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Review: Adam Ant, O2 Academy Newcastle

SO you want to know if he dressed as a pirate and if he’s still expert in the art of being a dandy highwayman?

Adam Ant. Photo by Hannah Domagala

SO you want to know if he dressed as a pirate and if he’s still expert in the art of being a dandy highwayman?

The answers are: of course and without a shadow of doubt.

Adam Ant came in garlanded jacket, leather boots and billowing shirt, with a huge feather in his cap, in more ways than one. Actually, it was an epic hat and stayed resolutely on his head throughout.

Fans worried about their reprised teen dreams being dashed on this first tour for 15 years, a time spent dealing with bipolar disorder, needn’t have fretted. Still showing how to inject fantasy into a pop show, it wasn’t just a lesson in escapism, the music was pretty good too, at times plain brilliant.

Plastic Surgery kicked things off with an uproarious Stand And Deliver soon after. Two drummers hammering hell out of their skins, and Adam delivering his original style manifesto as zealously as ever.

Still cocking a snook at pop stars who have no idea what a pop star should be, he asks “what’s the point of robbery when nothing is worth taking”. Kings of the Wild Frontier follows before a throbbing Ant Music.

At first Goody Two Shoes seems underplayed, but then this song was always about subtle innuendoes. The understated shapes he threw showed even this arch melodramatist knows sometimes less is more.

A rock version of T Rex’s Get It On is more straightforwardly glamorous.

He takes us all by surprise with Prince Charming, cranking out the opening chords on his electric guitar. Half low key, with some muted arm crossing, and half full on with some of the finest stage screams since the Pixies. It’s brilliant and boasts one of the great pop lines – ‘ridicule is nothing to be scared of’, as you know. A liberating call to arms, full of imagination, fantasy and creativity, if ever there was one.

Unperturbed even by a glimpse of 56-year-old Antflesh (via a ripped off shirt), I went home, swung from my chandelier and Diana Dors turned my cat into a panther.


David Whetstone
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