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REVIEW – SMH.COM – Alice Cooper: King of the macabre retains his sense of humour and horror


Alice Cooper
October 21, Hordern Pavilion
Reviewed by Lilen Pautasso

A curtain painted with a freakish face hides the stage. The room is dark and then – suddenly – the eyes on the curtain dramatically light up, changing from white to red as a familiar voice says, “You have been chosen to spend the night with Alice Cooper.”

Alice Cooper may be getting older but his defining sense of theatricality remains.

Alice Cooper may be getting older but his defining sense of theatricality remains. Photo: Katherine Woods

The curtain falls and there he is, standing atop a podium in tightly clad leathers, his long black hair and black eyes visible from the farthest seat in the room. Alice Cooper soaks up the roar of the crowd, a wall of fire behind him, then shouts, “Sydney, this is where your death begins!” as Brutal Planet kicks things off.

Make no mistake: Cooper’s shows are the definition of morbid theatre. His renowned love of horror manifests in a performance akin to a Halloween special: you witness his death, his transformation into a monster, his elaborate escape from a straitjacket and more. It’s an eccentric, elaborate journey that has made him the king of the macabre for five decades.

His band comprised a talented line-up, notably drummer Glen Sobel and guitarists Ryan Roxie and Nita Strauss. Each grasped their spots in the limelight, performing captivating solos and making their mark on each song. Strauss, the only woman on the stage, especially impressed with her scintillating guitar solo between Woman of Mass Distraction and Poison.

Cooper continued through his greatest hits: No More Mr Nice GuyDepartment of YouthPainBillion Dollar Babies – a set list made for the ultimate fan. (The only song he played from latest album Paranormal was Paranoiac Personality.)

Naturally, anticipation is always high for particular songs, especially if you’ve seen Cooper live before, such as his electrocution and transformation into a monster during Feed My FrankensteinI Love the Dead, where he is captured, dragged to a guillotine and dramatically beheaded; and the euphoric conclusion of School’s Out, complete with gigantic balloons, streamers and confetti.

He may be getting older, slower and losing the grit in his voice, but his mix of horror and humour and defining sense of theatricality defiantly remain. It’s what makes him superb. It’s what makes him Alice Cooper.

2 comments to REVIEW – SMH.COM – Alice Cooper: King of the macabre retains his sense of humour and horror

  • O-ster

    A tough judge!! It was very special yet again with a triple guitar assault!!

  • Michael Marshall

    Slower ? Sorry mate but he has not and the voice barely changed . He delivers always and his peers know he is The Master. When last he came he had a double bill with Motley Crue and he blew them offstage ! I have seen Alice I think seven maybe eight times maybe more as I see him overtime he tours Down Under and I have taken friends and family and they all come away saying Man he is amazing considering his age and so on and the band he carries is brilliant. I love Ryan Roxie he is rock solid and Nita is far better than Orinathi and Sobel a power drummer and of course the Aussie part Tommy Hendrickson ! To me the only downside is POISON . I have have never liked it but it is the mandatory return to the top song and a muster the trained seals in the crowd. Alice will be here long after many have gone to the Retirement Home !