Leading up to Friday, the weather in Melbourne had been quite hot and a reminder that summer was on its way; however come the night that the one and only Alice Cooper was in town, Melbourne played its usual tricks and threw in a really windy and cooler day. That didn’t stop people flocking to Rod Laver Arena in droves; the demand for tickets was so high that the concert was moved from Margaret Court Arena! Throw in the fact that there was also RnB Friday being held at Hisense Arena, so the Tennis and Entertainment Complex was absolutely abuzz with energy.
Before those in attendance were treated to the showcase and spectacle that Alice Cooper puts on during his performance, they were treated to the very special guest Ace Frehley with his band, performing a range of songs the KISS catalogue and a few covers thrown in for good measure. Even though the floor section was all seats, there was an impressive range of people standing up against the rail as Frehley played for about an hour as he worked his way through 12 songs and a nice guitar solo, which thanks to some customisation leaked out CO2 to make it look like Frehley was playing that fast his guitar was smoking! Fans were singing at the top of their voice as classics hits like ‘Love Gun’, ‘Parasite’ and ‘Detroit Rock City’ lifted the proverbial roof off of Rod Laver Arena.
At roughly 9:20pm, Alice Cooper’s introduction to the stage was announced by the intro piece ‘Spend The Night’ being played; this little audio track gave the crowd a small insight into the experience that was about to blow their minds! Once the curtain dropped and revealed the stage that was full of props, Cooper and his band came out on stage and opened the set with ‘Brutal Planet’; the cheer from those in attendance shows just how much they appreciated this return. Twirling his signature cane whilst he strutted his way around stage, Cooper made a lucky fan’s night when he threw the first of many into the crowd over the course of the evening; this led to a quick outfit change which was assisted by a toy doll popping out of the toy box, before ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ and ‘Under The Wheels’ followed. There was another small outfit change between these songs, which was the start of a nice floor-drobe of outfits at the foot of the toy box.
The giant silk banner that adorned the back of the stage frequently changed throughout the night, to add to the already insane visual aspect of the show; not that it needed it! ‘Department of Youth’, ‘Pain’ and ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ were a good example of this, as the silk banner was different for every song. The energy on stage hadn’t faded in the slightest when Cooper started singing ‘The World Needs Guts’; the stage was a blur as Cooper was working his way in between his guitarists, who were running around the stage non- stop.
After Cooper finished singing ‘Woman of Mass Distraction’, Nita Strauss melted the faces off of everyone in attendance with a fast paced guitar solo; this paved the way for fan favourite ‘Poison’ and ‘Halo of Flies’ to follow. There was a nice drum/bass solo thrown into ‘Halo Of Flies’, which was as impressive and jaw-dropping as the guitar solo earlier. ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ came next; during the song Cooper was strapped to a machine against his will and subjected to the electro-shocks that brought Frankenstein to life. There was a massive cloud of smoke and once it disappeared Cooper was gone; all of a sudden a 12+ft tall Frankenstein came running from backstage and started chasing the guitarists around trying to quench his hunger!
‘Cold Ethyl’, ‘Only Women Bleed’, ‘Paranoiac Personality’, ‘Ballad of Dwight Fry’ and ‘Killer’ led to more visual aspects being added to the Cooper masterpiece; he ended up in a straightjacket being tormented by an psychotic nurse before fighting his way free, being chased by authority and finally captured. This lead to Cooper being led to the guillotine and decapitated on stage, before the guillotine and his headless body were wheeled off stage.
A small snippet of ‘I Love The Dead’ was performed, which was sung in perfect harmony and unison by the band; after all, Cooper was now headless! ‘I’m Eighteen’ saw the return of Cooper holding his decapitated head in his hand and was the final song sung before the band left the stage; those in attendance knew that the night wasn’t over just yet and they were right. The band and Cooper returned to close out the evening with ‘School’s Out’; Cooper was wearing a most elegant ringmasters jacket and top hat! Halfway through the song, assistants bought out giant confetti filled balloons and threw them into the crowd. Upon their return to the stage, Cooper was popping them and raining confetti over the crowd. Just to top off the evening, there was a small snippet of ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ thrown in for good measure. The night concluded with Cooper informing Melbourne that “school’s out Melbourne; have a great night and get home safe!”
Spend the Night intro
No More Mr Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Department Of Youth
Billion Dollar Babies
The World Needs Guts
Woman of Mass Distraction
Halo of Flies (with drum/bass solo)
Feed My Frankenstein
Only Women Bleed
Ballad of Dwight Fry
I Love the Dead (snippet with band vocals)
School’s Out (with a snippet of Another Brick In The Wall)
Photos by Paul Tadday.