Over forty years after buying my copy of School’s Out, which was as popular at Calday Grange Grammar School For Boys as it was in the rest of the English speaking world, I got to see Alice Cooper. I took my 18 year old nephew, who’s a big fan (he’d actually seen him before, at Download). This is a very slightly extended version of my review for the Nottingham Post, whose photo is above.
Last year, Alice Cooper reunited his original Billion Dollar Babies band for the sequel Welcome 2 My Nightmare.
For his Hallowe’en Night Of Fear tour, he has a crack band half his age, who threaten to, but never quite, drown out their leader. The sell-out show drew a multi-generational crowd, many in costume. With support from Duff McKagan’s Loaded and the likeable Ugly Kid Joe, plus fancy dress competition, this was a value night out.
Alice took the stage in red striped suit, with anthem Hello Hurray.
From then on, it was big numbers all the way. No More Mister Nice Guy went into I’ll Bite Your Face Off, soon followed by Billion Dollar Babies, dollars sprayed into the crowd from a sword. In front of the ghost train backdrop, the theatrics got wilder.
Welcome To My Nightmare was performed in a strait-jacket. Dirty Diamonds saw dozens of fake necklaces flung into the audience from Alice’s sword.
Strange to see a man try to sing while being steadily strangled by a large python, but we got used to being trapped in a vividly staged 70s concept album. Feed My Frankenstein was the theatrical peak. A white coated Alice first exploded, then transformed into a giant effigy that roamed the stage.
There was a pleasant but pointless four-song covers section, which, in US election week, I’d happily have exchanged for Elected. Giant gravestones revealed Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and Keith Moon . You can guess the songs. Revolution was the best version, but – you know – who needs covers at a Cooper gig? Then it was I’m Eighteen, Under My Wheels and Poison to bring the show to a thunderous close.
He came back, of course, for School’s Out, with a brief but popular excursion into Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall. Alice may be 64 but age becomes his persona. He performed like a singer who still had a lot to prove, and, boy, did he prove it.
Has Hurricane Sandy turned it round so that Obama will win comfortably next week? I hope so. Can’t imagine Obama or his climate change denier opponent singing this Nixon era song.