Alice Cooper is no stranger to Australian shores. Having toured here a countless number of times over the years, he is as much loved down under as he is all over the world.
Being a fan since a young age and never having the chance to see the legend live, I was beyond excited to finally see one of my musical heroes in the flesh, returning in support of his 27th album, ‘Paranormal’.
Opening the show at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre tonight is ex Kiss guitarist, Spaceman Ace Frehley whose set is a mix of some Kiss classics and his own solo material.
Kicking off with the Kiss track ‘Parasite’, which has many fans young and old nodding their heads, and following it up with ‘Hard Times’, Frehley and his band get the masses moving and sufficiently warmed up for the main event. Rolling into a cover of the Stones classic ‘2000 Man’, Ace seems to have carefully chosen his set list to please his crowd from all eras.
While Ace can really shred and his band sounds as tight as you would expect them to his set feels like it is lacking the high energy of what his former band mates still deliver even when playing the fan favourites ‘Love gun’ or ‘Detroit Rock City’.
Now, there is a reason Alice Cooper is still hailed as one of the world’s best performers still touring. Not only does his massive stage show and props keep you entertained throughout his set, he is still as engaging and energetic as ever, giving many frontmen even half his age a run for their money.
Vocally Cooper can still nail songs like ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’ and ‘Under My Wheels’, songs he has been singing for over four decades and still manages to make them sound fresh and relatable as ever and without relying on any vocal effects trickery.
Coopers band are ridiculously tight and as entertaining to watch as the man himself. Interacting with each other and Alice, they give the songs extra emotion, showing a real passion for their craft. There is something about a band with three guitarists that just sounds massive, and the way they interact and play off of each other is a sight to be seen in its own.
Guitarist Nita Strauss is a stand out for me as not only does she shred but proves that she is a true force of nature. Stalking the stage and playing with an abundance of passion, Strauss displays that not only does she love her job, but lives for every minute on stage. The effortless way that she seems to twist and contort, while still flawlessly playing every note, gives the congregation a sensory overload leaving us all screaming for more.
While the first half of the set was mainly focused on performance, it’s not until ‘Feed my Frankenstein’, that Alice brings out the magic props and monsters to play, kicking the show into high gear and showcasing what the godfather of shock rock is well known for. From a behemoth puppet, through to the beheading of our enigmatic frontman, Cooper has every base covered, with every person in the BEC completely and utterly engaged by every facet of tonight’s presentation.
As the gig comes to a close with teenage anthems ‘I’m Eighteen’ and ‘School’s Out’, featuring a guest appearance by Ace Frehley, it’s evident that despite the many shock rock clones over the years there is only one Alice Cooper and he is damn good at what he does.
IMAGES (c) Dan Maynard