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Adam Ant does great show for raucous crowd at NYC's Beacon Theatre

The one-time leader of Adam and the Ants performed his solo debut, 1982’s Friend Or Foe, in full at a Manhattan show on Thursday, September 19th.
 Adam Ant performed his 1982 solo album Friend Or Foe in full as well as other solo material and many Adam and the Ants hits at his show at NYC’s Beacon Theatre on Thursday, September 19th. (Photo by Fred Kuhlman)

Adam Ant performed his 1982 solo album Friend Or Foe in full as well as other solo material and many Adam and the Ants hits at his show at NYC’s Beacon Theatre on Thursday, September 19th. (Photo by Fred Kuhlman)

By John Curley

Adam Ant brought his current Friend Or Foe tour to New York City’s beautiful Beacon Theatre on Thursday night, September 19th. The tour features his 1982 solo debut Friend Or Foe performed in full for the first time as well as many hits by Adam and the Ants and other solo material.

Opening the festivities at the Beacon Theatre show were the all-female, Los Angeles-based quartet Glam Skanks. Comprised of lead vocalist Vanessa McNiel, guitarist Veronica Witkin, bassist Millie Chan and drummer Jessica Goodwin, Glam Skanks made the most of their 30 minutes onstage. They were sensational, drawing big cheers from the crowd. The band is quite visually arresting live, as McNeil is in constant motion during their performance with Witkin playing excellent guitar leads on her Flying V and the rhythm section of Chan and Goodwin providing a rock-solid foundation and great showmanship. McNiel is a magnetic frontwoman. She has terrific stage presence and a powerhouse voice. The highlight of their set was a fantastic, rocked-up cover of Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff.” The crowd gave the band a massive cheer as they took their bows at the conclusion of their set. Their forthcoming album is titled Anything In Between. Glam Skanks are a must-see band and clearly have a very bright future. They rock and know how to have fun onstage.

Following a 20-minute interval, Adam Ant and his band took the stage to thunderous cheers from the very enthusiastic crowd. Quite a few audience members in the Beacon Theatre’s orchestra section stood up as the band walked onstage and remained standing for the rest of the show. While it was an older crowd, they were really raucous and their energy level never really waned throughout the performance.

Ant’s band includes Will Crewsdon on lead guitar, A.P. Leach on rhythm guitar, Joe Holweger on bass and drummers Andy Woodard and Jola. Ant played guitar at times during the show. There were also a pair or floor tom drums on either side of the stage that Crewsdon, Leach and Holweger played at different intervals throughout the show. During the moments that the floor toms were in use, the percussion sound coming from the stage was massive. It was very effective.

To start the show, Ant, who is 64 years old, and his band performed the Friend Or Foe album in its entirety. A spirited and energetic performance of the album’s title track opened the show. Ant was all over the stage during the song, as the crowd roared in approval. The lively “Place In The Country” sustained the energy in the crowd. It was quite impressive, with all of the drums onstage in use. The crowd gave the performance a huge roar of appreciation. A rocking version of “Desperate But Not Serious” drove the crowd into a frenzy, as many in the orchestra section were dancing along to the song. Ant and the band did a false stop and then started the song again to the delight of the crowd. The performance of “Here Comes The Grump” provided a showcase for drummers Woodard and Jola as their percussion work drove the song. It received a big hand from the crowd at the end. The cover of The Doors’ “Hello, I Love You” paled in comparison to the original, but still received a nice hand from the crowd.

“Goody Two Shoes” rocked, but the lack of horns, which were so prevalent on the studio version of the song, took away the pop sheen of the tune, which was one of Ant’s most successful singles. But the crowd still gave it a big hand. The remainder of the Friend Or Foe portion of the set—“Crackpot History And The Right To Lie,” “Made Of Money,” “Cajun Twisters,” “Try This For Sighs” and “Man Called Marco”—was quite good and the crowd gave it a very enthusiastic response.

The songs by Adam and the Ants that were performed in the second half of the main set were all received very well by the crowd. A rocking version of “Dog Eat Dog” drew big cheers. The short and sharp “Kick!” got a massive roar from the audience. The showy, rocking solo song “Vive Le Rock” was quite impressive. “Antmusic,” one of the highlights of the show, got a massive reaction from the crowd. “Zerox” had some stellar work from guitarists Crewsdon and Leach. Ant introduced “Cartrouble” by telling a story about seeing a bunch of Rockers on motorcycles pass by when he was a child and riding in a car with his father. The performance of the song was driven by very propulsive percussion. The crowd loved it.

The crowd sang along in a full-throated roar to “Prince Charming,” which featured some nice work by Ant on a Les Paul guitar. The crowd-pleasing “Strip” had the crowd bopping along throughout. The big percussion sound of “Kings Of The Wild Frontier” had the crowd roaring. The propulsive rocker “Beat My Guest,” another highlight of the show, featured Ant doing a call-and-response vocal with the crowd. And the audience played along with great enthusiasm. The main set closed out with a rousing performance of one of Adam and the Ants’ signature songs, “Stand And Deliver.” The crowd sang along loudly throughout and gave the performance of the song a sustained roar as the band left the stage.

The encore began with an excellent, rocking “Press Darlings.” A very good take on “Red Scab” followed, and the crowd gave it a nice response. The show came to an end with an extended performance of “Physical (You’re So)” that had the crowd cheering long after Ant and the band had left the stage.

Ant has a solid fanbase, who enhanced the performance with their boundless enthusiasm. Quite a few members of the crowd at the Beacon Theatre show were clad in punk regalia.

Ant’s Friend Or Foe tour continues tonight with a show at the Fox Theatre in Mashantucket, CT. The remaining tour dates are:
Monday, September 23, Washington, DC, Lincoln Theatre
Wednesday, September 25, Greensboro, NC, Carolina Theatre
Friday, September 27, Atlanta, GA, Symphony Hall
Saturday, September 28, Clearwater, FL, Capitol Theatre
Sunday, September 29, Orlando, FL, Hard Rock
Tuesday, October 1, Miami, FL, The Fillmore

Adam Ant’s setlist was as follows:
Friend Or Foe section:
Friend Or Foe
Something Girls
Place In The Country
Desperate But Not Serious
Here Comes The Grump
Hello, I Love You (The Doors cover)
Goody Two Shoes
Crackpot History And The Right To Lie
Made Of Money
Cajun Twisters
Try This For Sighs
Man Called Marco

Remainder of main set:
Dog Eat Dog (Adam and the Ants song)
Kick! (Adam and the Ants song)
Vive Le Rock
Antmusic (Adam and the Ants song)
Zerox (Adam and the Ants song)
Cartrouble (Adam and the Ants song)
Ants Invasion (Adam and the Ants song)
Prince Charming (Adam and the Ants song)
Lady/Fall In (Adam and the Ants song)
Kings Of The Wild Frontier (Adam and the Ants song)
Beat My Guest (Adam and the Ants song)
Stand And Deliver (Adam and the Ants song)

Press Darlings (Adam and the Ants song)
Red Scab
Physical (You’re So) (Adam and the Ants song)