News Item : London Evening Standard: Night Of Fear
Forget the X Factor with Simon Cowell; this was the hex factor with Alice Cooper.
The rock legend’s gloriously non-PC Halloween Night of Fear, which is at the Roundhouse again tonight, is such a success that it ought to be made into an annual residency.
It helps, of course, that Cooper and Halloween have much in common: both are big in the States and neither are to be taken too seriously.
However, during the course of his two-hour set, the artist formerly known as Vincent Damon Furnier was everything a frontman should be – and more.
This included treating the crowd, which included The Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding and Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp, to sado-masochistic shenanigans and more costume changes than an evening with Lady Gaga.
Opening with his classic 1972 anthem School’s Out, Cooper was backed by a thundering four-piece band. The audience, many of whom were rivalling the singer in the dressing up stakes, sang its rebellious chorus back to him, while he jabbed his cane menacingly into the air. It was hard to believe it was a Sunday evening.
Cooper’s serrated rasp of a voice was still strong enough to carry I’m 18 (he’s actually 62, but who’s counting?) while guitars were suitably cranked for the hard-rock highlight Poison.
Meanwhile, Cooper was being terrorised by a posse of masked impostors, who were seemingly intent on killing him in as many ways as possible. He was beheaded, hanged, whipped and impaled – but miraculously managed to resurrect himself before the start of each new song.
A limited menu of riff-based rock wouldn’t have been to everyone’s tastes, but within this template Cooper has crafted fist-pumping choruses that are perfect for live performance.
Backstage world of iced tea and comfy sofa with Alice Cooper
By Alistair Foster
Backstage with Alice Cooper, there is a serene atmosphere.
The 62-year-old requires a cheeseboard, iced tea and vitamin water as he relaxes on a sofa reading the Sunday Times.
I had been promised a part in last night’s show and caught a glimpse of the rocker that is rarely seen.
The door to Alice’s dressing room is covered in signs which warn “absolutely no smoking”. Inside, the singer, real name Vincent Furnier, was clutching a huge can of AriZona iced tea — the health drink that is all the rage in Hollywood.
“You guys don’t have AriZona here yet so we had to bring it with us,” he told me. “I’ve got four cases here. It’s great as there’s nothing in it — no calories, no caffeine, no nothing.”
His wife of 34 years Sheryl Goddard sat nearby. There was a distinct lack of the more traditional staples such as groupies and Jack Daniel’s.
So how does he prepare and get into character? “Well, this is it,” he explained. “Twenty minutes before the show I will start doing my own make-up, the curtain raises and I become Alice. The second the show finishes, I will come back here and switch right back off. I’ll turn to my wife and be like, ‘Now what was I saying?’ ”
I spend the next 20 minutes in make-up, where I am turned into a ghoul with some stomach-churning wounds on my face.
Told to make sure I was at the side of the stage for the encore, my job was to help throw huge balloons into the audience during School’s Out, which I managed to do without falling over.
Not quite the same as getting my own guitar solo, but what better way is there to spend Halloween than sharing a stage with Alice Cooper?
By Rick Pearson
London Evening Standard
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