Alice Cooper, Ace Frehley @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide 19/10/2017

On one hand many talk about some of the greatest shows on Earth being in the ilk of The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney but there’s no doubt in my mind Alice Cooper should also be mentioned in the same breathe. In short, this show was brilliant! Arguably this show could have been moved to a much bigger venue to accommodate the demand as it sold out in no time at all but keeping the charm and intimate vibe of the infamous Thebarton Theatre really enhanced the fan experience.

It is rare to get two legendary and iconic rock stars on the bill with Ace Frehley (aka “Spaceman” or “Space Ace”) opening proceedings. There was a good crowd there early for the start of Ace’s set which started at the unfashionably early time of 7.30pm which was barely enough time to lay out the bad denim and druggie shirt for the night. It was unusual for a rock show like this to be seated and even though Ace was rocking his hardest the crowd gave him very little in return. C’mon man! Frustrating to see so many arms folded and people not wanting to engage with the show. Nevertheless, it was a kick arse set filled with Kiss songs and a couple of surprise covers. Kick the set off with Parasite and Hard Times the first surprise was The Rolling Stones cover 2000 Man followed by Rip It Out off the 1978 self-titled solo album.

So many great songs with Rocket Ride, Strange Ways and Talk To Me going down well with the Kiss diehards before tearing through the Hello cover of New York Groove. In a rare comment by Ace he said there’s earthquakes, tornados and shit going on but nothing would “Shock Me” and ploughed through this one followed a guitar solo to then leave the stage. Returning to the stage for an encore I would have thought Kiss classics Detroit Rock City and Deuce would have been enough to get fists pumping and out of their chairs but alas no. Still, Ace was fantastic who did more than just warm the stage.

Any aspiring musician who really wants to know what it takes to put on a kick arse show should go and get a ticket to see Alice Cooper. Heck, get on a plane and catch him before the tour finishes! This show had everything and it is no surprise that the interest has not waned at all. The energy of Alice Cooper (aka Vincent Furnier) who is nearing 70 is amazing and combined with the best touring musicians available makes for one formidable outfit including Tommy Henriksen, Ryan Roxie, Nita Strauss, Chuck Garric and Glen Sobel.

The venue darkened and the Spending The Night intro sounded before the pioneer of shock graced the stage opening with Brutal Planet. The staging was really well done resembling more of a house of horrors decked out with creeping dolls and clown masks. When you’re this good the set didn’t need to filled with pointless banter as Alice continued to entertain from start to end taking his loyal subjects through the back catalogue of hits including No More Mr. Nice Guy, Under My Wheels, Department Of Youth and Billion Dollar Babies. There was a massive response to huge chart single Poison which got the crowd singing a long

The show was full of energy and full of costume changes with Alice returning in a blood splattered doctors coat with the toy box prop on stage billowing green smoke then a massive Frankenstein appearing. Alice grabs the gas mask and enters the smoke while the band rip through Feed My Frankenstein. It was visually spectacular watching the sparks fly as this ‘monster’ moves across the stage. Cold Ethyl follows and Alice is seen caressing and dancing with this ‘clockwork’ doll plucked from the toy box. There was some new songs in the set including Paranoiac Personality which to the fans sounded familiar and were nodding in appreciation. At was at this point two henchman tried restraining Alice placing him a straight jacket. Crazy Nurse appears plunging an oversized needle in to his back during the Ballad Of Dwight Fry. Awesome! Theatrics combined with rock music was a sight to be seen.

As Alice slips out of the straight jacket he attempts to strangle the Crazy Nurse and the guillotine emerges as he loses his head under the blade. Brilliant! Like many fans we have seen this before but heck this is bloody awesome. Dragging around a head on stage to I Love The Dead the theatrics continue with more smoke and sparks with Alice re-emerging on a crutch for I’m Eighteen. What an end to the main set with pyros and the killer light show, this is why we pay good money to see top productions like this. The band returned for an encore which started to the sound of alarm bells heralding the start of the final number School’s Out which later morphed in to Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall. Deck out in a top hat and cavalry jacket for his final costume change Alice proved yet again he is the ultimate showman. If you didn’t go you really lucked out as this will go down as one of the major highlights for 2017.

Review by Rob Lyon

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