Picture Book & Live Review: Adam Ant @ Center Stage

[ 0 ] August 7, 2013 |

Adam Ant (1)

Photos by Hillery Terenzi

Review by Rosie Judd

This was a night several people had been waiting for. The pirates lined up early and eagerly waiting to get in to see their favorite Hussar strut across the stage. When the lights went down for the opening act, there was an excitement in the air that I hadn’t felt in a long time. This audience was ready for this show. They wanted to dance the night away and get swept off their feet. Prima Donna took the stage and delivered an intense 30 minute set of some of the best new power pop I’ve heard in a long time. This LA band manages to deftly blend garage-rock influences with more melodic pop tendencies that make an audience dance and bob along, regardless of the fact that most of them didn’t know a single song. I rarely get so impressed by an opening act’s ability to pull in and perfectly set the mood for an audience. The bluesy “Bless This Mess” had the women swaying and the men bobbing right along with every “oooh” and “aaah.” I was honestly sorry that they only had 30 minutes. I would have gladly listened to a full set from these energetic young men.

By the time the lights went down and the overture came up, the audience was more than ready for the man of the hour. I can’t tell you how many women were there I overheard mentioning “I saw him in high school” and “I’ve been looking forward to this night for MONTHS.” I don’t know about them, but I was definitely not disappointed in the show that we got from Adam Ant last night. He swaggered onto the stage in all his piratey glory and tore into a high-energy set that opened with the new song “Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter.” The set blended new songs seamlessly with the classics and even if the crowd wasn’t familiar with the new material, they were entertained enough to dance along. The two drummers kept everything moving along at such a pace that it was hard to tell that they were blasting through a robust set list in a relatively short amount of time. The 29 song set list was also packed full of fan favorites, and it was surprising to see Stand and Deliver so high up in the set, but it didn’t seem to disappoint the audience at all.

All of the new songs were interspersed within the first half of the set, leaving the second half for crowd favorites and older tracks. The swagger and the voice delivered a beautiful performance on Wonderful and Cleopatra, two of the absolute highlights of the set for me. Cleopatra always struck me as a Roxy Music/70’s glam tribute song, so I was very pleased to hear it included. The crowd was in high form by the time he tore into Goody Two Shoes, Car Trouble and Prince Charming. The crowd singalongs for all of the “oohs” and “aahs” throughout the night reached a new height with Prince Charming and created a perfect ending to the main set. The Encore was likewise jam-packed with fun, kicking off with Press Darlings and moving through a medley of Lady/Fall-In. The highlight came with the cover of T. Rex’s Bang A Gong. Now, I usually find Marc Bolan covers lacking, but Adam Ant is one of the few that can pull off the true emotion of that song and it not come off as trite or phony. By the time they wrapped up with Physical (You’re So), the swashbucklers were swooning and the bros were high-fiving to a night of fun, energetic songs performed beautifully and confidently.

He didn’t take much time for stage banter, but he didn’t need too. The show was all about the music and the voice. His 4-piece band, The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse provided the perfect backdrop to Ant’s persona. For so flamboyant a dresser, I think some expected more from Ant, but I think the beauty of his performance has always been his seeming detachment from it all. The casual swaggering, the dismissive gesturing, mike twirling and the vested pirate look all combine to create a charismatic performer that is able to deliver a solid performance to his fans. I also get the feeling that Ant could care less if you don’t like it. It’s just what he is. It’s worked for the last 30 years, so why change now?

Set List:

1. Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter – new
2. Dog Eat Dog
3. Beat My Guest
4. Kick!
5. Ants Invasion
6. Hardmentoughblokes – new
7. Stand and Deliver
8. Shrink – new
9. Room at the Top
10. Kings of the Wild Frontier
11. Wonderful
12. Whip In My Valise
13. Vince Taylor – new
14. Stay In The Game – new
15. Cool Zombie – new
16. Strip
17. Desperate But Not Serious
18. Cleopatra
19. Never Trust An Man (With Egg on His Face)
20. Xerox
21. Vive Le Rock
22. Antmusic
23. Goody Two Shoes
24. Car Trouble
25. Prince Charming


26. Press Darlings
27. Lady/Fall In
28. Bang A Gong (Get It On) (T. Rex cover)
29. Physical (You’re So)

Adam Ant:

Prima Donna:

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Category: Live Reviews, Picture Book

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