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Me and some of my 13/14 year old friends were madly in love with Adam and the Ants. We would have done anything to see them. But, if you’ve read my articles about the Stray Cats and Ian Dury, you will remember that we lived in one of the most isolated cities in the world and it wasn’t really financially viable for most international artists to visit Perth.
They’re coming to Perth!
But, somehow, luck was on our side, and an Adam and the Ants concert in Perth was announced!
My friend from school, Erika, and I bought our tickets and were ready for the Ants Invasion!
The day Adam and the Ants arrived in Perth it was a school day, a Friday. I’d convinced my mother to let me have a day off school so I could go to see them arrive at the airport and hopefully meet them and get their autographs. Erika also took the day off, but I’m pretty sure that her parents didn’t know about it.
At the airport
At the airport we waited patiently for the band with other fans – mostly young girls. I started a conversation with a slightly older girl there. Her name was Maggie, and the 3 of us stood together waiting for the guys.
However, disappointment was waiting for us.
The airport, or the band’s, security decided that it was too much of a risk to walk the band through the crowd of fans. I don’t know what they thought we were capable of, but apparently they feared for Adam’s safety. We glimpsed the band through a glass partition and before we knew it, it was all over. They left via a secure exit and we didn’t even get the opportunity to breathe the same air as them.
Disappointed, we turned away and went home. But not without first exchanging phone numbers with my new friend, Maggie. I’ve written about Maggie before – she had contacts in the music/promotion industry and always knew in which hotel visiting stars were staying.
A busy weekend
So, over the course of the next 2 days that the guys were in town, we staked out the Parmelia Hotel, a 5 star hotel in Perth, waiting for the guys to come in or out so we could get their autographs and have photos with them. I wasn’t at home much that weekend. As well as waiting for them during the day, after the concert we went to the hotel and stayed in the reception lounge for half of the night hoping to see them coming or going.
The hotel staff kindly let us stay as long as we didn’t make any dramas for them.
A brilliant plan
Anyway, on the day after their arrival, Maggie and I had a brilliant idea. We decided that we would try and find out which rooms the guys were staying in.
And, how were we going to do that?
Easy. We would walk around each floor and listen at the doors for people talking inside the rooms. If we heard a British accent, we would know that we’d found someone from the band. The possibility of failure didn’t even occur to us.
So, after sneaking past reception and into the lift, we arrived on one of the floors. I don’t remember if we started on the first floor or on some other random floor, but we started listening at doors! It sounds unreal now as I write this – I was 14 years old, with a girl I’d met just the day before at the airport, listening at doors in a 5 star hotel!
But that’s exactly how it was.
Maggie took one side of the corridor and I took the other. As I listened at one of the doors, I heard a guy inside talking quite loudly. He didn’t have a British accent, he was Australian, but something made me want to knock on his door anyway. It seemed that he was talking on the phone because I couldn’t hear a second voice in the room replying to him.
I told Maggie to come to ‘my’ door and listen. She couldn’t understand why I wanted to knock on this door, the guy inside wasn’t British!
Knock knock – who’s there?
But I knocked on the door anyway. A guy answered the door. In a towel and nothing else. He asked us to come in and said he just had to finish his call and he’d be right with us! He didn’t even seem surprised to see that it was 2 girls, one of them quite young, the other a few years older, who had knocked on his door.
He finished his call. I asked him if he knew in which rooms Adam and the Ants were staying. It turned out, that he was a roadie for them! Unbelievable! Of all the doors in the hotel (and there are 284 rooms), I picked this one! And he had the room numbers of all the guys in the band!
We couldn’t believe our luck! Seriously, how does something like this happen?
He didn’t really want to give us the room numbers. Naturally. He’d be risking his job by giving us this information. But, after making us promise that we wouldn’t, under any circumstances, knock on Adam Ant’s door, he gave us the numbers. All the room numbers of all the guys in the band. Including Adam Ant’s!
So, we were set for the rest of the weekend. We decided that if we didn’t manage to meet the guys by staking out the hotel entrance, as a last resort we’d use the room numbers.
Meeting Adam and the Ants
As expected, considering the number of hours we were at the hotel that weekend, we met Adam and got his autographs (yes, plural!) and some photos with him and of him. It was impossible to have him to ourselves, as there were a lot of other fans there demanding his attention. He was a very kind and patient guy to the hoards of fans waiting for him. We saw him 2 or 3 times over the weekend and each time he was happy to stop and sign autographs and chat with us.
We’d already met some of the other guys from the band, but we hadn’t seen the guitarist, Marco Pirroni. So, using our secret room numbers, we went to his room and knocked on his door. He opened it a crack and peered out at us. We asked him if he would be so kind as to come downstairs and meet some fans. He said he would be down later. And although he kept his word, it was much, much later when we finally saw him in the foyer and got to meet him properly. Fortunately he didn’t ask us how we knew his room number!
We also wanted to meet the drummers, Chris ‘Merrick’ Hughes and Terry Lee Miall. Yes, Adam Ant has 2 drummers. So we called them on the hotel’s ‘house phone’, as we knew their room numbers and could call them directly. They answered. They also said no problem, they would come down soon. And they did. They were really nice, in fact all the guys from the band were in a great mood each time we saw them. They didn’t seem stressed at all by the number of teenage girls waiting for them at every turn. Maybe they were used to it.
And some candid photos of the guys, they were quite fun as you can see.
Of course, we also met the bass player, Gary Tibbs. I was especially excited by this because he had played with Roxy Music and, to me, that was simply class.
The concert, which was on the Sunday night, was great. I was with Maggie at the front, after exchanging my ticket with her brother who then sat with Erika. It was a seated venue, not standing, and we were in the 4th row back from the stage. But before the lights were even thinking about dimming we were standing at the front of the stage right in front of the 1st row. And right in front of Adam’s microphone. Ready for the concert!
We sang along to all the songs and stared at Adam Ant throughout the whole concert. To this 14 year old girl, he was a huge star and I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. If you’ve ever seen Adam in concert, or even watched videos of him live, you know that he has the moves. And the songs from the Kings of the Wild Frontier album, which he was singing that night, were brilliant – especially loud and live and right in front of me.
So, I have my photos, and my autographs, my concert programme (also signed by Adam Ant) and my memories (at least, the ones that remain, memories are fading as I get older) of this one weekend when I was 14 – which at the time it seemed like the most important and life changing weekend of my life. Who knows, maybe it was.
Have you had an Adam Ant experience? Tell us about it in the comments below! Send us your photos of you with Adam Ant in the Never Mind the Wrinkles Facebook Group!
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