Alice Cooper // The Cult // Creeper // Live Review // The 02 Arena // Leeds
It’s the final night of the Alice Cooper and The Cult co-headlining tour here in Leeds tonight and to say I’m excited is an understatement. I’ve seen Alice Cooper on every UK Tour for the past few years and I know that we’re in for a treat!
Starting the night is Creeper and to be honest before tonight I hadn’t really heard of these guys. As they hit the stage I’m not sure what to expect however as they begin with “Cyanide” there’s a wonderful theatric feel to the band’s sound. Frontman Will Gould also has this effect to his voice that matches his 50’s Thunderbirds look. The stage show also continues this theatrical theme with dramatic lighting and stage antics. Gould makes an excellent front man, knowing his job to get the crowd warmed up for the main headliners. He gets the crowd singing early doors for “Down Below” and battling one side of the arena against the other for a cheer off. While the band seem comfortable on a large stage, I imagine in a smaller club where they can interact up close and personal with the crowd, these guys are killer.
Up next are the incredible and originally local, The Cult. The stage set-up is something else as I don’t think I’ve seen this many lights on a stage before. However, while this can be slightly distracting at times, Ian Astbury still keeps the crowd’s attention. By the end of the first song “Sun King” he’s getting the stall seats on their feet and three songs in with “Sweet Soul Sister” this whole area is on their feet and up against the barrier. As the set continues the band play hit after hit with “Soul Asylum”, “Aphrodisiac Jacket” and “Revolution”. All the while Astbury keeps checking in on the crowd making sure he’s still got their attention, often slipping into a Yorkshire accent, and singling members of the crowd out. The blues heavy tracks such as “Lil’ Devil” and the driving rhythms of “Wild Flower” really get the crowd dancing though. Lead guitarist Billy Duffy is the only member of the band who really takes the spotlight off Astbury as he wields his instrument with incredible talent and is wonderful to watch. As the set draws closer to the end there’s plenty for the crowd to get involved with as they play “Rain” which is a great track to dance and clap along with. It’s also a nice upbeat track before they play possibly their biggest hit “She Sells Sanctuary”. As Duffy is backlit by a single white light there are no mistaking what’s coming with this track as a wave of excitement floods the arena and more people in the higher seats get on their feet to dance and clap along. The last hit of the night is the party anthem “Love Removal Machine” which is a great choice to end the set.
As the night grows later, it’s time for our last band of the night with the always entertaining Alice Cooper. With the infamous blackened spider eyes showing on the drop curtain on stage, there’s no mistaking who’s about to perform. As the eyes glow red, the show’s intro begins welcoming the audience to the Nightmare Castle before the curtain drops. The stage is revealed with this incredible dungeon scenery. As “Feed My Frankenstein” begins it’s not long before this comes into play as Alice Cooper takes the stairs and welcomes his Frankenstein monster to the stage. Cooper always knows how to put on the most elaborate shows that are true pieces of theatre and tonight is absolutely no different. There’s always so much to watch and take in however he always makes sure that his band are front and centre of the action. With three amazing guitarists in the form of Nita Straus, Ryan Roxie, and Tommy Henrikson, there is a huge pool of talent to show off and these guys are another element of the show which never disappoints. Straus certainly stands out from the pack however with her solo which not only shows off her expertise on the guitar but is a mini-show in itself as she takes advantage of the set. The theatrics also continue as in any great
Alice Cooper shows us dead brides, giant escaping babies, guillotines and multiple outfit changes including the infamous straight jacket. I could talk for hours about what a great show this is; however, I will limit my amount of gushing! The setlist for the show includes all the hits such as “No More Mr Nice Guy”, “Hey Stoopid”, “I’m Eighteen”, “Poison” and “Billion Dollar Baby”. Cooper performs all this and more with his ever commanding stage presence that honestly makes you hope you have as much energy when you hit his age. As the night draws to a close there’s still the popular “I Love the Dead” which is always performed by the band and ‘Teenage Frankenstein”. As always the night ends on an encore of “Schools Out” closing another spectacular show.
The whole night has been full of theatrics and drama-laden sets from the start to the end. It’s been the most incredible show but then we fully expected the Jubilee Bank Holiday to start with a bang after attending today.