Thebarton theatre is an institution. Built on a foundation of blues, bricks of rock ‘n’ roll, and mortar made from foot-stompin’ riffs, there’s no better place for two institutions of rock music to bring the house down. Alice Cooper, supported by Ace Frehley, took the stage on a Thursday night and welcomed us to his nightmare.

With a single riff, Ace Frehley set the tone of the night. Opening with ‘Parasite,’ the ex-KISS guitarist took Adelaide by the jugular and commanded us to rock. KISS favourites like ‘Detroit Rock City,’ ‘Love Gun’ and ‘Deuce’ were played throughout the set, as well as some covers. Ace Frehley hadn’t forgotten his stadium rock experience though, every song packed with a monster chorus and even bigger riff. The legend didn’t have an overpowering ego like you’d think, sharing vocals and solos with the rest of the band.

As the time for Alice Cooper approached, the atmosphere changed. The people flocked in, beers and mixers in hand, found their seats and began psyching up as the large banner of Alice’s eyes watched on. As the excitement peaked, Alice cut through with his trademark whip and opened the set with ‘Brutal Planet.’ The chunky riff fit Alice’s stage presence; he was prowling like a disgusted king of filth, watching over his minions and knowing that they swallowed what he gave with relish. And if that didn’t get everyone ready, ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ certainly did.

The crowd was a mix of young and old—the power of rock ‘n’ roll transcends all. The riffs, the lyrics, but most importantly, the musicians show how much music means to people. Nearing the checkpoint of 70 years young, Alice is by no means a ‘new’ performer: the man and the act are down to a tee. Every bang, whistle, stab, and solo is on point. Each song ebbs and flows in perfect harmony with the set. Classics such as ‘Poison,’ ‘Only Women Bleed,’ ‘Under My Wheels,’ ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ and ‘I Love the Dead’ all build an evening of awe-inspiring music. The man is a talent, and the word freak would do him no justice. The world knows him as the Godfather of Shock, but it became clear as he made his way through his set that his musicianship skills are severely understated; he is one helluva songwriter. This is especially apparent in his new material ‘Paranoic Personality,’ which along with the album Paranormal, fits nicely into his repertoire.

When the final lights came on, everyone left with a great sense of excitement. He still had it! The fans of old were reassured, and the fans of new were impressed. Alice showed us his nightmare, and we liked it!

is out now.

Get the JB Hi-Fi 2CD special edition here.
Get the JB Hi-Fi 2CD and t-shirt limited deluxe box set edition here.
Get the JB Hi-Fi 2LP 180gm vinyl here.

– Friday 20 October

HORDERN PAVILION, SYDNEY – Saturday 21 October

AIS ARENA, CANBERRA – Monday 23 October



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Photos: Josh McCawley