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Review: Alice Cooper – Pavilions, Plymouth – 02/12/09

Band: Alice Cooper
Support: Manraze

Venue: Pavilions, Plymouth
Date: 02nd Dec 2009

Standing outside the venue I couldn’t help but notice that I didn’t really look the part. My faux-leather (plastic) jacket lacked the necessary studs and patches and my jeans weren’t nearly torn and faded enough. Don’t start me on the shoes I was wearing. Alice Cooper’s devoted minions, young and old, descended on Plymouth Pavilions covered in make-up to witness what I can only describe as ‘Goth Panto’, and neither they, nor I were disappointed.

Alice Cooper’s Theatre of Death tour is an incredible mix of music and magic. Throughout the performance Cooper, real name Vincent Furnier, strutted and snarled his way around the stage in a manner which was made all the more impressive when you consider that he’s now 61 years old! The show’s impressive theatrics were directed by Robert Jess Roth, who also directed the original stage production of Walt Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”. Roth and Cooper tell a story of four different Alices each killed off at the end of an ‘act’. I witnessed Cooper beheaded by a guillotine, hung from the gallows, given a lethal injection by the most demonic nurse you’ll ever see and finally trapped in a box while giant spikes were forced through his body. Each time he came back for more torture and all the time never taking a break from the music.

It was very tongue in cheek and I have to admit that at some points during the proceedings Christopher Biggins wouldn’t have looked out of place on stage. He was in the area at the time but I’m certain if Biggins were to find himself on stage he would meet his end in a suitably gruesome manner, like the ‘stage hand’ who was skewered on a mic stand.

It’s hard not to spend every inch of this column going on about the camp version of ‘Saw’ on stage but there was music being played as well. Honestly.

The support act was Man-Raze, who were Def Leppard’s Phil Collen (vocals, guitar); Paul Cook (drums), a founding member of The Sex Pistols and Simon Laffy (bass) who was a member of Collen’s pre-Leppard outfit, Girl. Enjoyable but they were a bit forgotten in anticipation of the main event.

Cooper’s band featured regulars Damon Johnson and Keri Kelli, guitars; Chuck Garric, bass and Jimmy deGrasso on drums. They sounded great but unfortunately the songs themselves did play second fiddle to the theatrics. This didn’t stop the fans singing (screaming and shouting) along to classics like ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’, ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’ and the simply unforgettable ‘Poison’. ‘Schools Out’ both opened and closed the show with the latter performance of the song being performed in an incredible silver sequined top hat and tails.

Alice Cooper is a charismatic performer, the songs were as good as the stage show and I enjoyed myself but have never been enough of a fan to truly appreciate how good it was but a man dressed as Garth from Wayne’s World told me that it was awesome. ‘We are not worthy’ indeed.

Reviewer/Photographer: Kris Hallam

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