Originally Published: June 03, 1998

Alice Cooper

London Astoria 1998

Author: Ray Zell

Alice Cooper
Backyard Babies

The Astoria, London Tuesday, May 26

YAWN. THIS whole Backyard Babies thing really is becoming a bore. The seismic Swedes storm on, rip the place apart with a chain reaction of feedback linked nitro-fuelled sleazed-out rock 'n' roll and leave the stage triumphant. Again.

From the Backyard variety to the billion dollar one. Yeah, start spreading the news; ol' blue eyes is dead and ol' black eyes is back. Alice Cooper. With no new ┬Ěproduct' to push, the anti-hero Cooperstar appears to be invading Europe with his 'Rock 'n' Roll Carnival' for nothing other than the best reason of all - the sheer hell of it.

A bunch of broom toting Ronald McDonald impersonators sweep the stage, before some imposing guitar wielding types stroll on, causing the inane clown pussies to flee for their lives. Then, fists raised in victory of his own entrance, Alice appears. The crowd holler their unworthiness, as Alice hits 'em with the double- barrelled intro of 'Hello, Hooray'/'Sideshow'. Standard live classics 'No More Mr Nice Guy' and 'Be My Lover' (plus snake!) follow, with surprises in store a la 'Public Animal Number 9' and a painstakingly epic 'Halo Of Flies'. To say nothing of the encore bonus of Elvis classic ~Jailhouse Rock'...!

It sounds great. Yet, as usual, Alice's 'band' are the latest faceless employable longhairs, except that is, for one Mr Pete Friesen. The guitarist who left the Coop troupe circa 'Trash' to join the Almighty, is now hack in the fold. And Pete's face is a picture of tortured delight as he wrenches out guitar embellishments 'just like on the records'.

I'm looking good, preens rock relic Alice And he knows it. Yeah, he's old enough to be your dad, but then, when did your old man ever inspire such scum as the Sex Pistols, Guns N' Roses and Marilyn Manson?

An eight-year-old kid in Alice make-up sings along, word perfect, to 'I'm Eighteen'. In thirty years time he'll be back singing along to 'I'm Eighty'. Believe it.