at The First Direct Arena, Leeds, U.K., June 1, 2022

ALICE COOPER (Live at The First Direct Arena, Leeds, U.K., June 1, 2022)
Photo: Mick Burgess

You’ve got to have guts to get up in front of 10,000 people who have come to see two of the giants of Rock and win them over in 30 minutes. Southampton’s Creeper grabbed their opportunity by both horns and did just that with an energetic show of Gothic Punk with lead singer running a marathon in the process. “Cyanide” and “Anabelle” certainly showed they can craft a catchy tune or two and undoubtedly won a fair few fans in the process.

As a headliner in their own right with a few million albums sales to their credit, this was an unusual situation for The Cult and at first, they seemed a little unsure of themselves producing a classic game of two halves.

For the first half an hour, they didn’t seem to be able to get out of first gear as singer Ian Astbury seemingly berated an unusually sedate crowd. Perhaps many were unfamiliar with “Sun King”, “Automatic Blues” and “Soul Asylum” and with “Edie (Ciao Baby)”, although a great song, a little understated meant the first half was somewhat underwhelming for many but The Cult aficionados in the crowd. Perhaps their nonchalance fed up to the band. In front of their own audience, this would have been a killer set but facing an away crowd, it took a touch more effort to get it going.

Then they kicked into gear and rolled out the big guns “Lil’ Devil” positively growled as “Wild Flower”, “Fire Woman” turned up the heat. Of course, the hits “Rain” and “She Sells Sanctuary” couldn’t fail and “Love Removal Machine” scored the winner in extra time, with an assist by a snatch of the old Southern Death Cult classic “Moya” towards the end. The Cult started slow but came up with the goods just in the nick of time.

At the commencement of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, Leeds welcomed Rock ‘n’ Roll Royalty with a roar as Alice Cooper, stormed out of the Nightmare Castle gates to “Feed My Frankenstein” with the monster itself making an early appearance followed swiftly by uber classic “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and mid-period bangers “Bed Of Nails” and “Hey Stoopid”.

It was a literal whirlwind of Rock ‘n’ Roll energy with “Hurricane” Nita Strauss, Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henriksen racing from one side of the stage to the next trading riffs with bassist Chuck Garric anchoring things menacingly from the middle along with drummer Glen Sobel, leaving Alice the freedom to prowl and harass at will.

With a “something for everyone setlist” the classics came thick and fast including “Billion Dollar Babies”, complete with huge inflatable Alice babies and “Under My Wheels” alongside the hits like “Poison” and “I’m Eighteen” not to mention a couple from his mid-period with “Roses On White Lace” being particularly savage with a blood-stained corpse bride scolding Alice at every turn.

Of course, the huge Nightmare Castle was used to full effect with Alice standing on the ramparts and Roxie and Strauss running the gauntlet up the staircase. Quite a stunning backdrop to the show.

Alice was in fine form throughout and with a band that does his legacy full justice, this was an absolute treat for the eyes and everything a Rock show should be. It was big, brash, exciting and a LOT of fun.

The triple guitar assault works so well with each player bringing something different to the feast from Roxie’s ’70s swagger, Henriksen’s Sunset Strip sleaze and the shredding of Strauss. It was intoxicating to watch.

A super sinister “Steven” saw Alice at his most demented before being carted off by some spooky, faceless dummies for his final execution at the hands of Madame Guillotine before returning with the vintage, “Escape.”

As he opened so he closed, as the monster returned for “Teenage Frankenstein” from his 1986 Constrictor release making him possibly the only artist to open and close a show with songs about the legendary monster.

As the bells rang, the confetti fired and machines belched out a ton of bubbles, Alice returned for “School’s Out” complete with a snippet of Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall” and a few supersized balloons for good measure. It may be an over familiar classic but a super charged rendition hit the bullseye ensuring the show reached a suitable riotous conclusion.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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