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Originally Published: October 1987
Author: Dave Ling
The nightmare returns! Alice Cooper is back and, boy, is he mad. The album kicks off with a real piledriving anthem called 'Freedom', obviously penned with those dickheads at the PMRC in mind. The intensity of this song is almost frightening, and as you can tell when Alice screams the words "This ain't Russia" that he's pointing a two-fingered salute to those who would advocate censorship in rock.
And rock's definitely what this album is. On another song, he's busy proclaiming "If you don't like it you can look me up", while Kane Roberts' guitar slashes like a razor.
This is a heavier album than Alice's last effort, 'Constrictor', but the songs are equally convincing. Kane leads the backing band but he's manfully supported by Fifth Angel's Kenny Mary on drums, and bassist, Kip Winger. Together, they're capable of reaping some serious havoc. Full marks to producer Michael Wagener for making them sound so explosive. The pretenders had better beware. Alice is in top form here, and second best just ain't gonna do.
....The Hells Angels were out in force too, and took over (and I mean that) security for the Alice Cooper set. NOBODY threw bottles at Alice.
....After a brilliant set on Saturday night, Francis Rossi sat in the dressing room cursing the Reading Festival programme which shows the backs of Rossi and Rick Parfitt, in typical Quo pose, with Alice Cooper learing through the middle. They felt that whoever did the artwork had helped Alice upstage them.
Never mind Francis, if you had turned to the back page, you would have seen you faces!
....Status Quo and Alice Cooper were waging something of a personal battle throughout the weekend. Apparently, the gate on Saturday was slightly lower than expected, while the walk-up gate (i.e. The number of people who bought tickets on the day) set a new record on Sunday for Reading. Promoters generally though, are finding that punters are unwilling anymore to buy expensive tickets too far in advance and are confidant enough with open-air festivals that they will gain admittance on the day of the event itself.
The battle between Quo and Alice was waged even on stage, with both acts turning in sets that were probably among their best.
The reaction to the Alice Cooper set the following night was as euphoric. The Cooper camp had been excited about the event the whole day, and Alice even hosted a pre-gig party. The significance of the day, of course, was that this would be the laat performance ever of the Welcome To My Nightmare show, and Alice and band were intent on making it the best.
Arguably, it ranked with his finest performances. It was the same over-the-top show witnessed ay Wembley Arena last year, with the same set and the same threatening personnel. Alice, of course, has spawned many clones, and he was out to show that, even without the booze, he was still king.
In Kane Roberts, he has uncovered a thrilling lead guitarist and we look forward to the fruits of that particular collaboration for years to come. It was a chilling hard rock set that had the audience enthralled from the start, and showed once more that Alice is at his best live. A superlative hard rock exhibitionist.
From the minute that the lights go up for the beginning of Alice Cooper's show you know that the man is sick. The distorted and warped intro tape that preceeds the show is the kind that horror movie makers love to use. An innocent child's nursery rhyme type song, leading the listener/viewer into a false sense of security whilst the mad axeman stalks up etc. etc. Alice was using what looked like basically the same set as he did at his Wembley show, but from the distance that I saw stage he could have bitten the head off a chicken and I wouldn't have seen it. Nevertheless, you could tell what was going on as Alice went through his much loved routine.
Treading that thin line between theatrics and vulgar obscenity, Alice proceeded to entertain everyone with knives, swords, dolls and guillotines. What was noticeable at Reading is that Kane Roberts has muscled in a bit more. He started off low key (how low key can a monster like that be?) and then started giving the impression that it's not just the Alice Cooper show, but the Cooper-Roberts spectacle and that is hammered home when you see how closely Kane has written with Alice. Both are splatter movie freaks and that was obvious onstage as Alice generally mutilated anything that came his way. I couldn't see all that much and therefore concentrated on the music. Each number a classic and well worth belting out.
If there was one thing that I wanted to see and marvel at that was Kenny Mary's drumstick routine. It's fascinating to watch that guy throw sticks up to fifteen feet in the air, catch them as they tumble and then get straight back to drumming without losing the pace. I'd go as far as seeing Fifth Angel just to see that.
Alice hasn't lost anything on 'Raise Your Fist And Yell'. It's classic Alice and the crowd loved it as much as they adored all the older Cooper classics.