Alice Cooper in Glasgow Nov20

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Alice Cooper in Glasgow

Alice Cooper @ SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Well, Mr Furnier strolls into Glasgow to what is probably the largest capacity he has ever played here. Bringing an incredible show and some very old friends we have either not seen for a long time or ever before.

When this show was announced there were a few upturned noses at the support chosen. They are not what you would expect for an Alice show but for me The Tubes were a perfect choice. I was a massive fan back in the day and over the last two years I have been going to their headline shows in this city.

With a front man like Fee Waybill you have a showman made in Alice’s image. He may not go for the horror but just look at all those costume changes, the tongue in cheek humour and the careless past…yes, you are looking at a man and a band that can entertain on any size of stage.

It is a far shorter set than I am used too seeing but full of all the gimmicks and fun that has kept this band going for all this time. I was actually a fan of the Tubes before I was of Alice so to see the two of them together with a mass of years playing music for my pleasure was amazing.

The set list was full of classics, “TV is King”, “Mr Hate” and the incredible “White Punks on Dope”, a song 42 years old and still packs a huge punch today. We get the usual falling off his huge disco boots amongst other capers but the music is there, strong, proud and full of emotion, angst and facts. The band that was created by Alice Coopers original drummer John Speer played a blinder tonight and I am sure there will be a whole new burst of interest…they deserve that and if it comes again from the Alice Cooper camp all the better.

Now The Mission is a whole different ball game. They had a few good songs back in the day and I vaguely remember them supporting during the 80s so I was willing to give them a chance. That turned out to be a mistake as all they done was bore me rigid and took away all the atmosphere that The Tubes had built, so much so I ended up leaving as did many of the punters.

Now to the man and the band that has to be up there with my most sen live bands. My last gig was at Barcelona rocks this summer where I was delighted to see Joe Perry take to the stage for a jam on “School’s out”. Now that was special but tonight left that show in the dust, as it did with my very first(and until tonight favourite) show. That night I was a teenager and front row. I left with a camera full of cracking shots and a face full of fake blood.

I had deliberately avoided seeing the set list from the earlier dates on the tour and I was glad as this was an old school Cooper fans dream. So many times I turned to my mate going “No way are they playing this”. It was incredible. To have seen this man live for over 35 years and still be blown away by tonight’s show says everything about the live beast that is Alice Cooper.

Tonight was always going to be special with the inclusion of the original members and there is no doubt that this brought in a load more of the elder patrons tonight, I for one would have paid a small fortune to see this band reunited even if it is a one off. Enough of that for now as I will have plenty more to say on that subject very shortly.

Just as Alice rolled out the old band he also rolled out the old songs and kept me smiling from ear to ear all night. “Department of Youth” was the first hell yeah moment of the night with everyone in the know shouting “Donny Osmond” at the perfect time. From there my shocked face got hit with “Halo of Flies”, “Killer” and “I love the Dead”, my world was complete, the greatest showman in the world had outdone himself. As well as the old classics we got some belters from more recent albums in opener “ Brutal Planet”, “The World Needs Guts” and “Pain”, songs that are as strong as any Cooper classic.

There are the usual suspects in “Only Woman Bleed”, “Feed My Frankenstein” and “Poison” and a couple of brand new songs in “ Paranoiac Personality” and “Woman of Mass Distraction”. These songs went down just as well as the others.

For me no Cooper set is complete without “Ballad of Dwight Fry”. I have many, many favourite songs from this band but live this is my favourite track of any band past or present…and as always Alice puts everything he has into it.

Now to the part of the show I have been waiting for, the encore and the sight of Alice with original members Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce and Neal Smith. Sadly with the death of Glen Buxton we will never see the band as they were but with all the band members paying homage to him we feel he was there even if just in spirit.

Seeing those guys strut around the stage with huge grins made the night for me. Each one was incredible and definitely not just dragged out for a show. DD and Michael still looked as cool as a cucumber out front and to watch them play was an honour. Neal at the back was battering away and you can see why this band gelled, why they took the world by storm and as the years rolled back you can see they were an incredibly well oiled engine.

We got five songs for the encore but it was way too short. I would love a show of just this band and just the oldies they recorded together but we can only dream. For now(and if it never happens, forever) I can be happy with “ I’m Eighteen”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, “No More Mr nice Guy”, “Muscle of Love(another hell yeah moment)” and “School’s Out” which brought back the current band out for a huge goodbye.

A hell of a show, a top 5 live highlight of all time. I do not know if the man can ever top this but hey, we have only got the damned Hollywood Vampires to look forward to next year. Mr Cooper knows how to entertain, he knows how to keep things fresh and he knows how to send away an old fan happy. This was just musical genius.

Images and words Ritchie Birnie

 

 

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