Metal Forces

Originally Published: December 1991

Wembley '91

Author: Jerry Ewing

Alice Cooper
Wembley Arena

When Alice Cooper becomes so old that he's wheelchair bound, he'll still be ready to take to the boards and try to wow a crowd. Cooper is the old guard, and I don't mean that disrespectfully. The eternal trooper with a burning desire to put on a show, and tonight, yet again, he puts on a show.

Some grumbled that it wasn't as good as the old days, and the wisdom of slotting him in for two nights at Wembley proved folly. But when he's not had a hit with an album that hasn't really received much record company support what do you expect. Two nights at Hammersmith would have proved a credible alternative!

Whatever, the show proved a hit with the half-full arena. It was bound to, with Cooper throwing out all the classics and modern hits and dressing it up in the usual macabre style.

Crowd pleasers like 'Under My Wheels', 'Billion Dollar Babies', 'No More Mr Nice Guy' and an excellently atmospheric 'Go To Hell' nestled happily alongside latterday hits like 'Poison', 'Trash', 'Bed Of Nails' and 'Hey Stoopid'. Only the theatrical lure of 'Wind Up Toy', which had Alice ensconsed in a barbed wire playpen came close to matching the onstage magic of old, but the band, featuring ex-Y&T guitarist Stef Burns and Badlands' old drummer Eric Singer held their own in admirable style.

As for Alice, he hammed it up in style. The glaring white top hat and tales for the anthemic 'Elected' contrasted with his leering performance of 'Sick Things', whilst 'Eighteen' was simply marvellous. One major surprise had to be the return of 'Only Women Bleed', a plaintive offering that shows even Alice has a soft heart!

But we knew that all along, didn't we? 'Cos as the arena erupted into a vibrant chorus of 'School's Out', everyone knew that if Alice was Metal's Horror Master throughout the '70s, in the '90s he's just a kindly old Uncle.

But at least it's all still fun!