On a night in Nottingham where there is much competition for gig goers attention and cash with Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze and Def Leppard both in town you could be mistaken for thinking Adam Ant would have a lot to prove at his Rock City gig.
There is a sense of anticipation in the air ( or should that be Ant-icipation?) as the rumour doing the rounds are that Adam is back at the top of his game. Suspense is built further as Adam opens the show as a shadowy figure peering through the dry ice. The spotlights reveal Adam resplendent in pirate attire and he is greeted with screams from the assembled throng, and rightly so as he seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to Captain Jack Sparrow. So far so good.
The opening song, Plastic Surgery, is a nod back to the early Ant years and as the gig progresses it is clear that this gig has something to offer everyone as the setlist is as diverse as the crowd and along with Deutscher Girls and Whip in my Valise there are plenty of tracks to satisfy the old punks in the crowd of which there are many. There is also something for the more recent Ant convert as he also gives us a taster of Vince Taylor from his forthcoming CD – Adam Ant is the Blueback Hussar in Marrying the Gunners Daughter ( I may resort to just asking for ‘the new Adam Ant CD’ when I buy it as Ill never remember the name!)
Iconic Eighties tracks Stand and Deliver, Puss in Boots and Kings of the Wild Frontier are played in quick succession to a rapturous reception from the audience. They are loving every nostalgic minute of this and by the look of it so is Adam.
Underated lyrics such as, “Subtle Innuendo follows, must be something inside” show an intoxicating mixture of cheekiness and humour; a style that some some artists that have followed in his wake have made a career out of . The song it belongs to Goody Two Shoes has the crowd bouncing around and shouting along and it starts to dawn on you just how many hits this man has had and just while you are contemplating this the unmistakable drumbeat intro to Antmusic fills the air.
With a more punky Edge to the old classics, 21st Century Adam is grittier, more stripped down and more energised than the polished pop performer that the eighties presented us with, and this is all for the better.
The pace is slowed by the introduction of Wonderful which according to Adam “Is the only love song I ever wrote..so Id better take my glasses off incase I start bawling” and you tend to believe him as an emotional rendition follows.
There’s no lengthy banter between songs but you sense a connection or spark between Ant and audience as he rips off his wrist wear and throws them to the front row. The girl on the receiving end goes into mild hysteria at her pirate treasures.
The night is brought to a triumphant finale with old favourite Prince Charming which has most of the crowd doing their best Diana Dors impression as the whole of Rock City (or so it seems) thrust their arms skywards. The euphoric atmosphere continues as a fantastic rendition of T-Rex’s Get it On follows.
“That music lost its taste so try another flavour” -Antmusic could be a war cry to modern day pop stars as tonight he is taking on all comers and giving a masterclass on how it’s done.
The rumours are true. The Ant is back !!!