Just a few days before Halloween and who rolls into town? It’s the king of shock-rock Alice Cooper!
It wasn’t that long ago that the Coop was in Auckland, opening for Motley Crue. Alice blew away the headliners that night. This time around, Cooper was at his rightful place at the top of the bill.
Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley had the honour of opening for Alice. Like Alice Cooper, Kiss, was a hard rock powerhouse in the 1970s, basing their act on crunching guitar riffs, theatrics and plenty of make-up. So you’d think Frehley would shine in his role of opener.
That was not to be the case.
While Frehley is a fine guitarist, his solo career lacks any songs of any discernible quality. On top of that, the man has virtually no stage presence, no charisma. So he and his competent band ploughed through an hour of tedious hard rock numbers, including a few from his old band. The most embarrassing moment was during Ace’s big solo hit New York Groove, when he attempted to get a singalong going but was met with a rather feeble response from the crowd.
Alice Cooper, however, is exactly the opposite.
The man commands the stage like no one else. Standing in front of his band, brandishing his stage sword, one gets the feeling that he was born to entertain.
Fortunately, he was also born to rock and roll.
Cooper and his band, featuring three stellar guitarists, deftly plucked classics from his catalogue. There were tunes from the days of the original band…Halo Of Flies, Under My Wheels…along with later hits such as Poison and Feed My Frankenstein.
Along with great songs, there were plenty of theatrics, the best of which was the 12ft Frankenstein that raced across the stage during Freed My Frankenstein. This was in addition to the usual beheading, straightjacket-writhing and doll debasement that goes along with any Alice Cooper show.
Alice himself seemed to be having voice issues, his trademark growl transformed into a croak. But, ever the trooper, he carried on putting on a terrific show that offered up something for everyone…some of rock’s finest songs and some of show business’s most outrageous theatrics.
Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Ivan Karczewski:
Alice Cooper set list:
- Brutal Planet
- No More Mr Nice Guy
- Under My Wheels
- Department Of Youth
- Billion Dollar Babies
- The World Need Guts
- Woman Of Mass Distraction
- Halo Of Flies
- Feed My Frankenstein
- Cold Ethyl
- Only Women Bleed
- Paranoiac Personality
- Ballad Of Dwight Frye
- I Love The Dead
- I’m Eighteen
- School’s Out/Another Brick In The Wall