This was my 4th Adam Ant concert and it could and should have been perfect. When I saw my first Ant live gig in 2010, Adam was still fighting his personal demons and seemed somewhat unstable. It made for an uneven gig with lots of interruptions.
In 2014 I saw him two nights in a row when he played the entire "Dirk Wears White Søx" album. It was a near perfect experience with some fascinating uncontrolled punk aggression from Adam, combined with a great band and also great sound in a rather intimate venue.
I somehow managed to miss seeing the "Kings of the Wild Frontier" tour, so I hoped that this last 2017 gig on the "Anthems: The Singles"" tour, would make up for that mistake. A nice mix of hits, b-sides and rarities played by his brilliant band, complete with 2 drummers, 2 guitarists, and a bassist, and what should have meant a massive Ant sound. The concrete bunker that is called the Roundhouse didn't cooperate though. It turned the drums into uncontrolled thunder from all directions and the guitars and bass sounded strangely weak.
Adam's singing sounded okay though, often helped by the enthusiastic crowd singing along, and he has donned a way more show minded attitude since I first saw him back in 2010. It's a professional rock show now, that runs according to a plan, but there's still time for funny anecdotes and song introductions. Adam looks to be in perfect form and he dances around and makes his funny moves and seems to be enjoying himself up there.
"I want those who get to know me
To become admirers or my enemies..."
It's hard to say if the crowd in the sold-out venue preferred hits or rarities. I think most of us Ant-people were ready for all of it. Some of my personal highlights were "Cartrouble" and "Zerøx" that brought back great memories from 2014, and a great "Friend or Foe". Several b-sides were highlights as well. Opener "Beat My Guest", "Red Scab" and "B-Side Baby" just to name a few of the best. Obviously the songs "Dog Eat Dog" and "Kings of the Wild Frontier" got the crowd jumping and dancing around. Top hit and sing-along of the evening was easily an extended "Prince Charming" that ended with Adam on guitar, and a guitarist and the bassist joining in on drums on both sides of him.
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of
Don't you ever
Don't you ever
Stop being dandy
Showing me you're handsome"
It's a shame that what could have been a perfect evening had to suffer somewhat from the terrible acoustics at the Roundhouse. I moved from upfront to the back halfway thru the gig, but the sound was just as bad from the back of the floor as it was upfront. If nothing else it made me want to see Adam and his band again, but next time it has to be at a much better venue. Rumor has it that he has a finished new album ready, it is however uncertain when it will get released. Here's hope it happens in 2018.
The show ended with a very long version of "Physical" and Adam wished us all a merry x-mas and we went out into the London night with the Ant sound ringing in our ears. It had been a long day with lots of travel, but it was great to meet my old friends John and Darren, and it was great to see Adam live again, even with the crappy acoustics.
Beat My Guest, Vive Le Rock, Dog Eat Dog, Apollo 9, Friend or Foe, Antmusic, Room at the Top, Desperate But Not Serious, Cartrouble, Zerøx, Young Parisians, Prince Charming, Gotta Be a Sin, Puss 'n Boots, Can't Set Rules About Love, Christian D'or, Strip, Kings of the Wild Frontier, Greta X, B-Side Baby, Stand and Deliver.