Alice Cooper + Airbourne + The MC50 | BEC | Feburary 18, 2020
There is only one Alice Cooper. Accept no substitutes. There is a good reason for the longevity of an artist of such caliber, he knows what amazing entertainment value is. After one night at one of his performances, you can't help but want to go back for more. It's infectious.
Leading off tonight are heavy hitters The MC50, what a combination of rock and blues. Not actually having these guys on my radar in the past is a mystery to me, but since watching them tonight, i want to explore their entire back catalogue. Kim Thayil on axe duties for this tour is just brilliant. The guy makes shredding look easy and he does it with quiet calm style. Couple this with some epic bass lines from Faith No More rhythm maestro Billy Gould and you've got such a tight sound that it has everyone groovin' in their seats.
Next up are Aussie hard rockers Airbourne. From start to finish, these guys run around the stage while delivering some damn loud tunes that drill you to the core. Frontman Joel O'Keeffe has a voice so powerful that it's parallel with the late Bon Scott. The guy is just amazing to listen to and to watch. Standing everywhere from the top of the stacks on stage to the middle of the crowd, he simply does not stop. If you see these guys on the bill of any show, get to that show, you will not be disappointed.
As we wait for the main spectacle, a huge blue curtain is put up to shroud the set up of everything that goes into an Ol' Black Eyes performance. As the BEC plunges into darkness, the PA system erupts with the intro to 'Feed My Frankenstein', and the crowd goes absolutely mental. Seeing so much of what goes into this production so early on in the set, it's hard to imagine that the whole show will be equal in its value. But it is, and so much more. As Alice moves into 'No More Mr. Nice Guy', he manages to direct his lyrics at each and every person in the crowd, making it feel so much more than just another rock show.
Progressing through the set list, they play every song that you'd hope to hear. From 'Muscle of Love' right through to 'Poison' and 'Billion Dollar Babies' there's not one song that disappoints his adoring plethora of fans. Adding to the massive production is a triple threat of axe work from Nita Strauss, Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henriksen. Simply put, these three fucking shred. All accomplished musicians in their own right, they add so many more layers to Coopers already solid tracks.
Well into the second half of the set, we are treated to one of the best drum solos that I have ever witnessed. Glen Sobel makes percussion look easy. Effortlessly bashing the skins he utilises every cymbal, every tom-tom and the double kick is pure perfection, it's easy to see why Alice has him on board. Couple this with Chuck Garric's core shaking bass lines and you have one hell of a rhythm section.
There's no real waiting between the end of the main set to the encore songs. As they come back on stage to thunderous applause, they launch straight into 'Department of Youth' (a personal favourite) and the whole crowd sings along to every single word. When that all too familiar riff of 'Schools Out' kicks into gear, you KNOW that this is not only the end of the show, but the best way to finish it off. Interlacing it with Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick In The Wall' gives fans just that little bit more bang for their buck. It's definitely the perfect way to cap off tonight's show.
We have seen everything, from giant inflatable babies to Cooper's signature beheading by guillotine, there's no denying that he puts on the best performance possible. It's showmanship like this that keeps fans returning for more each time he touches down in our country. If you see Ol' Black Eyes returning to our shores, be sure to buy a ticket as there's a good reason that he has influenced so many performers over the years.
All pictures (C) JD Punisher Photography