Review: Adam Ant, Anthems tour, Ipswich Regent, May 22

Adam Ant, who wowed a packed Ipswich Regent. Photo: Geoffrey Smith

Adam Ant, who wowed a packed Ipswich Regent. Photo: Geoffrey Smith - Credit: Archant

Ant is one of the most under-appreciated pop icons this country has produced over the past 40 years or so.

Adam Ant at the Ipswich Regent. Photo: Elliot Furniss

Adam Ant at the Ipswich Regent. Photo: Elliot Furniss - Credit: Archant

Admittedly many of those in the seemingly sold-out Regent on Monday would have been able to knowledgeably extol his talents and virtues, but even the most casual of pop connoisseurs would have to put him up there with the most memorable stars of the 1980s.

With a track record of exhilarating and flamboyant live shows, he showed no sign of slowing down - apart from a brief tumble that “didn’t hurt, honest” - as he brought the Anthems - The Singles tour to Ipswich.

It was a surprisingly raucous night, so much so that I was inspired to leave the sanctity of our box and enter the auditorium with the adoring, piratical masses; a mild moment of rebellion befitting the tone of the occasion.

To be fair, it was encouraged by the man, clad entirely in black, on the stage.

Looking far younger than his years, and moving much more excitedly than the average 62-year-old, the grand duke of pop urged the crowd to get up and join in the pirate party that seemed to be unfolding.

The set was filled with tracks from the star’s peak years, both with backing band The Ants and his solo back catalogue.

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The big hits - Prince Charming, Stand and Deliver, Antmusic - were given added power by the star’s belting band, complete with two pedestal-topping drummers.

Tracks such as Friend or Foe, Room at the Top, Young Parisians and Goody Two Shoes brought back memories for many.

I personally recall my older brother playing Apollo 9 as part of a compilation cassette he’d acquired - maybe a Kid Jensen’s Chartbusters tape, free with tokens from Smiths Crisps? That’s the era you head back to with Ant. The heyday of Radio 1, Top of the Pops and a time when well-crafted three-minute tracks and outrageous outfits were a recipe for instant stardom.

His famous white-striped face may not be plastered over the walls of many teenagers’ rooms these days, but he can still put on a great night of pounding pop.

Elliot Furniss

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