Alice Cooper/The Cult –

Resorts World Arena, Birmingham, Wednesday, 30th May, 2022

Set List: Sun King/Automatic Blues/Sweet Soul Sister/Soul Asylum/Edie (Ciao Baby)/Aphrodisiac/Jacket/Lil' Devil/Wild Flower/Fire Woman/Revolution/Rain/She Sells Sanctuary/Love Removable Machine.

COULD THIS BE AN ELECTRIC DREAMTIME?

I was looking forward to seeing The Cult, particularly as I am a great fan of the ‘Love’ album. Ian Astbury started proceedings by telling the audience to stand up with words like, ‘It’s a f*ck*ng rock concert!’

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From this point on, though well received, I found the performance below par, with Astbury failing to really engage the crowd. ‘Sun King’ got us up and running but for me the sound was way too low to create real impact.

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I would go as far as saying it took to the 7th song ‘Lil Devil’ before the volume was increased and things really got moving. From here in they couldn’t fail really as the rest of the set got everyone dancing. ‘Revolution’ was a highlight and Astbury and Co. rocked to the finish line with great renditions of ‘Rain’ and ‘She Sells Sanctuary'.

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It has to be a difficult job opening for the greatest rock showman in the business, but The Cult just didn’t cut it for me on the night. I guess there will be plenty who disagree. Maybe it was the size of the venue? I even found the frontman's between song banter annoying.

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The performance concluded with ‘Love Removable Machine’. Now we waited for the legendary Alice Cooper!

Set List: Nightmare Castle/Feed My Frankenstein/No More Mr. Nice Guy/Bed Of Nails/Hey Stoopid/Fallen In Love/Shut Up And Rock/Go Man Go/Under My Wheels/Guitar Solo/Roses On White Lace/I'm Eighteen/Poison/Billion Dollar Babies/Black Widow Jam/Steven/Dead Babies/I Love The Dead/Escape/Teenage Frankenstein/School's Out.

WELCOME TO HIS NIGHTMARE!

Just how this man does it I don’t know. For God’s sake, he is 74 years old! His performance and stage craft are incredible: it must be down to all his golf! Giant illuminated curtains hid the stage, with massive Cooper eyes which glowed red. Then bang! A nightmare castle is unveiled as we launch into ‘Feed My Frankenstein’.

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Alice immediately hits his stride, his enormous personality filling the stage like a giant! ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’ follows and even though we are not worthy we are eating out of his hands. ‘Bed Of Nails’ has us all singing along as the pure macabre theatre of the greatest rock villain unfolds.

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I have a negative, it is the only one, why doesn’t Alice use giant screens? There is so much happening and I suspect those towards the back have little chance of seeing all the creatures that live in the nightmare castle.

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Moving on, the whole group are in perfect sync as they back the main man. Each one engages and performs with expertise to an already enraptured, captivated crowd. ‘Hey Stoopid’ leads into two songs from ‘Detroit Stories’ his most recent outing. ‘Shut Up And Rock’ and ‘Go Man Go’, both are a welcome additions to the madness we are witnessing.

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Then it’s back in time to an excellent rendition of ’Under My Wheels’. At this point I have to mention the stunning Nita Strauss, not only is she an incredible player her looks give yet another dynamic to the show.

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This far in and we have had monsters galore, incredible guitar solos and instrumentation, judging by the faces around me we are all pretty much ecstatic! Alice climbs the ramparts and belts out ‘Roses On White Lace’ with his wife in a blood splattered dress. Now it’s time for ‘I’m Eighteen’ with our hero lurching across the stage with crutches.

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‘Poison’ leads us into the stratosphere as the atmosphere increases in this wild castle of delight. A superb ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ gets us showered with dollar bills, as Alice patrols the stage with a frighteningly sharp sword, pointing and playfully playing with us before he plunges it into a baby!

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An extended jam by Chuck Garric (Bass) and Guitarists, Ryan Roxie, Tommy Henriksen and Nita Strauss incorporates a superb drum solo by Glen Sobel, which leads us into the nightmare world of ‘Steven’, ‘You’ve only lived a minute of your life, I must be dreaming, please stop screaming’ Steven!

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Our collective journey of entertaining horror is reaching the climax as Alice utters ‘I Love The Dead’ and we know what is coming next: the Guillotine! And his resurrection! He is after all such a wicked young man! ‘Escape’ and ‘Teenage Frankenstein’ sees the second coming then it is party time with confetti, balloons and everyone singing ‘Schools Out’!

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ALICE COOPER and his band still rule the worlds stage. He is the ultimate performer. His voice and personality a thing of wonder in top hat and tails that conducts his crowd, with a baton, like a ringmaster.

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Everyone needs to experience at least one night with Mr Cooper.

By Paul Rhino Mace