Adam Ant triumphant tour – live review from Liverpool

Adam Ant
Liverpool O2 Acadamey
28th May 2011

Approached this gig with a huge amount of trepidation, from the obvious ‘will he turn up?’ to the questions concerning quite what we could expect to see and hear.
During early pre tour press Adam Ant himself raised the question of just who his audience would be ”“ a lot of questions, would the gigs answer any of them?

My own links to Adam Ant go back a long way – prior to his international success in the early 80’s ”“ I had initially heard his material, no doubt on John Peel, and had then seen him play at Eric’s, Liverpool; I had also seen him on the Kings Of The Wild Frontier tour in late1980, the album tour that catapulted him to the top of the charts ”“ indeed I had held a ticket for a gig at Eric’s that was subsequently moved to the much larger Royal Court. I well recall the gig, the odd mix of attendees, those new to the Ants, there as they had bought the ”ËœKings’ album and the faithful ”ËœAnt Warriors’ that loose but instantly identifiable collective of Ants fans who had been there from the start; each group nervously eying the other but all there for the same purpose.

We are all aware what happened next, Adam and Co. with their distinctive and highly original sound rode the wave to top charts across the globe, selling literally millions of records along the way, becoming instantly recognisable, even appearing at a Royal Variety Performance; and arguably becoming a cartoon character of his own making which alienated his initial fan base; as such Adam was left with a fan base fickle to the ways of pop which as we all know tends to drop its stars when they no longer shine quite so brightly.
And what a drop”¦ It was a one point reported in the press that his ”ËœBest Of’ collection released in 1986 had sold less than 2000 copies; then came the more concerning bouts of mental illness which ultimately led to his well publisised incident in a London pub when he brandished a firearm ”“ the result of all this being at least two periods held under the Mental Health Act.

After a few tentative low-key gigs at the back end of 2010 Adam Ant was booked to appear at The Rebellion Festival much to the delight of thousands who had already bought their tickets. Within a week of the announcement came a further announcement; Adam had pulled the gig ”“ no further explanation was offered. Then a matter of days later a UK tour was announced, perhaps a dozen dates, the majority at venues holding up to 1000 people. Tickets were snapped up and we then waited patiently for the gigs.

Interesting crowd at Liverpool O2 Academy, a few faces from the initial Eric’s punk scene, so it was a bit of a social gathering also, a smattering of Goths, however the majority of the sold out crowd looked no different to the shoppers in Liverpool that afternoon ”“ lots of conversation as to quite what Adam and the interestingly monikered The Good, The Mad and The Lovely Posse would play, a few present had already seen at least one of the preceding gigs, so we had a few clues

And then Adam Ant strode out onto a Liverpool stage for the first time in over 20yrs, and stood before a ”ËœAnt Music For Sex People’ backdrop to be greeted with rapturous applause, before launching into a set drawing from both his pre and during fame period. Adam was resplendent in his military jacket and tricolour hat adorned with feathers, he strode the stage clearly enjoying himself completing four tracks before finally introducing himself and enquiring if anyone recalled Eric’s; a few voices were heard ”“ and it was these voices that demonstrated the difference in not just the crowd, but the songs Adam chose to play. The set was effectively material drawn from ”ËœDirk Wears White Sox’, so we got Xerox, Cartrouble, Cleopatra etc; however each track was followed by material from ”ËœKings Of The Wild Frontier’ and beyond ”“ The GM&L Posse were able to provide more depth, and vibrancy to the ”ËœDirk’ period material and also offer faithful renditions of the ”ËœKings’ and beyond material, however it was the crowd who seemed confused clearly the Dirk era fans loved what they were hearing however many others just seemed lost waiting for the next hit to be played which when it came was greeted by a full sing-a-long, and perhaps the most genteel of mosh-pits ever seen!

Adam himself demonstrated quite why he was able to reach the upper echelons of pop stardom; he is a born showman; he easily connected with his audience, literally had them eating out of his hand with amusing banter regarding being dropped by Sony due to ”Ëœcreepy lyrics’ ”“ this however seemed to wash over the majority who clearly only heard him shout ”ËœStand and deliver, your money, or your life’

Myself, I was delighted ”“ this was like being transported back to Eric’s (without the smell of piss) and hearing all your favourite songs all over again, however this time it was through a decent PA, Adam himself exudes energy and perhaps most importantly self deprecating good humour, taking time to introduce the GM&L Posse, taking time to acknowledge himself as ”ËœThe Mad’ before removing his jacket and shirt to reveal and Adam Ant tour T-shirt; well he always was a master at self promotion!

Is it worth taking the time to describe each song? ”“ not really the vast majority of LTW readers will be all to familiar with everything Adam in his various guises has offered; all that is needed is to know that Adam Ant has clearly overcome his own inner demons, he has faced his critics ”“ he referenced them tonight for accussing him of “selling out”, and has effortlessly defied them. This was a magnificent performance from ”ËœDeutscher Girls’ and ”ËœPlastic Surgery’ to ”ËœPress Darlings’ and ”ËœKings Of The Wild Frontier’ ”“ we even got a version of ”ËœY.M.C.A’ with letters being replaced by ”ËœA.N.T.S’!

Adam finished the set stripped to the waist (still pretty trim for a man aged 56) clearly exhausted ”“ he had offered himself to an unknown audience, I guess fearful of the reaction he would get.

Both Adam and audience had their questions answered”¦ well nearly; for what does Adam Ant do now? We want more, does he want to provide?

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


  1. Fantastic! So pleased it went well for him. There will always be the critics – those who accuse you of selling out but fuck em! They were queuing up to slag off Peter Hook but at the end of the day those early ant tunes were great and there are a lot of people that didn’t get the chance to hear them live, likewise with the Joy Division stuff Hooky has brought back. More power to your elbow Adam! Can’t wait to catch you myself, hope Young Parisians is on the set list!!!

  2. Nice write up. We saw Adam at Holmfirth Picturedrome last night. It was such good fun! I’m please to report that the majority of the Holmfirth audience were singing along (pretty loudly) with all the tunes Adam and his Posse performed, both Dirk & Frontier periods. They gave us a great night out.

  3. I think we all want Adam Ant to continue having success. However, in order for him to do this we have to like and buy his new records. We need to make sure we move on from all the reminiscing, so we can save him from becoming simply another ‘nostalgia’ act.

    What was the new material like, Phil?


  4. There would be No point him Playing new Material until ha has his new Release out, nobody would know it.

  5. […] First night of the tour review Here, Liverpool review Here […]

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