(Photos by Yafi Yair)

I never thought I’d be writing about an Adam Ant concert in 2012. The British new wave star hasn’t released an album since 1995, and for a while, the only press he received was negative, having been hospitalized for some much-publicized mental health issues in the early 2000s. But a one-off comeback performance in 2006 has led to renewed interest in his music. After two years of touring his native England and the surrounding U.K., he’s finally made it to our shores, performing his only South Florida date Friday at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.

Kudos to Adam’s tour manager and the Seminole Casino marketing department for arranging literally the best seats in the house for my wife and I. We were positioned front row, dead center, so that we could see every bead of sweat drip from Adam’s expressive face. He was, of course, overdressed for the evening, if you’ve seen clips of his recent tour getup: black jeans, a feathered pirate hat, a gold-and-black vest, meretricious rings on every finger of his right hand, dangling tassels. His ensemble looked like it came out of a bag marked “pirate” in the local Halloween costume shop, albeit a high-end costume shop, and newly acclimated fans might have wondered why the man was dressed like Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” (Ant’s pirate couture, of course, predated the revival of swashbuckle culture by decades).

Ant proved to be a theatrical performer as well as a theatrical dresser, mugging for cameras, prancing about the stage, gyrating into positions somewhere in the ballpark of salacious. But his band, for the most part, appeared to be going through the motions as unceremoniously as factory workers. I was disappointed in backup singer/dancer Georgina Baillie, who dressed in progressively skimpier attire throughout the evening but always looked uncomfortable in it. Furthermore, she had no chemistry with Adam, even during all those songs about stripping, S&M, and casual sex that made Adam such a scandalous rock star in the ‘80s.

The set list showcased an eclectic mix of hits and B-sides, taken largely from his most artistically fruitful period of 1979 to 1981. This was a nostalgia show, to be sure – Adam played only one song from next year’s comeback album, the mouthful “Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter,” and even that song sounded retro. But hardly anyone could complain about the checklist of chart-toppers here, from “Dog Eat Dog” and “Antmusic” to “Goody Two Shoes” (the highlight of the show for me) and “Wonderful.” If the best performances of the night went to faster, punkier cuts like “Car Trouble,” “Zerox” and “Kings of the Wild Frontier,” it’s probably because these songs are still his most relevant; they could just as easily score on alternative-rock radio today.

Adam probably wasn’t as agile onstage as he used to be, but at 57, who is? His signature yodel resounded powerfully through the excellent acoustics of the casino’s Pavilion concert venue, and he still hit most of the high notes. There seemed to be a problem during the chorus of “Strip” – either one or more players were performing off-key (or playing another song entirely!), or Adam’s new adaptation of the song butchered it for me. For the most part, it was terrific to hear these tracks live, and I still can’t get them out of my head.

SET LIST:

PLASTIC SURGERY

DOG EAT DOG

BEAT MY GUEST

KICK

CAR TROUBLE

ANTS INVASION

DEUTCHER GIRLS

STAND AND DELIVER

ROOM AT THE TOP

KINGS OF THE WILD FRONTIER

WONDERFUL

WHIP IN MY VALISE

VINCE TAYLOR

STRIP

DESPERATE NOT SERIOUS

CLEOPATRA

NEVER TRUST A MAN

ZEROX

ANTMUSIC

GOODY TWO SHOES

VIVE LE ROCK

CHRISTIAN D’OR

LADY/FALL IN

ENCORE:

FAT FUN

RED SCAB

PRINCE CHARMING

GET IT ON / 20THCENTURY BOY

PHYSICAL