Alice Cooper @ Stone Free Festival 18/06/16


Rock day concludes, and Donnie just loves The Coop

Judging by the amount of Alice Cooper t-shirts that occupy the O2 Arena it’s clear who the majority of music lovers are here to see. That in itself is no surprise, he is the headliner after all and it is his only UK show of 2016.

However, the sheer ratio of rock t-shirts that bear the iconic image of Alice with full facial make-up compared to the other bands on the bill is astonishing. Best estimate is 8 to 1 in The Coop’s favour. No doubting who the folks are here to see then. So, on with the show.

If you’ve spent over 40 years entertaining the masses then you know how to make an entrance. “Black Widow” followed by “No More Mr. Nice Guy” is how Mr Cooper rolls. Throw in added bursts of fire and the show has well and truly begun.

Alice’s pet snake makes a cameo appearance for “Is It My Body” before our ringmaster of this macabre circus swaps a snake for a sword signalling the magnificent “Billion Dollar Babies”.

Despite the fact the man goes through more costume changes in a gig than a catwalk model goes through in a month the show never stops moving forward at anything less than formidable pace.

Following a rousing version of “Poison” the ringmaster turns conductor for a rocking instrumental interlude that heralds the coming of “Halo of Flies”. Once the band have allowed Alice another change its time for the mad scientist to appear and anyone who has followed Alice for the past twenty years knows what’s coming.

“Feed My Frankenstein” is a triumph complete with 12 foot Frankenstein’s monster roaming the stage as Alice suffers his first inevitable death of the evening.

Death though is not as permanent as it used to be as Alice has returned from the other side with a lady friend in tow, or over his shoulder and across his knee more accurately, and Ethyl is her name. She’s also a bit chilly.

“Only Women Bleed” sees Alice is a mournful and reflective mood shortly before dispatching a buxom damsel from whence she came, courtesy of a knife to the guttiwuts. He’s nothing if not honest though is our anti-hero and he hints heavily of his crimes with the track “Guilty”.

Fear not ladies for womankind will have her revenge as Alice is once again removed from his mortal coil minus his head. Tough to come back from that you’d think this side of Sleepy Hollow. However all that is required is the spirit of UK mod rock heroes The Who.

“Pinball Wizard” is as ferocious as it is unexpected. That said it sparks a trip down covers lane as Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire”, David Bowie classic “Sufragette City” and bassist Chuck Garric takes over vocal duties for the Motörhead standard “Ace Of Spades”. It’s a brilliant and fitting tribute to fallen comrades.

It’s a flawless triumvirate of “I’m Eighteen”, “School’s Out” and “Elected” that closes out the first day of the inaugural Stone Free Festival.

As one of the greatest showmen and performers in the history of popular music Alice Cooper has nothing to prove yet makes every show like his it’s his first. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

School’s Out London.

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