Originally Published: September 1997
Author: Grahame Bent
So Alice returns... again. With this, the latest in a long line of stunning resurrections, rock's greatest golfer and Vincent Price obsessive is back in business for the umpteenth time, but now with a decidedly notable twist in the tail, as the godhead of theatrical rock takes his 'strictly no frills' show on an intimate tour of Blighty's smaller halls. So, no gallows, no guillotine and no electric chair, but by and large, it's a ploy that plays off handsomely, meaning that the close-up capacity crowd are more than up for whatever delights the master cares to lay on them.
As the consumate showman, Alice never misses a trick - he gives himself away as resolutely '70s, old skool rock biz by the way he intones, "Hey Glass Cow", as a prelude to communing with his public - not for him your regular common or garden 'Glasgow'. That's the stuff of mere mortals, not rock icons, and ol' AC never let's you forget he's the latter. With the show taking the form of a 'best of Alice' package modelled on the recent 'A Fistful Of Alice' live album, the setlist follows a course through the highs, the lows and the plain mediocre that come hand in hand with a career fast approaching the 30 year mark.
On the upside, things start out as good as it gets with the almost timeless 'Under My Wheels', slickly followed by 'I'm Eighteen', 'Billion Dollar Babies' and, best of all, the long lost 'Desperado', introduced as per the live album as 'a song I wrote for Jim Morrison a long time ago'. On the mediocre side, there's the vacuous, pump your fist stomp of 'Lost In America', the comic book nonsense of 'Feed My Frankenstein' and sadly, a well lacklustre 'No More Mr Nice Guy'.
But enough of this negative talk; an evening with Alice Cooper without at least a touch of stagey dramatics is virtually impossible. So far, all this is billed as strictly minimal theatrics, but when it comes to the crunch, Alice proves he can't kick the habits of a lifetime. 'Gutter Cats Vs The Jets' sees the usual gang fight unfold on stage, while 'Killer' comes complete with AC's likewise familiar, Houdini style escape from the strait jacket. All that was left was 'School's Out', 'Elected', house lights to full, and another miraculous comeback safely in the bag. (8)