Friday, 17 November 2017

Alice Cooper Live Report

Had to see Alice at least once before he finally gives up the ghost didn't I. A night at the Wembley Arena was a no brainer thoughts like this don't exactly come cheap but alas the Coops needs the money before he finally retires and lives out his days playing golf non stop.

Anyway we digress. Two support bands were listed neither of which I had ever seen so three birds were killed with one stone last night. First up were somewhat legendary and cult band The Tubes. A sort of 70s hybrid of rock, funk and AOR. Fee Waybill their singer is bloody ancient. he's probably as old as Alice though I have no idea how old he actually is. But he does sound very very old with a voice as rough as a tramp's arsehole. Their songs are mildly entertaining but it's their semi comedy garb that entertains the folks closer to the stage. Sadly I was about as far away from the stage as it was possible to get. But the sound was very good indeed and the bass and drummer for The Tubes were both excellent. Not really my thing overall but the last song was really catchy in an AOR kinda way. It turns out that this band supported Alice in the 70s hence their long lost return.

Next and main support were Brit gothy doom popsters, The Mission. In the early 90s this band used to bother the charts regularly with their twangy dark goth pop. It's a bit of a strange support slot for Alice but maybe he hand picked them and likes them a lot. I must admit I probably haven't heard a Mission tune in 25 years and then only once or twice. I was always a Sisters of Mercy fan me haha! Never got into The Mish meself! Anyway they played about 8 songs including all their biggest hits. They actually sounded really quite good but if slightly droning on and on and yet still danceable. A few old goths were I'm sure in nostalgia heaven with these guys.

I started to recognise a few snippets of their songs and they were toe tappingly gloomy and pleasant on the ear. Not a bad little set from these guys but overall I find them just good and not something I'll get all nostalgic about and go and seek their songs on youtube all over again or something! I enjoyed them for what they were though. I can imagine a bill with them Sisters and Fields of the Nephilim going down a storm with all the nostalgia gothsters!

At 9.20 sharp the house lights went down and the current Alice Cooper band launched into the heavy and semi-industrial sounding Brutal Planer, the title track of the album from a few years back. That was a heavy start indeed. Alice's voice is a bit rougher live than I was expecting but he still sounds good. Unfortunately whilst the gig was taking place in Wembley, I was actually sitting in the next borough down the road and all facial expressions and band interaction were rendered by midgets in the distance as far as I could tell. I really wanted to see guitarist Nita up close for she is a bit of a shred queen. Sadly the Arena doesn't have TV screens by the side of the stage either.

Not being a huge Alice aficionado I didn't recognise the next few songs. Lost in America stood out most. Great tune. Dept of Youth was also very catchy. Enough for me to go and seek out a studio version of it from the Welcome to my Nightmare album. Woman of Mass Distraction was funny and catchy too.

By the way, Alice never says a word in between songs. No talking not a word. He just lets the music do the talking it seems but he does say the odd "thank you London!" but apart from that no anecdotes just singing and a nice stage show. I just wish I was closer so i could see it better! Any how the show carried swiftly on with a Nita guitar solo followed by his first big 80s hit that I know. Obviously Poison is sung by literally 1000s in the Arena as Alice commands. Halo of Flies I don't know but then Feed My Frankenstein followed with a running Frankestein monster on stage running round like what Eddie does with Maiden. Great tune anyway and Alice puts feeling in that chorus! Cold Ethyl sees him carrying a lifeless rag doll around trying to inject life into the damn thing but she remained cold to no avail. Only Women Bleed followed. No doubt a classic but would you believe I have never ever heard this song before in my life? Not even by accident. I didn't even know that it was mostly a ballad lol. Oh well you live and learn eh Alice!

Paranoic Personality, the immensely catchy new track was given an airing and I think it went down very well. WHo can not love that chorus eh? Then we reached the theatrical section of every Alice show with the balld of Dwight Fry and the beheading of your man Mr Cooper. Now sitting where I was I could hardly even tell what was going on with my poor eyesight. All I could see was some gal in ghoulish white holding up Alice's severed head! Hey hold on he's got to the rest of the songs..anyway the songs segues into Killer and I See The Dead. I don't recall too much of the musical value as I was concentrating on what the hell was going on stage. Youtube will help me there no doubt.

There the main set ends and Alice finally returns with the original AC band doing 5 of the band's biggest hits. I'm Eighteen believe it or not I have never heard! Can you actually believe it? It's a good song though and I can see all the bald drunkards with their pints shoved in the air screaming "I'm Eighteen!!!" Nah mate you WERE 18 haha!
Billion Dollar Babies followed again not massively familiar to me but it was good and got everyone off their feet to sing. Then it's my fave AC song of all time. Who can not love NMMNG? That song is just made to be sung along with. Alice's old band plays it a bit slower than I'm used to. I only first heard the song when Megadeth done it decades ago and they speeded it up for the better. But Alice sings it the original way of course. Everyone loves it anyway and is in delirium by now!
Next we have Muscle of Love another song I have never ever heard. Damn it was quite catchy though! The set ends with all the old band and all the current band on stage as Alice goes through them all and introduces them one by one before a rousing School's Out complete with pretty cool Brick in the wall snippet in the middle.

Alice has still got it no doubt for an old timer. His movements maybe a bit slower and the voice not as clean as earlier times but the man can entertain pure and simple. How much longer he'll go is anyone's guess but he's far from shaming his legacy and whilst he's still enjoying it then long may it continue and who knows maybe I'll go to another AC show if he returns. On a side not the merch at this show had unacceptably high prices. Even higher than the Metallica show and the ticket price was already quite expensive. I don't know who sets the merch prices but if it's Alice's management then they need to have a word with themselves haha! Anyway keep rocking Alice till the grave!

Spend the Night intro
Brutal Planet
Under My Wheels
Lost in America
Department of Youth
The World Needs Guts
Woman of Mass Distraction
Guitar Solo
(Nita Strauss)
Halo of Flies
Drum and Bass solo
Feed My Frankenstein
Cold Ethyl
Only Women Bleed
Paranoiac Personality
Ballad of Dwight Fry
I Love the Dead

I'm Eighteen
(with original Alice Cooper Band)
Billion Dollar Babies
(with original Alice Cooper Band)
No More Mr. Nice Guy
(with original Alice Cooper Band)
Muscle of Love
(with original Alice Cooper Band)
School's Out
(with original Alice Cooper Band) (with 'Another Brick in the Wall Part 2' snippet by Pink Floyd)

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