The legendary Alice Cooper came back to the UK with the Ol’ Black Eyes is Back Tour and tonight he’s in London’s O2 Arena on the 10th October 2019 to celebrate 50 years since his first Alice Cooper album release. With exclusive support from The Stranglers and Wayne Kramer’s MC50, it’s certain to be a shock-rocking night.
American rockers MC50 kicked things off tonight with a bluesy back to basics rock’n’roll set. Wayne Kramer stole the show as the set featured superb solos and relentless energy. He didn’t just play his guitar, he and his band put on a triumphant performance and kept the audience on their toes. The crowd cheering came naturally as they shouted song titles before they were even played. Up next was punk pioneers The Stranglers who had the crowd divided. I’m guessing the younger generation were not too keen, whereas the older fans crooned along to the likes of “Golden Brown” and a heavy rendition of Dionne Warwick’s classic “Walk On By.”
Those icon black eyes filled the stage as the anticipation grew stronger while we waited for the arrival of the shock rock icon, the one and only Alice Cooper. The stage darkened as we were welcomed to his nightmare castle and was doomed as soon as Cooper strutted on stage brandishing his trademark cane. The 71-year-old wanted his insatiable libido fed as the band exploded into “Feed My Frankenstein” and with a quick whip of the jacket the outfit change was instant for “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” Well known over the decades for his brilliancy and horror theatrics, “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” the audience witnessed a thrilling performance of a selfie-taking girl being murdered by ‘Jason.’ This comes as no shock to long-standing Cooper fans, it’s expected and Cooper’s entire performance is perfectly executed in true frightful style.
It’s not just the visual aspect of an Alice Cooper show, he is surrounded by a legion of stellar musicians who delivered this rock’n’roll masterclass with finesse. Bass player Chuck Garric, thunderous drummer Glen Sobel and three remarkable guitarists Tommy Henriksen, Ryan Roxie, and the unstoppable Nita Strauss each showcased their talents during the band only jam. She’s called Hurricane Nita for good reason. The axewoman stormed the stage from the outset headbanging, throwing out tasteful screaming solos and generally raising the seated audience’s pulses, especially during her solo performance. She really is a force to be reckoned with!
Tonight’s set comprised of the usual live staples we expect such as “I’m Eighteen” and “Poison” which proved to be the biggest anthem of the night as it triggered a huge mass sing-along from the civilised crowd. The heart-stopping performance of “Dead Babies / I Love The Dead” saw Cooper hypnotize the crowd with the menacingly butchering of a baby (doll) while dressed in a straight jacket, and the show wouldn’t be an AC show without the scare of the guillotine as we witnessed the beheading of Cooper. Fans didn’t have to wait long for the encore “Under My Wheels” and “School’s Out” which featured a fantastic mash-up of “Another Brick In The Wall” (Pink Floyd) and of course the giant inflatable balls were released provoking a volleyball reaction. It was a standing ovation and it is clear in 2019 that Alice Cooper has the ability to mesmerize the crowd the same way he did in the ’70s.
Review by Nadira Cee | Photos by Fernando Bonenfant