So Adam Ant is back – still or, again- this time with his band The Good, The Mad and the Lovely Posse. In his heyday, Ant – real name Stuart Goddard- was a very subversive kind of pop star, a British “pop glam-tinged” star. He began by riding that (new) wave of post punk in the late 70’s with Adam and the Ants; his glamour and flair for performance staying with him throughout his various solo forays with alternative rock and pop.  With a few intermittent gaps (alongside much publicised issues with his mental health), his career spans 36 years.

He returned to the touring circuit in 2011. In this, his ‘Blueblack Hussar Tour’, he’s covering 22 UK cities in anticipation of the release of his upcoming album ‘Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter.  He’s been writing this album for two years and is, according to Ant a “very old fashioned, old school, step-by-step album”.

Standing here at the Ritz, the crowd look like they have waited 30 years to see him perform live again. There is a palpable sense of excitement in the air. It is safe to say we are a crowd who don’t often venture out on a Sunday evening. The fan-club forums have seen to it that this gig is sold out.  The Ritz feels like an appropriate venue for him with its grubby history and dancehall charm.

The set list is an array of old classics, some B sides, some from his 90’s albums and new tracks that we’ve never heard before.

The ‘Posse’ (average age 25) are very rock with two drum kits for extra impact. Ant is dressed as a hybrid of Lord Nelson and Captain Jack Sparrow, with a feather in his hat and heavy-rimmed glasses as an addition. ‘Press Darlings’ and ‘Dog Eat Dog’ are the punchy and loud openers. The drum-heaviness and rock volume set the tone for the rest of the evening. His vocals are strong and bang-on key. The crowd are beside themselves with nostalgia when his first big hit of the evening opens, ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’. We get a real blast of punk here with the on-going drumming backbeat .

He romps through his set at high speed with the sensitive adult pop of 1995’s ‘Wonderful’, ‘Dirk Wears White Sox’, the humorously naughty ‘Lady’, and the jerky, off kilter rhythms and staccato guitar lines of ‘Zerox’.

The crowd loyally engage with him as he relays to us his new tracks including ‘Vince Taylor’ and ‘Cool Zombie’ which, I’m afraid, are slightly lacklustre rock tunes.

The band, as you would expect, are very energetic. Alas, Mr Ant does not match their energy (who would at 58, other than Mick Jagger?). He’s a little bit static and staid this evening. Even with the raw, snarling ‘Plastic Surgery’ with its doom-laden bass note intro which calls for some physical response. Instead the band and crowd carry the vigour, with Ant’s vocals to accompany them.

For ‘Antmusic’ and ‘Stand and Deliver’ the driving beat and chanting melody perks him up a little and he makes a few attempts to leap across the stage. Throughout I am willing him to show us flashes of the agile and charismatic young man he once was, but it never really comes.

They power on for 2 hours and 28 songs and after the first hour, I want to encourage him to have a sit down and a cup of tea before doing himself a mischief.

To be fair, what he lacks in agility and movement he makes up for in vocal quality.  His voice has not waned much over the years- the shrieks, chants and yodels still pierce the room.  If you closed your eyes, it would almost sound like the gig you wanted it to be.  But we were never going to be transported back to 1983.

‘Prince Charming’ is the fourth song in the encore and the last song- my favourite of his classics. But by now even the crowd are a little fatigued and are less enthusiastic about the accompanying actions.

It was certainly an entertaining evening. Adam Ant, his music, his costumes, his performances are ingrained in British music heritage. Confirmed by the enthusiastic lady stood next to us, he is still a well-loved gent and his lifelong fans are glad that he is back on the road so they can relive their fond memories.