The “Godfather of Shock Rock” rides into Leeds as he kicks off his current UK tour at the First Direct Arena.

Earlier this year Alice Cooper released Paranormal, marking his first new studio record in six years. The album itself was produced by long-time collaborator Bob Ezrin and features a star-studded cast of friends and both current and former bandmates from throughout his illustrious career.

Alice Cooper is currently back in the UK in support of Paranormal with a week-long arena run alongside touring counterparts The Mission and The Tubes, who open the proceedings early in the evening.

An army of hardcore Cooper-ites descends upon the West Yorkshire city of Leeds, many of whom arrive sporting face paint, vintage tour shirts or costumes reflecting their favourite era of the music legend’s extensive career.

Alice Cooper is well renowned for his spectacular live shows and tonight’s concert most certainly fits that description perfectly. As the house lights dim, a rather ominous announcement sets the scene informing the crowd that they have ‘chosen to spend the night with Alice Cooper’ and before the fans have a second chance to change their mind they are informed ‘it’s too late – he’s coming’.

Appearing onstage beneath a shower of pyrotechnics and shrouded by a cloak Alice Cooper starts off the show with “Brutal Planet” which is quickly followed by old favourite “Under My Wheels”.

What becomes immediately apparent is the stage chemistry between Alice and his incredibly talented five-piece band. The group effortlessly play off each other all night long. Often found congregated around centre stage in packs, they each have star talent in abundance. Every musician in the band is a world-class performer in their own right. 

Lighting up the stage all night long is guitarist Nita Strauss. Whether she is dazzling the audience with her spellbinding guitar solos or trading licks with her counterparts Tommy Henricksen and Ryan Roxie, Nita has both flare and skill in abundance. 

Throughout the course of the evening, Alice Cooper traverses his entire career spanning in excess of 50 years. With such a vast songbook to choose from, there isn’t too much room for material from Cooper’s latest offering with “Paranoiac Personality” being the sole track from the record to feature in the show. Much like Alice’s 90s hits “Poison” and “Feed My Frankenstein”, which both feature in the first half of the show, Cooper’s latest single has all of the hallmarks of a classic in the making.

Throughout his incredible career, Alice Cooper has continued to push his creative boundaries. Tonight’s show encapsulates all of the musical and theatrical elements which his fans have come to know and love. This includes both a gargantuan Frankenstein monster who towers above the stage at over 12 feet tall and an onstage battle with nurse Calico Cooper during a stunning rendition of “The Ballad of Dwight Fry”.

As is customary, Cooper meets his untimely demise at the hands of a masked executioner aided with a guillotine. The musical marriage of Cooper’s timeless anthems and his dramatic yet sinister performance come together seamlessly throughout the show.

Back in May of this year, Alice Cooper reunited with his original bandmates including bassist Dennis Dunaway, guitarist Michael Bruce and drummer Neal Smith during a concert in Nashville. Subsequently, this paved the way for the reunited band to hit the road again collectively once more.

During the final third of the show, Cooper is resurrected on stage with his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted bandmates. Together they take the audience back to the early 70s with a greatest hits segment featuring “Eighteen”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and main set closer “Muscle Of Love”.  This marking the first time the group has shared the stage together in the UK in over 40 years and it was most certainly worth the wait. 

As Alice Cooper returns to the stage for a duly deserved encore, bubbles and inflatables fill the air as the unmistakable sound of “Schools Out” resonates around the room. The song is brought to life with the aid of both the original and current incarnation of the band and is the perfect finale to bring this career-spanning show to a close.

The most fitting way to sum up a show like this is to borrow a phrase from Alice Cooper’s big screen appearance in Wayne’s World. Much like Wayne and Garth, Alice’s Yorkshire fanbase was left declaring ‘We’re not worthy’. 

Tonight’s show in Leeds is a triumphant celebration of Alice Cooper’s both past and present. On the strength of this performance and his new record alone, we look forward to what is to come from shock rock’s most celebrated showman in the future.

Alice Cooper
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Event Date: 11-Nov-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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