So supposedly space rocks fell over Melbourne last night in a meteor shower but that was nowhere near as impressive as the gothic rock extravaganza that the King Of The Macabre himself, Alice Cooper, put on at Rod Laver Arena last night. Not only did Alice take control of the night like the true showman that he is but his vocals were spot on and his band delivered some of the most amazing rock music playing that I have seen in a number of years.
One of the biggest issues facing an artist like Alice is getting the right mix of your back catalogue into a show so that fans are not left shattered that their favourites were not delivered on the night. Cooper found a unique way around that last night by actually only performing one song of his brand new album – Paranormal – on the night, a brilliant rendition of ‘Paranoiac Personality.’ Most of the ‘plugging’ of the new album was done with it playing before Mr. Cooper took the stage while on-stage he turned the night into a brilliant greatest hits show that is going to be remembered for a long time to come.
Alice strolled onto the stage with cane in hand and immediately took control of the band like the ringmaster that he so resembled… this was his circus and he was going to get the absolute best out of the performers o the night, and that he certainly did. There are some that may have thought that three guitarists would be a little bit of over-kill, but hey when you have three of the best guitarists in the world at your disposal well hell you better use them. Ryan Roxie and Nita Strauss where on fire last night and Nita won of a legion of new fans when she delivered a guitar solo that left Rod Laver eerily silent and then completely screaming for more. Alice also wasn’t joking when he said he had the best rock drummer in the world – Glen Sobel was amazing all night.
Like I said earlier Alice’s set list played out like a greatest hits album. The crowd got eagerly involved as Alice ticked off hits like ‘Department Of Youth’ and ‘Billion Dollar Babies.’ ‘Woman Of Mass Destruction’ became all about Nita Strauss and why wouldn’t it after she had just delivered some epic guitar work during ‘The World Needs Guts’ before then launching into a massive solo that eventually led to the track that caused Rod Laver Arena to erupt – ‘Poison.’ Cudos to Mr Cooper for not making the audience wait for as part of the encore… that added to the mystery of the night.
The theatre side of the show came to life during ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ when Alice transformed into a huge Frankenstein’s monster thanks to an electrical monster building machine, and then came a ‘naughty burlesque girlfriend’ and a ‘Halloween nurse’ as tracks like ‘Cold Ethyl,’ ‘Only Women Bleed,’ ‘Paranoiac Personality,’ ‘Ballad Of Dwight Fry,’ ‘Killer’ and ‘I Love The Dead’ were all used to form a mini-theatre production that ended with Alice being beheaded by a massive guillotine. The show was simple but only added to the brilliance of the night.
The night then ended with what almost felt like a tribute to The Faculty soundtrack with Alice performing ‘I’m Eighteen’ and then ‘School’s Out’ with a hint of ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ as the encore. It capped off the perfect night of rock & roll and a night that taught us two things – the first being Nita Strauss is one of the great guitarists to ever walk this planet, she showed this by bringing tracks that I have been listening to since I was a kid to life in such an amazing way, and that at nearly 70 years of age Alice Cooper is still the King Of Macabre and puts on one of the best live rock shows you will ever see.