The Australian Alice Cooper: Welcome To The Nightmare @ The Regal Theatre, Kensington SA 29/10/2022
As ghosts, ghouls, and goths knocked on the door of Halloween, The Australian Alice Cooper Show brought the ecstasy, agony, and rebellion of the 70s to the Regal Theatre for one night only.
After a phenomenal and hauntingly beautiful solo by a young piano virtuoso Wolfgang Graham (“Wolfie”) adorned in Alice Cooper garb, Dave Hudson and band took to a stage decorated with spider webs, tombstones, skulls, doll heads, and skeletons. Hudson, channelling a 70s Alice Cooper, was donned in Cooper’s iconic red bodysuit and black eye make-up. Similarly, the band dressed for the spooky occasion. From devils to clockwork dolls, the spirit of Cooper’s macabre and theatrical brand of shock rock was exemplified by everyone.
The scene was set.
A carefully curated setlist focussed on Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare (1975) era began with The Awakening and seamlessly transitioned into Welcome to My Nightmare. It was an ideal introduction to a two-hour ghoulish saga of love, lust, and fame.
No More Mr Nice Guy, I’m Eighteen, and My Stars generated early enthusiasm from the eclectic crowd, many of whom dressed for the occasion in costumes. Their zeal only intensified as the night progressed (and alcohol consumption increased).
After a costume change to a white top hat and tails, another iconic Cooper look, Hudson belted out Some Folks and Cold Ethyl. With dancers and props already featured regularly, theatricality was pronounced. The histrionics would continue throughout. They served to complement the undoubtedly exceptional music.
Songs including Only Women Bleed, Years Ago, and Devil’s Food were relaxed. If you could call them that. Whereas Billion Dollar Babies and The Black Widow, with its vaudevillian battle between Hudson and a human spider, created a rhapsodic furore. This led to Steven and the ultimate death of an absurdist cyclops, the precursor of a two-song moment that was horror theatricality at its finest.
The reveal of an electric chair upstage during I Love the Dead and Hudson singing Escape from it captured the Halloween zeitgeist to a tee. It left everybody audibly yearning for more.
More was received, with some of Cooper’s most illustrious pieces concluding the show. School’s Out and Department of Youth had everyone on their feet singing along. And in what appeared to be an unplanned encore, Under My Wheels kept the party going that little bit longer.
Hudson shined as Cooper. His ability to embody the character synonymous with heavy metal and horror theatrics and not lose himself in the role ensured engagement with the audience. When fused with accomplished musicians and backup singers equally as dedicated in their commitment to the performance, the result was an unforgettable night of entertainment.
The Australian Alice Cooper Show’s Welcome to the Nightmare was an aural and visual spectacle. This sincere homage to the Godfather of Shock Rock was the choice Alice Cooper performance other than from the man himself.
“Welcome to my nightmare/ I think you’re gonna like it,” sang Dave Hudson as Alice Cooper. Well, we definitely did.
Live Review By Anita Kertes