Newcastle Entertainment Centre
Tuesday October 24, 2017 :
Having arrived late due to leaving my camera gear at home on the lounge, and having to do an hour round trip to ensure that I shot Alice, I walk into the Newcastle Entertainment Centre to find the show was going to be fully seated. Not what I expected at all. I manage to catch the final throws of Ace Frehley’s support spot with the KISS guitarist delivering impressing covers of said band’s ‘Detroit Rock City’ and ‘Deuce’ as the closer. The crowd was quite reserved, to be honest.
With a curtain of Alice’s glowing eyes hiding the stage, we are welcomed to “Spend the Night” with the king of shock rock, eight year since his last played at this same venue. The curtain dropped, and we are presented with Alice, standing proud in front of a shower of fireworks. For an artist who has been doing his thing, his style of live performance for longer than most of us have been alive, it was great to see just how vital many of the songs in tonight’s setlist are. Though the Alice Cooper stage show has lost much of the “shock and awe” that the ’70s performances would have received, the musicianship and delivery tonight was top shelf.
Tonight’s setlist was a pretty good slice through the Cooper career. The night begins with the industrial dirge of ‘Brutal Planet’, before diving back 40+ years with ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’, ‘Under My Wheels’ and the crowd-rising ‘Department of Youth’.
What I was not expecting to hear was ‘Pain’, an album cut from 1980’s Flush the Fashion. I’m pretty sure many tonight would not have hear this one before, but for myself it stopped me in my tracks. I bought the album at the time of release, and I loved it even though it sounded very different from what Cooper fans were expecting. From memory, nobody bought it.
‘Billion Dollar Babies’ is such a great rock song, and man, I needed to get my hands on one of those dollar bill. I’ve decided that ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ is best heard live, and ‘Only Women Bleed’ has to be one of the best ballads ever written. Just saying.
We finish up the main set with a still very cool guillotine act, and the track that was Alice’s first hit, 1970’s ‘I’m Eighteen’. It’s pretty amazing that a song that was written 47 years ago is still closing a set. It’s only a short break and we get bubbles, balloons, confetti and ‘School’s Out’ for our soundtrack home.
Pretty damn good show I must say.
Reviewer and Photographer : Kevin Bull