Words Wal Reid pic Brad Holland
Thank God for Alice Cooper! Hearing the humble guitar solo in a song seems to be a lost art form with today’s musicians.
Listening to Coopers classic tunes like Only Women Bleed or the iconic Cold Ethyl instilled a sense of confidence, gratifyingly knowing there are some in this world, interested in making REAL music rather than building up their Instagram following.
Having one hell of a band to back you up (With one of the hottest guitar talents Nita Strauss) in tow, made this easily one of the best musician Rock line-ups. The stage decked out in spooky dolls placed inside the bass drum while decapitated clown heads flanked the side of stage. Giant eyes & spider pupils kept watch over the audience, while the horror theatrics Cooper is known for, with all its macabre intent, kept the audience focused on the melee onstage – so, damn good.
Starting off with the heavy-as-stink Brutal Planet from the self-titled 2000 album, the low grumbling guitar riff plus Glen Sobel’s powerhouse drumming filled the Trust Stadium stage in full effect. No More Mr Nice Guy, Under My Wheels and Department of Youth followed close behind, while Alice & band got the crowd roused up the crowd to sing on perennial faves Billion Dollar Babies, Poison & I’m Eighteen.
Guitar stalwarts Tommy Hendriksen, Ryan Roxie and bassist Chuck Garric tore up the stage, taking advantage of the space spreading themselves around bating and greeting the crowd, who took it upon themselves to get out of their chairs to ditch the makeshift ‘winery’ setup.
Cooper didn’t talk much, he didn’t have to. A consummate performer, make no mistake he was the centre of attention; the rabid ringmaster with horsewhip, whether he was in straitjacket or traipsing the stage with top hat looking Beetlejuice-esque, Cooper was at the fray directing the onstage chaos that included a giant Frankenstein (Feed my Frankenstein) and the obligatory head decapitation of the singer on Ballad of Dwight Fry – this guy has all the moves.
There was so much fretboard ‘masturbation’ on stage that it was hard not to notice, ex Slash guitarist Ryan Roxie & Nita Strauss hamming it up with duelling guitars à la Iron Maiden. Standing out with her “Ego Kills Talent” tee, she worked the crowd with harmonic dives and sweeping arpeggios reminiscent of Robertson & Gorham from Thin Lizzy, it was ‘heavy metal 101’ and the crowd couldn’t get enough.
After missing out seeing them at Rock2Wgtn in 2008 (opting instead for the Ozzy night, total fiscal decision) tonight’s performance seemed like overdue penance for missing out. Who knows when we’ll see Alice again, I mean you have to hand it to the guy, unlike his peers he’s got longevity, and after tonight’s show it’s hard to imagine it any other way.
The night ended in a climatic fashion, in true Alice style a stage extravaganza complete with confetti guns, giant balls and explosions that would tickle a pyromaniac pink on Schools Out, with its outro of Pink Floyd’s The Wall it was a masterful ending.
Alice Cooper is definitely one of Rock’s unique performers, a Purveyor of the Macabre, the Master of Shock, seems only fitting he would sign off with these last words, “Have horrible wicked nightmares.”