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Originally Published: December 13, 1989
Author: Dave Dickson
22 November '89
Verdict: Still 'Legendary'.
Set List: 'Trash', 'Billion Dollar Babies', 'I'm Eighteen', 'I'm Your Gun', 'Desperado', 'No More Mr Nice Guy', 'This Maniac's In Love With You', 'Steven', 'Welcome To My Nightmare', 'The Ballad Of Dwight Fry', 'Gutter Cats Vs The Jets', 'Only Women Bleed', 'I Love The Dead', 'Poison', 'Muscle Of Love', 'Spark In The Dark', 'Is It My Body', 'House Of Fire', 'Bed Of Nails', 'School's Out'
Encores: 'Cold Ethyl', 'Under My Wheels'.
Alice Cooper is a worried man. Actually, no Vincent Furnier is a worried man. And the duality of Alice Cooper's on and off stage existance is important, particularly in this context. Alice escapes from the charming, civilised shell Furnier entraps him with and wreaks havoc before an audience. Last night, however, in Brussels, the opening date, more havoc was wreaked on the set than on the audience. They screwed it up and now the human face of Alice Cooper is worried.
For tonight's show, the whole middle section has been rewritten. Alice tells his assistant, Renfield, to remind the band that 'The Awakening' has been dropped as we drive from hotel to the gig. Alice, or maybe Furnier, slips back into silence. He looks as if sleep has eluded him. He knows that tonight, in front of a packed house, the show must run perfectly.
He needn't have worried. The show, 22 songs and 110 minutes long, although not without it's teething troubles, kicks the Alice Cooper tour into high gear after it's shaky start. The theatrics have been pared down for this show and Alice is now relying on the strength of his material - seven songs from the new album plus some long buried numbers - to win over his audience. That said, the middle section still has Alice caught in a street-fight during 'Gutter Cats Vs The Jets' (with it's nod to Leonard Bernstein and Steven Sondheim's musical 'West Side Story'), murdering the long-suffering Devon Meade before dishing out more physical abuse a the song turns into 'Only Women Bleed'. His retribution comes during 'I Love The Dead' as Madame La Guillotine does her work.
But the earlier 'Steven'/ 'Welcome To My Nightmare' / 'Ballad Of Dwight Fry' set piece, where Alice is set upon by deranged doctors and a nurse and dragged off stage, is less successful where a video screen has to be employed to allow the audience to see the action.
Yet the restrained Dutch audience clearly enjoys the sight of Alice stabbing a bank role of Guilders during 'Billion Dollar Babies'. And later, after Alice's severed head has been proudly displayed to the throng, as the lights dim and the smoke snakes out, Al Pitrelli's primal guitar screech whips the audience back into the present with 'Poison' and a returning Alice, head back on his shoulders.
The lights and stage setting - huge stalactites and stalagmites - added greatly to the atmospherics as Alice rides the interplay between illumination and darkness. The message, in short, is that Alice Cooper has put together a hard, fast and potent Rock'n'Roll band to tour the halls of Europe with a show that fuses the best of old and new.
After the show, Alice Cooper, or possibly Vincent Furnier, emerges from his dressing room smiling. It was a good show, he know it, and it can only get better. Both Alice Cooper and Vincent Furnier will sleep easier tonight....