Lucky Perth was the first city to Spend The Night with Alice Cooper on his 40th-anniversary tour.
“No sorry that ticket is from a recognised scalping site”, the helpful lady at the Perth Arena box office told an unlucky punter beside me. It sounded like old mate was either going to hand over a few dollars more or miss out on two rock icons. Although I’m not convinced there’s a difference between those sites and Ticketmaster’s official
scalping resale site. That’s a rant for another time, tonight it’s all about a man called Alice.
But before we get to the main attraction we need to delve into the world of the Ace Frehley.
Decked out in all black with a silver lightning bolt emblazoned on his chest former original KISS Spaceman sauntered out into the Perth Arena stage and tore right into ‘Parasite’ a KISS song he most recently covered on the Origins Vol. 1 album. With a stack of Marshall’s behind him Ace Frehley let rip on his Les Paul taking on vocal duties as well. It was all pretty standard stuff, good solid rock, a swag of KISS covers with a dash of Ace solo work thrown in. Standard stuff until drummer Scot Coogan took on vocal duties for ‘Love Gun’, Paul Stanley eat your heart out, Coogan has the pipes. What a voice!
Ace brought all the big guns, a set full of classic songs and a band of superstars. Chris Wyse’s thundering bass solo had more than a few jaws dropping. Ace also brought a plethora of custom guitars. Flashing lights and smoking pickups delivered the visuals while in his hands the modified Les Paul guitars sent a wall of sound crashing into the KISS t-shirt clad punters at the front of the stage.
It’s hard to know where to look when the curtain drops for an Alice Cooper show. The stage is like a nightmarish Halloween party, adorned with scary clowns, creepy dolls and enough sharp things to start a medieval war. Until the original rock n roll vampire emerges, then it’s all eyes on Alice. This is his show, of that there’s no doubt.
Cooper’s shows are legendary, they’re 80% rock 20% theatre and 100% entertaining. There’s no “hello Perth, it’s great to be here” bullshit. Alice is a villain and villains don’t make friends, they take hostages. Alice took Perth Arena hostage and the only way to get out alive was to have a good time.
Strutting across the stage with sword in hand swashbuckling Alice delivered a billion Cooper dollars to the lucky few in the front row. The ‘money’ rained down causing young and old to grab at the air and dive to the arena floor chasing the elusive cash. It truly was an audience of generations, from the 10-year-old kid wearing ear muffs to protect his hearing rocking next to his dad in the front row, to the 20 somethings standing next to me losing their shit at every move Alice made. Everything he does is deliberate, every movement, every gesture, every growl, and grimace. The other thing Alice does deliberately surround himself with incredible musicians, there’s none more incredible than shredder Nita Strauss. In a world of clichéd guitar solos, the blonde axe slinger threw out the rule book delivering a face-melting performance. There were more than a few budding musicians in the audience wishing they could play like a girl.
Armed with enough material to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves the architect of shock-rock tore the fucking house down. If getting stabbed by the crazed Nurse Rosetta (played by the lovely Mrs. Cheryl Cooper) electrocuted, decapitated and strangled wasn’t going to stop Alice it seemed like nothing would… But all good things must come to an end so as the opening riff of encore ‘Schools Out’ rang out we knew it was just about over.
But wait, there’s more…
That one more thing moment came in the guise of the original Boomtown Rat and genuine rock royalty – Sir Bob ‘fucking’ Geldof! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people lose their shit at the exact same moment. It was the perfect holy shit/what the fuck moment. Watching Alice Cooper and Bob Geldof sing ‘Schools Out’ while bubbles floated across the stage – I doubt Salvador Dali himself could have thought up something so surreal.
Alice delivers a slick incredibly well-produced show, vocally he has never sounded better, his voice is strong and clear. Grab a ticket and enjoy the madness Australia, you won’t regret it!
Reviewed by Gareth Williams
Alice Cooper – 40th Anniversary Australian Tour
with Ace Frehley
19 OCT THU: ADELAIDE The Barton Theatre
20 OCT FRI: MELBOURNE Margaret Court Arena
21 OCT SAT: SYDNEY Hordern Pavilion
23 OCT MON: CANBERRA AIS Arena
24 OCT TUE: NEWCASTLE Entertainment Centre
25 OCT WED: BRISBANE Convention Centre