New Musical Express

New Musical Express - 19th July 1997

New Musical Express
(July 19, 1997)

Originally Published: July 19, 1997

Concert Review

Alice Cooper
London WC2 Astoria

"'SCHOOL'S OUT'... er...that one with the snake in the video or something... er... 'All You Young Dudes'... no, that's wrong... er..."

Such is the usual response when you, The Kids, are asked the question 'What Alice Cooper songs do you know?' But you learnt at an early age that Alice is not a woman, and is therefore 'contraversial', and does silly things with dangerous animals, executes babies onstage or something, and has a face like a roasted prune which a schoolboy has used as blotting paper.

It may come as some surprise, then, to learn that Alice's new show, to celebrate his live 'best of...' LP 'A Fistful Of Alice', is said to be playing down the schlock-horror cartoon theatrics and concentrating on the music. I mean, isn't that like Melinda Messenger going on tour to talk about quantum physics?

Thankfully not, since Alice's intrinsic ludicrousness goes deeper than mere artifice. Songs like 'No More Mr Nice Guy', 'Only Women Bleed' and 'Feed My Frankenstein' are joyous lowest common denominator daft-fests that you can only chant only with. And while he looks pretty fit for a man of near pensionable age, the irony of 'I'm Eighteen' is positively celebrated. By several hundred taxi drivers here who have stayed loyal from the first time round, and still squeeze their beer guts into his T-shirts.

Mind you, even they start nodding off when the middle part of the set sinks into the glam metal mire of mediocrity (twin guitar and drum solos, while Alice goes off for emergency oxygen, presumably).

He just stay serious that long, though, and soon enough we have the spectacle of four roadies in biker gear with baseball bats and chains as a gang attacking our hero. He beats them all off with his funny silver cane thingy, only for men in white coats to put him in a straitjacket, which he writhes about in for a while, then escapes out of, kills the doctor, and comes back as Frankenstein. Even though he still looks like Fagin in drag. Now that, children, is what we call heavy entertainment. And you know it makes nonsense.