“This is a song for you young lovers out there. I was in love once. When I picked my guts up afterwards, I wrote this tiny little song, I hope you enjoy it; it’s called Wonderful.” A twisted sort of sentiment about his most mainstream song, New Wave icon and post-punk pioneer Adam Ant and The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse kicked on their 40-city North American tour in San Diego last night, at the classy Balboa Theatre. Adam Ant launched his first album in 18 years, Adam Ant is the Blueback Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter, earlier this year. Somehow last night’s show felt even more spectacular than the one I caught in San Francisco last year. Adam Ant was like a rock star possessed; perhaps more confident and somehow… joyful? At one point deep into the set, he tossed his mic stand, which landed on his bass player’s effects pedals, completely shorting them all out. One of the stage crew came out and messed with it briefly, then unplugged it and plugged him directly into his amp… the relentless onslaught of music could not be stopped, or even paused due to technical difficulties… and the near sold out crowd was perhaps treated to a more raw version of what was planned. A lot of music acts continually reinvent themselves, over and over, sometimes to the point where they become a series of completely different artists. Adam Ant is different. He is today what he was more than 30 years ago, in terms of his identity, style, and sound. He has evolved, of course, but stayed true to what he was and has always been – one of those rare artists who maybe got it perfect the first time.
New Wave revolutionary? Prince?? Pirate??? Adam Ant has adopted a multitude of roles spanning many decades… but as an icon of post-punk and early 80s music and pop culture, he still knows how to kill it on stage, which is what he did for the sold out crowd at The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco last night, tearing through a massive 28+ song set list that still left out some fan favorites. Who would have imagined when he came on the scene in the mid to late 70s that not only would he still be selling out shows, but he’d still be relevant (and, looking backward, prescient) well into his late 50’s. Truly an artist musician, Adam Ant has created a culture and world all his own, and it is definitely a fun place to visit.