Well I'm just back from the second night of the UK tour that is Monsters of Rock. Sections of the first night (at Wembley) along with interviews were broadcast on Total Rock last night but the sound wasn't that great. Tonight was much better as I experienced almost the whole thing live in the flesh.
I arrived at Brighton Centre just as opening act the Dogs D'Amour were finishing their first number. I've never seen them before and they were much rockier than I imagined from the couple of haphazard albums I own (but have hardly played). They were also much more together than I expected considering their history of drinking and rebel rousing. Tyla could have been recovering from such an escapade as when he removed his shirt part way through the set the tattoos on his left side were hidden by several strips of surgical tape. That didn't stop him giving his all though.
The (London) Quireboys followed and played for about ten minutes longer than the openers half hour set. More barroom in style the tunes did merge a little into one with just the more famous ones standing out - Hey You, 7 O'Clock and /Here she goes again in particular. singer Spoke seemed a little merrier than Tyla and complained about the lack of Newcy Brown onstage. Not being one to turn down a free drink though that didn't stop him taking regular slurps of the lager that was provided of course. While neither of those acts were ones I would class as 'Monsters of Rock' I suppose someone had to open the bill and they certainly helped get the large percentage of youngsters in the audience going.
Following on were the band that really helped pull this tour together in more ways than one - Danny Bowes being the inspirational idea man that suggested and helped organise it as well as fronting the first of the major names on the bill - Thunder. Just a matter of weeks ago I'd seen both Danny and guitarist Like Morley perform a show that featured their own solo material which was rather funkier than thunder. Tonight though they were back with the final line-up of that band to complete the warm-up with 50 minutes of classic blues rocking tunes and at least one from their newly recorded EP. After Welcoming us to the Party Danny diverted the audience via some Low Life in High Places before taking a detour over some Higher Ground to a Backstreet Symphony where Love Walked In to find some Dirty Love. Surprisingly they gained no encore and almost as soon as they departed the stage Harry James drumkit followed to be replaced by something far larger which remained hidden beneath a black cloth.
As the lights dimmed for the headline act the mass of hot bodies had crushed those of us near the front into a sweaty scrum. It erupted in voice and arm motion as the legend that is Alice Cooper appeared atop the now clothless podium slipped between keyboard and drum riser. Beginning with a medley of title tracks and others from the last two albums Alice moved and postured around the stage in a variety of garbs which changed almost as frequently as the song did. Ten minutes into the set it was as if a timewarp had hit Brighton and we were all swept back to when we were Eighteen and then Alice Welcome(d us) to his Nightmare before Go(ing) to Hell to discover some Billion Dollar Babies. It was all so smooth that the forcing forwards of the guitarists for solos with a sabre at their back seemed so natural. It was with that thought that you wondered if you too had become a Teenage Frankenstein?
With the classics well and truly updated it was back to more recent material and more changes of costume (General's hat) and the introduction of the sexily suspendered Nurse Rozetta. She soon met an unpleasant end at the hands of a demented Alice who then turned his attention to the pram, first rocking it, and lamenting Dead Babies before discovering it contained the two headed Dwight Fry. He too soon met a sticky end and we were once again back in that 70's timewarp where the familiar anthem proved Alice was No More Mr Nice Guy. And so the modern alternated with the past and a large proportion of the tunes you know were played out before the audiences disbelieving eyes. Needless to say the climax of the set was when Alice returned from the dead (guillotined tonight) and became Elected tot he Department of youth via a trip to see his friend Cold Ethyl.
If you've not seen Alice before or, as in my case for over ten years, I suggest you get to one of the remaining shows and experience what has to be the best stageshow of the year.
Full reports to follow later today.
The complete tour dates are:
16 Nov 2002 -
London Wembley Arena ,