Originally Published: July 15, 2000

Seminal hard rocker invades Germany

Author: Ray Zell

Alice Cooper
Stadthalle, Offenback
Tuesday, June 27th


Five modes of transport (underground and overground train, plane, coach and taxi!) your Kerrang! team went through to bring you this report from a German town that looks like it - gets sandblasted clean on a daily basis, takes recycling very seriously, and appears to have more shops selling lethal combat knives than it does supermarkets. But that's what Alice Cooper thrives on. That little twist. That pile of dog shit in the middle of the perfect garden.

Alice's 21st studio album 'Brutal Planet' is a sluggish affair which, unfortunately, sees Alice ditch vibrant rock guitars for the kind of lumbering techno-crunch riffs that are 10-a-penny these days. Yeah, the elected cuts work better live, but I wouldn't bet major dosh on many of them seeing the light of day on future tours. 'Pick Up The Bones', with an eerliy lit-from-below Alice placing skeletal remains in a pillowcase fair sends shivers down the spine. But while these moments of, 'Yeah, now that's Alice' are few, they are also precious and awe-inspiring.

The image of Alice gently rocking a pushchair while vocalising the disturbing 'Dead Babies', is like, wooooh. Seriously. But then, around these instances you've also got to contend with the naff Dr Frankenstein's lad meets post-apocalyptic wasteland stage-set and a band - featuring ex-Kiss drummer Eric Singer - who swing from catching the near-garage brillance of some classic Cooper rockers, to making others sound like total bozo cheese metal. Amazingly one of the best reactions of the night, is for 'Poison'! Go figure.

Ah, but once the skimpy 'Brutal Planet' concept disolves halfway through, the set really picks up pace. Before 'It's The Little Things', Alice does an ultra-rare between-song rap. Storming up and down while contemptuously detailing the accounts of an escalating bad day, he culminated by halting centre stage, pointing in to the front row, and booming, "And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse... somebody down here is wearing a Kiss T-shirt!&qupt; Singer on the drums doesn't even flinch.

By the set's conclusion, staples like 'Elected' and 'Under My Wheels' and a surprise like 'You Drive Me Nervous' and 'Hot Tonight', have all come together to provide you with a solid and fleshy fistful of Alice. So it would seem that fun is not dead. With Alice, dead is fun. Sometimes.