Adam Ant and the Good, the Mad and the Lovely Posse – 22 May – Ironworks
I left the 80s like everyone else on the 1 January 1990 and didn’t look back. I’d been there and bought the t-shirt, quite a few in fact and my favourite was always that classic by The Beat, not to mention a good few Adam and the Ants t-shirts from my early teens. Even though I left the 80s well behind, I had but one regret from that era and that was never seeing Adam Ant. The only opportunity that nearly came my way was back in January 1982 when the Ants played the Apollo in Glasgow as part of the Prince Charming Revue, but alas, my parents reckoned as having only just turned 15 the train journey with one of my mates down to the big city was not to be for me, and anyway I would have struggled to make my paper round the next morning which did pay for my large record collection. A record collection which served me well tonight.
Before Adam graced the stage we were treated to the rather surreal performance of Jesse Rae. Jesse took as back to the mid 80s, with a show consisting of a backdrop of his videos from that era, these being sandwiched between some new, if ever so suspect material. I saw Jesse back in his heyday, at the Ice Rink and also at Jings in Dingwall (now that’s a memory!), and his show with the exception of his two new Thistles is every bit the same. Jesse never had the opportunity to play these parts with his band and that continued tonight with backing tracks and the vocals of the Thistles. Jesse is a bit of a legend within Scotland, and a known figure within the industry, whose appeal never quite crossed the border, and even tonight there were a few bewildered faces in the audience. However, this didn’t put the dampers on Jesse’s enthusiasm as he cajoled the crowd, and for me anyway, Over The Sea will always be my alternative national anthem.
Adam Ant arrived on stage just after 9.45, with those assembled subjected to a the most twee of 80s music (Kelly Marie!), not really in keeping with the playlists of Ant Discos of the past. When Adam did appear the fans were still kept waiting as the band struck up the intro to Plastic Surgery as Adam stepped onto the stage to launch into the vocal. The energy of this opening song was replicated throughout. Still strutting like a peacock he held centre stage, as if he had never been away. It was clear early on that the early Ants catalogue was going to get heavy play, both from the Dirk Wears White Sox era and the b-sides associated with the singles from the Kings of the Wild Frontier.
Although concentrating on the early years Adam did play Vive Le Rock, his one song from Live Aid, and also Wonderful which came out, in his words, once the hits dried up. Even a couple of covers were thrown in for good measure, Get It On, and A.N.T.S., a reworking of Village People’s Y.M.C.A., and as popular now as it was 30 years ago. As well as his tight and talented band, Adam was aided on stage by vocalists Georgina Baillie (yes, and even Adam had a dig) and Twinkle, in their various guises throughout the night. For a band only fairly recently formed, and with a large set to cover, the outfit was remarkably slick. It was hard to believe that Adam had been away for so long as this was not the dishevelled appearance that some had concerns about and neither was it a tick the boxes, play the hits, take the money night either. This was a seamless cut and paste of everything that was good about the Ants, condensing a career into just under 2 hours. Not bad for a man of 56, so he tells us.
When the night drew to a close, just before midnight, to the final strains of (Your So) Physical, Adam couldn’t resist tearing of his t-shirt and throwing it into the crowd, and at that point some of the ladies (can’t really call them girls now) realised that it wasn’t 1982. But, Adam is back, and if his new material has the energy and drive of tonight’s performance, then who know where he could go from here. If he hit the bottom, he certainly is on the way up again.
So, in a year that has so far seen top up and coming acts, award winners, and established acts come to Inverness, was this then the gig of the year so far? No, I think it was even better than that….
by Frankie Boy