REVIEW: Adam Ant, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

Adam Ant.
Adam Ant.
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No matter where you are in the world, slap a line of white paint across your nose and you can walk into any fancy dress party and instantly be recognised as Adam Ant.

There are few artists with that instantly recognisable look and, in the case of Mr Ant, there are few who can boast such a repertoire of instantly recognisable pop classics.

But had the years dimmed the flamboyant light of the dashingly handsome Prince Charming?

Well, the fans who lapped up the opening night of the Dandy Highwayman's Anthems tour in Newcastle certainly suggested the 62-year-old could still, ahem, stand and deliver.

He may have lost the white stripe across his mush and swapped his pirate hat for an oversize straw boater, but Adam Ant has lost none of his swagger or, indeed, his vocal strength.

The last time I had the pleasure of an Adam Ant performance was when he played the Newcastle City Hall in 1981. The show sold out in a then-record 48 minutes (or so us school kids were told) and the star, riding atop the crest of a new romantic wave was the toast of Popdom.

His performance then was a whirlwind of raucous abandon in front of an audience of swooning teens jumping up and down on the redundant seating. Fast forward 36 years and the whirlwind has been replaced by some nifty jigs from the Antmeister and an audience happy to park their ageing backsides on the seats.

That said, when the classics started up, the fans were quick to respond.

The early introduction of Antmusic with its familiar clackety clicking drumstick intro had the crowd up and dancing.

And fair play to many of the fans who got into the spirit of the evening by turning up in Adam Ant costume. There were a few white striped faces, Hussar's military jackets and ribbons in the hair.

But if they were expecting a full-on fun Eighties retro night, Adam wasn't playing.

Yes, he romped through the major numbers including Stand and Deliver, Goody Two Shoes and Kings of the Wild Frontier, but he wasn't camping it up or playing for laughs.

Prince Charming, that Eighties party favourite, was performed with gusto but without the infamous crossed arm synchronised march across the stage. What a missed opportunity! C'mon Adam, ridicule is nothing to be scared of.

He was also lacking in banter. Adam Ant spent much of the early Eighties at the top of the pop pile, but not a single anecdote or even reference to his golden years was made. Ah well, guess you can't have everything. Just the music.

And to be fair there were was plenty of good music to be had - pick of the rest for me were Cartrouble, Dog Eat Dog and Young Parisians - albeit the sound was a touch on the quite side.

A good night, but with a bit more banter and a boost to the volume - it could have been even dandier.