Get On This:

Alice Cooper, Ugly Kid Joe & Duff McKagan’s loaded – Civic Halls, 25th October 2012

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Tonight’s lineup started with Duff McKagan’s loaded. I hadnt listened to anything by them before so was looking forward to seeing them. I have to admit to being slightly sceptical though – when a band needs to rely on the name of one of the members then that’s usually not a good sign, but that’s not always the case so I was curious to see how good they were.
Musically they reminded me of Iggy Pop -a mix of rock and punk.  I did enjoy their set and they went down fairly well with the crowd for most of the set but a lot better when they played the Guns’n’Roses track “it’s so easy” at the end of their set.

Rating: 6.5/10

Next up were Ugly kid joe – another band I was seeing for the first time. I’d heard excellent reports from friends who’d seen them recently so was really looking forward to their set despite only knowing two of their songs. They really impressed right from the start witha  real high energy performance with all the band leaping and running around the stage.  Singer Whit Crane leaped into the photo pit and shook hands with a load of fans at the front before effortlessly leaping back on stage.  That wasn’t enough excitement for him though and mid-song he climbed onto the speakers then jumped up onto the balcony where he carried on singing as he made a lap of the venue before leaping back down to the stage.  The crowd really responded well to the bands music and energetic performance, and thre was plenty of cheering and applause between songs.  The best reactions though, predictably, were reserved for the final songs in the set – “Cat’s In The Cradle” and “Everything about you” which saw large parts of the crowd singing along.  A great performance that really got the fans warmed up for Alice Cooper.

Rating: 9/10

Before Alice Cooper came on there was a fancy dress competition with the half dozen or so contestants who had been picked out of the crowd earlier being lined up on stage for the audience to vote on who had the best costume for Halloween.

After that short distraction it was time for the main event – Alice Cooper.  For this tour Alice Cooper has once again changed his show, so its a completely different setlist and stage show than when he played at Bloodstock in August.  This constant updating of the show means you can go and see him perform every year and see something different each time.  Tonight instead of opening with The Black Widow atop a moving staircase, the show opens with “Hello Hooray” with the band standing at the back of the stage with a curtain of sparks falling from the lighting rig as Alice Cooper strides out.
Alice Cooper is a seasoned professional who knows how to put on a great show and his band are certainly up to the job too and as well as playing extremely well, move around and interact well with each other and with the crowd, so the spotlight isnt on Alice the entire time.
While the show changes regularly there are certin elements that remain – throwing out necklaces during “Dirty diamonds”, scattering banknotes from his sword during “Billion Dollar Babies” or being placed in a straightjacket.
On the last tour a “photographer” came on stage before being impaled on a mic stand by Alice Cooper, but this time we get a nice variation on it – during “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” the photographer comes on stage before being dragged off by a machete wielding man in a hockey mask (like Jason in the Friday 13th movies).  There are other theatrics, but less than on some other tours.
At one point the stage goes dark and Alice’s voice is heard saying “The ’70s were hard on all my friends. The biggest names went down the hardest. They lived fast, they died young. They left their musical mark on all of us. I hung with them. I drank with them. I rocked with them. We were the Hollywood vampires. We ruled the night. Jim. John. Keith. Jimi. It’s time to raise the dead.”  What follows is a bunch of cover versions of songs by The Doors, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who. Orianthi was particularly impressive on guitar for the Hendrix cover.  While the covers are playing, gravestones are projected up behind the band with the names of the relevant dead band members on – a nice touch, and it also boosts that halloween feel.
As well as the curtain of sparks we get a few other bits of pyro during the show, but they don’t distract attention away from the show – very nicely done.
The set ends with a crowd pleasing hit – “Poison”, but obviously that’s not the end of the show – there’s still the encore.  Tonight’s encore is “Schools out” complete with a bit of Pink Floyds “Another brick in the wall”.  During the song streamers are fired out over the crowd, bubble machines pump bubbles into the air, and glitter filled beach-ball sized balloons are thrown out into the crowd – it gives a real party atmosphere and is a fantastic end to the night.  Another fantastic show from Alice Cooper.

Rating: 10/10

Setlist

Hello Hooray (Judy Collins cover)
House of Fire
No More Mr. Nice Guy
I’ll Bite Your Face Off
Be My Lover
Caffeine
Billion Dollar Babies
The Congregation
Hey Stoopid
Dirty Diamonds
Welcome to My Nightmare
Ballad of Dwight Fry
Go to Hell
He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)
Devil’s Food
Brutal Planet
Feed My Frankenstein
Break on Through (To the Other Side) – (The Doors cover)
Revolution – (The Beatles cover)
Foxy Lady – (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
My Generation – (The Who cover)
Under My Wheels
I’m Eighteen
Poison

Encore:
School’s Out (including part of “Another Brick In The wall)

Ant May
I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.