Can anyone who were at Wembley please confirm that no furry, cute animals were hurt during this concert?
Another Cooper article for you – and yes, I think this is number 10, so now there`s a lot of stuff on this blog for you Alice Cooper fans. Personally, I can`t hide my admiration for the guy, and anyone who thinks that he is all show and no substance should take a listen to any of his albums made in the 70s, 80s and 90s. One of the greatest artists of our time – and that is the end of a very short discussion – so there!
Night of the Coopertroopers
Alice does it one more time for Great Britain`s own Dept. of Youth, and Alice does it good
Report: Kate Phillips
Pics: Kate Simon
You missed it? You missed Alice`s new show?
Better let me tell you all about it, kid, else ain`t no-one in school gonna talk to you.
Well for starters nearly missed it myself, waiting for my girlfriend to turn up, and when I arrive there`s this really keen bunch of little guys called The Kids up there, and I`m real sorry I didn`t catch more of their act, cos it looks like everyone was having a real good time.
The littlest guy of all was wearing this huge grey plastic mac and getting his head kicked in by the other guys, but it didn`t bother him any: he just got up and rushed to and fro across the stage begging us to get up on our feet and cheer the band, even if it was only for two minutes, cos he and the other guys would like it so much.
So naturally we all get up and cheer.
Then this deejay-type cat comes on and says we`re all being filmed tonight, and this is an idea I can really dig, being on a movie with the big A.
And he says all the stage cats are gonna work real hard, and in about twenty minutes it`ll be time for ALICE!!!
So we all get up and cheer some more.
And then I got time to look around, and I see these truly monster little Coopertroopers in front of me, with eye-black and the hats and the badges and all, and I start conversing with these cats who are truly cool and dig Alice so much that they paid three times the proper price to get in. (And I`d just like to say hi right now to Chris and Phil and Stud and Shane and Nick from groovy Buxton College, Chesterfield, – love and spiders, boys).
So me and these cats have just finished working out how we`re gonna rush the stage when Alice does “Department of Youth”, which is like our song, you dig, and we wanna let him know how we appreciate it, when out go the lights and up comes the curtain and there`s this weirdo contraption in the middle of the stage, looking something like a tree and something like a little birdie`s cage, only we know it is a bed, cos we have read about the show before.
The show is about a little boy called Stephen, who wakes up in bed with all sorts of weirdo things going on in his room, only Stephen is ALICE!!! as well, you dig.
And then a cat in a red stretch onepiece-type jumpsuit article gets up off the bed, and yes, it is one truly obscene little boy, it is ALICE!!!
And when we have all cheered till we can cheer no more, Alice starts prowling round the room among all these bats and devil dancers and beating them off with his cloak, and these cats dance round him and they really keep together, they are one million times better than boring old Pan`s People on the TV, and Alice pretends to be real scared.
And then they sort of disappear and Alice starts doing some of his real monster songs, “No More Mr Nice Guy” and “I`m Eighteen”, and we all sing with him, it is a gas and it reminds us what being a Coopertrooper is all about.
And I would just like to say right here that all those weirdo oldies at the NME who are trying to tell the kids that Alice is finished and only good for going to Las Vegas to jive with other fat and loaded oldsters can just go pack themselves away, cos they are truly full of shit.
I don`t like to hurt their feelings, but it is true like anyone who digs Alice!! will let you know.
Where was I, oh yes.
So Alice finishes his songs, and this has all been very fast as well as being such a gas, it has all been much quicker than I can relate it to you, cos all through this show the action keeps zooming in at you real unexpected, like the next thing which happens, which is that Alice looks inside his toybox and out come these really keen skeletons, they are painted with luminous paint and they do a dance in the dark with Alice, who has put on a white tux and looks real smooth.
But the next part is one of the best parts of all, cos it is where Alice has a real run-in with this rag doll, he beats her and kicks her and climbs over her lying on the floor and tangos with her and finally throws her on the bed, singing this song about “Cold Ethyl” which is the doll`s name, and you can tell this is a nightmare cos it seems he really digs this doll, and yet he is doing all these really heavy things to her.
And he is sitting on the bed with Cold Ethyl worrying about this when the lights go down, and then they come up again (and I could see some cats moving about on the stage and I guess I know what they were doing) and Alice starts singing this song which my girlfriend really dug, cos she is liberated and all that stuff, about “Only Women Bleed”.
But I am gonna tell you, I did not say it to her, but I do not think Alice is really into all that liberation stuff, Alice just likes to have a good time.
So he`s singing away and it is a really good number, all slow and agonised, and suddenly the rag doll lifts her leg right up in the air. And all the cats in the audience go “Ooooooh” cos they do not know if the doll has come to life or if Alice was really beating up a real chick. As if he would.
And the second half of the show is even better, only I cannot take too long telling you about it cos it is nearly time for my math class, but I have got to let you know about the spiders, they are huge and black and furry, real Black Widow spiders from the little boy`s bug collection, only now they are bigger than Alice and they try to eat him, and he is real scared again, just like any kid would be, and he looks real small and helpless.
Alice is real good at looking small and helpless. He looks it even more when this nine-foot woolly monster comes round the back of the amp, and we all have a good time shouting “Behind you, behind you” like we were little kids at a pantomime, but the monster which is like the little boy`s idea of a teddybear in a nightmare stonks across the stage and grabs Alice anyway, and the only way he can get free is to hack off its head with a toy sword, which is a really heavy thing for a little kid to do to his teddybear, you dig.
And there are two more things that I must not forget, there is Alice`s band who are thundering away at the back of the stage the whole time, they are really hot and the guitarists have a wonderful fight in the middle of the show, playing all the time and trying to beat each other up; these guys are truly peachy-keen, they are good enough to play for ALICE which is saying a lot, but it is not surprising cos they used to play with Lou Reed, who my cool big brother says is really cool.
And the other thing is this screen which comes up, made of strips of white stuff, and a movie comes up on the screen of Alice in a graveyard being nailed into a coffin by four ghouls, and this is when the most truly instant thing of all happens, cos just at the very moment when the screen Alice is bursting out of the coffin, the real Alice comes bursting through the screen like he was jumping out of the movie. And this is just too far-out, I do not know how Alice thinks these things up.
So now we do not admit it to ourselves but we know that it is nearly the end, and we will have to go out into the cold night and back to Buxton and all the other uncool places, and maybe not see Alice again for years, until we are old: so we just decide to make the most of what is left, and what is left is pretty good because ALICE is brought on in the toybox and steps out with all these balloons and sings “School`s Out”, which up till now we have missed.
And it is a funny thing, but we have forgotten to rush the stage like we planned; some little cat tries it now but the security guys throw him off real quick, I suppose they have to be careful to protect Alice. So maybe it was not a good idea.
What happens is even better, I throw my shirt, the one with “Alice Cooper!!” across it in silver sequins that my big sister made me, towards the stage, and Alice catches it!!!!
And he puts it on!! Oh, it is truly peachy, Alice!! is wearing my shirt. I suppose the draggy O.A.P.s will kill me for going home without it, but I will not care.
Cos maybe Alice will see my name on the cuff, and write me from Los Angeles, which is where he lives.
I would really dig to get a letter from Alice.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.
This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Paul McCartney, Robert Calvert, Carlos Santana, Alex Harvey, Jimi Hendrix, Maurice White, Cecil Taylor, Alan Longmuir (Bay City Rollers), Pink Floyd.
This edition is sold!