Braving atrocious conditions and after-dark ghouls, the brave folk of Glasgow chose the perfect host for Halloween. If ever an act was purpose made for October 31 it’s the King Of Shock Rock and Alice Cooper pulled out all the stops with one of his most theatrical shows to date.
The 3,000-capacity Clyde Auditorium offered fans a close up and personal look at one of entertainment’s most enduring stars but the on-stage shenanigans weren’t the only Halloween eye candy on show.
A (un)healthy section of the audience had spent almost as long as the man himself in transforming themselves into Alice-alikes. Throw in the odd Spiderman, pirate, zombie, nurse and zombie-nurse and it didn’t take a genius to work out this wasn’t your normal Copper show. If there is a normal Cooper show.
Halloween afforded both Alice and his fans the ideal opportunity to throw off the shackles and let the night take control. And there was a sense that this perfect juxtaposition of scary performer and official fright night would be very special from start to finish.
Fellow old stagers the New York Dolls proved to be the perfect warm-up with their unique brand of sleazy rock n roll and made-to-measure banter. If David Johansen’s sparkly pink top looked like something plucked from the nearest Dorothy Perkins sale rail then it only proved appearances can be deceptive – well received by the Alice die-hards they more than deserved their special guest billing.
Nevertheless, as the familiar spoken word intro to The Black Widow gave way to Cooper atop a towering scaffold it became clear the real business of the night had begun in earnest.
The sparks were, quite literally, flying as Alice opened the palms of his hands to reveal fireworks fizzing against the backdrop of a well-drilled band – including striking Australian guitarist Orianthi Panagaris. And the classics flowed like a river of fake blood with Cooper using all of the stage craft honed across six decades of live performance.
Canes, top hats and babies were raised aloft by excited fans massed near the front as each and every one of Alice’s familiar commands were carried out to the letter by those who know him best. The boa constrictor took its bow during Is It My Body and a canny touch saw the Coop deliver I’ll Bite Your Face Off wearing a jacket emblazoned with ‘new song’ across the back.
The sleazy and suggestive Muscle Of Love was a true highlight while a ghoulish corpse bride joined the man himself for a spot of Strictly Come Dancing Halloween-style before the duo got closer for Cold Ethyl.
The oversized Franken-Alice which provided the backdrop to the classic Feed My Frankenstein brought a fresh smile to the faces of those who’d seen all of this stuff so many times before – but wanted more.
Alice had, so far, emerged relatively unscathed after seeing of a gaggle of distorted Cooper clones but his punishment was due when he reprised that familiar urban myth by laying waste to human chicken during Wicked Young Man.
The I Love The Dead interlude gave Alice a welcome break before he returned with a vengeance to deliver the School’s Out/Another Brick In The Wall mash-up that so thrilled the Download crowd earlier this year.
A spectacular encore mixing giant pumpkin balloons, a Saltire and a Scotland top with 18 Cooper on the back ensured a wildly appreciative ovation. There really is no accounting for experience and on Halloween you require the most experienced shock rocker of the lot – Glasgow got that on a glorious night of over-the-top theatrics perfectly directed by pop metal’s ringmaster general.