(July 20, 2000)
Originally Published: July 20, 2000
Author: Max Bell
Manchester Apollo Rating: *
He shocked middle-America by adopting the name of an old witch, wearing hideous makeup, cavorting with a snake and decapitating chickens onstage.
Later on he took up golf, hung out with Bob Hope in Palm Springs, befriended Groucho Marx and was immortalised in Wayne's World with the tag line "we are not worthy".
That's right, it isn't Cliff Richard, it's Alice Cooper and yesterday he was back in a geriatric haunt filled with black-clad acolytes, desperate for School's Out, Eighteen and No More Mr Nice Guy. Actually 52-year-old Vincent Furnier should know school doesn't finish until next week; but then he's also renowned for being a helluva pleasant fella, so we needn't take anything he says too literally.
Some people believe Alice holds up a mirror to society, albeit a cracked one. I reckon he's just having a cackle at the entertainment business's expense. How else to explain the leather and the decision to inflict his latest magnum opus, Brutal Planet, on an audience barely coming to terms with the invitation Welcome To My Nightmare?
Still pretending to be every inch the pantomime gothic anti-hero, Cooper strutted and spat apocalypse in front of a Spinal Tap wet dream of fake skulls, decaying 'scrapers and polyurethane stuff that looked like it had been hastily painted black for a "scary" am dram convention.
Theatrical absurdities aside, the ageless Alice was in fine fettle, teasing the metallic hordes with a villainy that didn't ring true in a venue where you can't bring in a beer in a plastic cup. Having convinced everyone that we live on a horrible bit of rock the agitated Alice spun into his hits with a snake charmer's glee. He won't get elected today but I'll wager you'll find him at St Andrew's tomorrow, cheering on Tiger Woods.