Liam Rudden: Turn that racket down

Adam Ant on stage

Adam Ant on stage

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STAND and deliver, the concert of your life. Well, not quite. Adam Ant sashayed onto the stage of the Playhouse last weekend, ever the Dandy Highwayman even at the grand old age of 62. He doesn’t look it.

To be honest, these days Stuart Leslie Goddard has more of a Captain Jack Sparrow thing going on. From the reaction he got in the Capital, his fans approve.

With the stalls and grand circle of the 3000-seater fairly packed, there was a lot of love out there for the singer who scored hits with the likes of Ant Music, Goody Two Shoes, Prince Charming and Young Parisians.

Considering a recent 80s gig at the venue featuring Toyah, China Crisis, Paul Young, and Martika could only temp a few hundred through the doors it was surprising to see just how big an attraction the King of the Wild Frontier remains.

Opening with the booming strains of Bizet’s Toreador from the opera Carmen may have been a incongruous start but it certainly had the desired effect, stirring expectations.

And then, there he was, wide brimmed hat firmly on head pointy dark beard and black locks. Looking exactly as Adam Ant should.

It reminded me of the time I went to see Nana Mouskouri. She appeared on stage, trademark straight black hair and big glasses, looking as she had for the past 40 odd years.

Later, popping back to say hello, I nearly walked past her.

Without wig and glasses, here was a lovely charming elderly lady. Her transformation for the stage, to project the image the audience expected, had been quite astounding.

As similar thing happened when meeting Carry On and EastEnders favourite Barbara Windsor prior to a performance of Guys and Dolls.

Without her wig in place she looked quite different. Again, I would have walked past her in the street.

Which had me wondering about Adam. Were those dark flowing locks his own? Or were they attached to the hat which never left his head?

And were he to pop into the Theatre Royal after the gig without his stage gear, would anyone clock him?

After all, Pet Shop Boys famously went home on the Tube after performing at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics and no one recognised them.

Sadly, the gig itself didn’t live up to the promise the appearance of Adam Ant had suggested it might - he may have looked the same but the songs sounded very different.

Sound issues - mainly that everything was too loud - ruined the performance. Yes, I’m sounding old, but when a concert is so loud that people leave and the singer has to have an enforced break while an overheating sound system is powered-down, there’s something not right.

Maybe the barrage of noise had something to with the fact there were four drummers at times, or maybe the sound levels just hadn’t been set properly - the Playhouse is a famously difficult venue for sound engineers to crack.

That said, Adam himself oozed charisma and by the time his best known anthem came around, the audience were more than happy to sing along and Stand and Deliver the chorus themselves.