Originally Published: November 27, 2002
Author: Bill Auckland
BEHEADING Britney Spears on stage? Now that's a hard act to follow. Countless would-be shock rockers have tried to follow Alice Cooper. But after 30 years he's still a king (queen?) of darkness, strutting his stuff long after good little pop idols have gone to bed. He's wielding his sword, butchering effigies of babies on stage and having himself guillotined. It would be great to see Will or Gareth try to copy that one. Vince Furnier created his monster Alice 3o-odd years ago, draping himself in live snakes and singing of death, addiction and - horror of horrors - adolescence. A generation of parents worldwide were scandalised. These days everyone recognises it as just a fine piece of over-the-top rock theatre. And many parents took their youngsters along to the Arena to see. Bet they'll not be bothered about watching Fame Academy after this. School's Out was a fist-in-the-air anthem of rebellion when I was an awkward 1970s teenager. It was intriguing to see a pair of this year's sophisticated Sheffield sixth formers bobbing along to him still. Of course, all this evil plays the devil with a man's voice, but Alice has the potent force of followers backing him. A pair of blisteringly good guitarists, one of whom could play a riff while booting the executioner who had just "topped" his master. Thunderous drums and keyboards and a slick, polished stage and light show. There's a lot of irony. Eighteen sums up a troubled teenager perfectly, even sung by a bloke in his fifties. And although No More Mr Nice Guy is one of his anthems, by all accounts that's exactly what he is. I Wanna Be Elected? America could do worse.
Footnote: Sorry folks that wasn't the real Britney Spears, Alice beat up and beheaded. No pop stars - or babies were slaughtered in the making of this show.