Review : Review of Australian Shows
Alice Cooper at Challenge Stadium
Thus far, it had not been a good weekend for 70s American singers. But while Meat Loaf had lost the Grand Final, Alice Cooper was still very much on game.
It was a three-quarter filled Challenge Stadium, but the devotees were out in force.
Smudged makeup on their faces and proudly worn old Alice tour t-shirts were signifiers that for two hours everyone could be 18 again, even the 12 year-old sitting next to me.
The macabre family entertainment began with the lights down and Vincent Price's intro to The Black Widow.
The curtain came crashing down into the song itself and Alice Cooper was off, singing from a towering podium, fans singing back at him and punching their fists from the get-go.
Cooper descended the staircase to the stage, hauling into 2000's Brutal Planet and then '70s classics I'm Eighteen and Billion Dollar Babies, which saw Alice flinging out Dollar Bills that had been skewered on his sword.
During the Suffragette City swing of Under My Wheels he hurled his cane into the crowd – a gesture that could make someone a nice little earner on eBay, but will no doubt take pride of place in the games room.
No More Mr Nice Guy and Hey Stoopid were the kinds of sing-alongs that seemed to prove that Alice doesn't need props, but the live snake that draped around his shoulders during Is It My Body? indicated that in this world there is room for both.
Bass and drums solos are often time for a drinks break, but the rhythm section of Chuck Garric and Glen Sobel went about theirs in a dynamic call and response approach that perfectly suited the eventual rockestra of Halo Of Flies, featuring Alice 'conducting' his band.
A new leather jacket, emblazoned on the back with 'New Song' suggested that Alice knows people want to hear old hits, but the reaction to I'll Bite Your Face Off, would have been encouraging for not only the singer, but his accountant.
A trio of lead guitarists bled the way, but Adelaide girl Orianthi (the guitar player for Michael Jackson's ill-fated This Is It show) really seemed to have a spellbinding effect on the audience, striking up a blinding solo that fell into a fragile Only Women Bleed. Alice caressed a mannequin gently in this song, before the tender turned into the toughness of Cold Eythl.
Feed My Frankenstein saw Alice joined by a three-metre high friend named Frankenalice, it's easy to picture if you try.
And still the classics poured out: the early '80s new wave of Clones (We're All) and the Bon Jovi-esque Poison.
Alice, meanwhile, had been annoyed by a 'pesky photographer' who had been following him onstage.
Stabbing him with a mic-stand, justice would soon come Alice's way, and the guillotine was wheeled out. The band played I Love The Dead as Alice's 'head' was paraded around the stage by his executor.
The resurrection was televised, however, when Alice rode again for the iconic, School's Out, which featured a savvy sashay into Pink Floyd's Another Brick In The Wall. Come time for encores, Alice brandished an Australian flag for Elected, basking in the kind of popularity Julia can only dream of.
"Playing the part of Alice Cooper tonight has been… me!" the old showman explained before exiting the stage. There's certainly no other.
by BOB GORDON
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