The Manchester Arena
Let’s not beat about the bush this is a Vaudeville show, it’s what the Coop does best, long gone are the days of any pretense of being a serious rock/shock band. Alice, his band and the audience are here to enjoy a night of power pop/metal rock and being the old ham that he is he ensures that everybody gets what they want.
After a taped introduction Alice cocooned in a cape stands stock like at the front of the stage, superciliously overseeing his Sickthings as they roar their approval, the cape is cast aside and the riff of Brutal Planet fills the air. Alice prowls the stage with pantomime menace as the band of young hired guns swirl like dervishes throwing all the required rock poses yet never missing a beat or a cue from Cooper as they seamlessly power though song after song. The set list as ever is dominated by the original bands Ezra period albums and Alice’s solo Welcome to My Nightmare.
Halo of Flies is a tour de force that allows the guitarists to show their virtuosity and for Cooper to take a breather and change costume. There was a drum solo but some things are best forgotten. It wouldn’t be a Alice show without the tried and trusted theatrics , a 15 foot high Monster makes a humorous appearance during Feed My Frankenstein , Alice dances with Cold Ethyl before serenading and abusing a wind up doll during Only Women Bleed .
When he’s put into a straight jacket the audience know it’s time for the Ballad of Dwight Fry, a song of such profundity that even in the cavernous bowl of an arena it still sounds claustrophobic and disturbing. Houdini like Alice escapes the jacket and uses the ties to strangle Nurse Rozetta. But as an Alice show is basically a morality show he pays for his crime by being dragged to the guillotine and in front of his baying fans beheaded. His dismembered head is displayed to the crowd as the band lead the audience in a sing-a-long of I Love the Dead and the lights go out.
When the lights come up Alice is of course resurrected yet the real Lazarus moment is that alongside him on the stage with him are the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper group. They may be a bit more ragged and not as mobile as the young guns but this is THE Alice Cooper Group. A short but sweet set ends with the current band joining the oldies to end the show with a joyous rendition of Schools Out.
The vast majority probably saw Alice for the first time of T.O.T.P’s when Schools Out was the summer hit. The was however a sizable number who will have come across Alice when he had his second coming with Poison.
It made me think..
This could be the last time we get to see him over here, if that’s the case what better way to to say goodbye than to see him on a stage alongside the original band.
A word about merchandise, £40 for a t-shirt, £80 for a hoodie, £20 for a bobble hat, call me a tight old bugger but I’ll pass thanks.