Review: Alice Cooper, WIN Wollongong 18.8.09

Having never been to an Alice Cooper show, it was with some anticipation that we attended the first concert of the Australian leg of his new 'Theatre of Death' tour. Whilst attendance numbers were down, the diehard fans flocked to the front waiting for the show to commence. It was mainly an older crowd with a smattering of youngsters, some dressed in character and looking very much like their idol. The night started with a giant “Theatre of Death” sheet hung across the stage, which was torn down by Cooper as he burst onto the scene with 'School’s Out', followed by 'Department of Youth' and 'I’m 18'. His showmanship was rewarded with enthusiastic cheers from the crowd and set the tone for the remainder of the night. There were some 26 songs during the 90 minute performance, as well as an encore of 'School’s Out'. Cooper and his band were high energy the entire evening as they took you through a deadly theatrical journey. The songs covered the spectrum of the Alice Cooper repertoire, from his earliest hits to his latest material. There was plenty of crowd involvement as well. During 'Dirty Diamonds' he tossed fake strings of pearls into the crowd before cutting the head off a prop. During the 'Schools Out' encore, giant balloons were thrown into the crowd and Cooper pierced them with a sword as they bounced back to the stage, spilling confetti over excited fans. There were regular costume changes to coincide with the music. He looked very Broadway-like in his white shiny suit and top-hat, and his spider suit was interesting and somewhat comical. Slower songs like 'Only Women Bleed' were perfectly incorporated into the storyline and the lighting, props and platformed stage layout enhanced the theatrics of the performance. The stage extras, like Nurse Rosetta, played an integral part of the storyline. As well as having a song named after her, she came and went throughout the show doing all sorts of nasty things to Cooper. The band, who gave it their all, were notable. In fact these musicians played all night as though they themselves were the headliners and deserved the applause they received. Even the instrumental, which fortunately didn't drag on like with some bands, had action, impact and showcased their skills as musicians. There was never a dull moment during the entire night. Despite his years, this man can still rock the crowd. We don’t think it’s time just yet for Alice Cooper to give it all away to go play golf! If you've been to a Theatre of Death tour, let us know what you thought and how it has compared to shows from previous years.

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