and fully invested in Adam’s Anthems tour; a tour that embraces not only the hits with The Ants but the highlights of his solo career. The audience at Albert Hall stood, danced and sang back the songs that shaped their youth and helped make music video the art form it is today and Adam Ant, despite his 62 years, stripped back the years to once again stand loud and proud as the Dandy Highwayman bedecked in full leather, cowboy hat and knee high boots.
Surrounded by an excellent band that included two drummers to fully embrace Ant’s almost African style drumming that must have in itself inspired such acts as Bastille and Imagine Dragons years later, it was one of those evenings that helped to remind you that for a brief moment in time Ant was a pop genius and, to his credit, Adam has fully embraced his singles in this career retrospective, that has all the peaks and troughs of the last thirty years or so.
Adam sang with real gusto and looked as though he was having the time of his life as he treated his loyal fan base to a set that included 22 songs and a 3 song encore that even had Boy George on his feet whooping with delight in the seats near the stage. Finishing the main set with ‘Goody Two Shoes’ and ‘Stand And Deliver’ almost made me wish he followed the example of Elvis and didn’t encore as surely that euphoric finish was enough to satisfy even the meanest of critics.
Try to see Adam Ant on stage while he tours his singles and look forward to the inevitable invite to whip up the Glastonbury Sunday afternoon crowd soon. For we must never forget the unquestionable place Stuart Goddard has in the hearts and record collections of so many and his perfect pop punk rock deserves to find a new younger ear!
Set List: ‘Beat My Guest’, ‘Vive Le Rock’, ‘Dog Eat Dog’, ‘Apollo 9’, ‘Friend or Foe’, ‘Ant Music’, ‘Room At The Top’, ‘Desperate’, ‘Car Trouble’, ‘Zerox’, ‘Young Parisians’, ‘Prince Charming’, ‘Gotta Be A Sin’, ‘Puss n Boots’, ‘Can’t Set Rules’, ‘Wonderful’, ‘Strip’, ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’, ‘Greta X’, ‘B Side Baby’, ‘Goody Two Shoes’, ‘Stand & Deliver’. Encores: ‘Lady’/’Fall In’, ‘Red Scab’, ‘Physical’.