rushonrock editor Simon Rushworth caught his first Cooper gig in the late 80s at Whitley Bay Ice Rink and has been in awe of the shock rocker ever since.
Here he selects snippets from four of his favourite reviews published during the past decade – proving the Coop is still the best show in town!
Alice Cooper – Newcastle Arena – November 2002
Alice Cooper’s mind must be a minefield of psychological trauma but the Godfather of rock chooses gigs as his therapy.
Last night’s debut at Newcastle’s Telewest Arena will surely have exorcised some of the 54-year-old’s persistent feelings.
But just how his stick-thin body copes with two hours of heavy metal mayhem is beyond comprehension.
Save for a single mid-concert break the Cooperman somehow stayed the course.Where younger, fitter and more motivated performers would have wilted, Alice was on top form.
Alice Cooper – Newcastle Arena – 2007
As if to prove there is still a small part of the fabled 1960s rock rebel still battling for recognition, Alice Cooper played for at least three minutes after the 11pm curfew imposed on his latest Newcastle show. Talk about living on the edge.
But there was no after-show knees-up, no long night clubbing and definitely not a drop of alcohol in sight. Knocking on 60, the best thing Alice can do is hit the sack and find himself a nice golf course in the morning.
Yet for 90 minutes every night Alice Cooper delivers a performace so rich in theatre and bursting with enthusiasm that almost everyone present willingly buys into an old bloke wearing leather pants and make-up.
For Newcastle the pantomime season came early with the visit of 2007’s Psycho-Drama tour and the villain of the piece was at his vibrant best.
Alice is alive and well – and he can still break a curfew.
Alice Cooper – Newcastle City Hall – November 2009
Cooper had no difficulty selling out the latest show on his Theatre Of Death tour and to see the ultimate shock rocker back in the City Hall was a true pleasure.
On the face of it his gore-fests should be better suited to vast arenas but to see a world class performer up close and personal is a rare treat indeed.
Chosing to forgo any mid-set banter in a bid to ram as many classics as possible into a full-on set, the only criticism of Cooper could be that he came across as too cold.
Then again he did ‘die’ four times in 90 minutes – guillotined, hanged, poisoned with an oversize syringe and spiked.The drama is great but the songs are even better.
Tunes like Schools Out, Department Of Youth and 18 have never aged. Even Poison, 20 years on from its hair metal pomp, still comes across as fresh and vibrant.
Now in his early 60s and addicted to golf, the feeling is that Cooper is always one step away from retirement. On this evidence there’s no need to call it a day just yet.
Alice Cooper – Download Festival – June 2011
Watching a jovial Alice Cooper chat away on Sunday morning telly, it was difficult to believe this was the same bloke who had Download’s second stage wrapt the previous evening.
Here was our Vincent cooking his favourite dish, talking us through those crazy 70s tours and playing on a golf simulator.
Less than 12 hours earlier he’d had his head chopped off after strutting around in a giant spider costume and waving a sword at giant inflatable balls. But then that’s what makes Alice – the man and the performer – so endearing after all of these years.
The king of reinventing the wheel, he continues to push all of the right buttons. For the fans who thought they’d seen it all before, the back-to-back inclusion of the 1971 single Halo Of Flies and new track I’ll Bite Your Face Off was a masterstroke.
Forty years might separate the songs but played in sequence they sounded like the most natural bedfellows within a set soaked in mock evil and laughable horror.
If those tunes were for the loyal devotees then the interested onlookers – many of them Cooper virgins – bopped away to brilliant renditions of Hey Stoopid, Schools Out and Poison. This was a tailored-for-festivals set fusing trademark theatrics with all of the hits and more besides.
Whereas Cheap Trick and Twisted Sister (Dee Snider exempted) looked every one of their advancing years as they warmed up the chilly masses for the main event, there’s a defiant, youthful exuberance about everything Alice does.
A triumphant encore, featuring Elected and replete with a giant Union Jack – proved each and every one of us who missed the start of System’s main stage set made the right decision. Another UK headline tour follows this autumn and another round of plaudits await.