I never thought I would see Adam Ant on the road again. But here he was on Monday night playing Glasgow’s O2 Academy with a line up known as “The good the mad and the loveley posse” (with ‘the mad’ referring to himself with his mental health issues). I actually found myself blown away by how good this concert was, simply one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen, and I’ve found it difficult to put into words why, perhaps it is the concert that I grew up listening to in my head.
The opening song “Plastic Surgery” starts slow with sustained chords and drums but then suddenly takes off to a frantic pace (around 2:10 in this good quality video from the Glasgow gig). The next five songs came so fast I couldn’t take my eyes of the TWO drummers who must have been exhausted already, but the pace didn’t let up through – Dog Eat Dog, Beat My Guest, Kick, Cartrouble, Zerox … then Adam was joined on stage by two dancers / backing singers for Deutscher Girls, then Stand and Deliver, and so on
It was around this point that I started to actually notice what was going on. There wasn’t new material (though apparently there is a CD ready for release), also this wasn’t exactly a retrospective of hits but rather it felt like a back to the roots kind of set. Adam wasn’t going through the motions by trotting out the big hits but was playing mostly early tracks from the punk days and B-sides. Some songs were slightly re-interpreted but mostly they were having fun and it showed. They even played a YMCA spoof called ANTS which was released as a ‘flexi-disk’ 7″ single mounted to the cover of ‘Flexidisk’ magazine (I know because I had it!)
The first gig I ever went to was Adam and the Ants “Prince Charming Review” at the legendary Glasgow Apollo in 1982. I was about 15 and hooked up with my first real girlfriend during the interval. Yes there was an interval in a music concert – mainly to give time for the stage to be re-set and Adam to change persona from Pirate to Prince Charming.
However, even though I first discovered Adam and the Ants from their Kings of the Wild Frontier phase withAntmusic, Dog eat Dog, and Kings dominating the charts in ’80, ’81 I then went back to the earlier line up of Ants for the ’79 LP Dirk Wears White Sox. This opened up a different world for me, instead of listening to the Sunday night Radio 1 chart count down I started discovering music for myself.
Adam Ant was involved in the beginnings of the early Punk rock scene in London in the late 70s, I came to know the Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Roxy Music, The Clash, etc. through finding out about Adam Ant. Monday’s concert was how I imagined those early concerts might have been, rebellious, singing songs that Radio 1 would have banned. The sound was very heavy, with screaming guitar and the inescapable roar of two drummers thudding through your chest as much as your ears. A fantastic night and a trip back to my childhood (in a good way).