Music review: Alice Cooper, SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Alice Cooper at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow PIC: Calum Buchan
Alice Cooper at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow PIC: Calum Buchan
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Alice Cooper basically invented the concept of theatrical rock. Now aged 69, polite society’s former bête noire still delivers a spryly camp-driven horror show. In true Frank N Furter style, he performed Feed My Frankenstein in a blood-spattered surgeon’s gown before “evaporating” on a gurney. An enormous Frankenstein’s Monster then galumphed across the stage like an escapee from The Jim Henson Workshop.

Alice Cooper, SSE Hydro, Glasgow ****

He also revived one of his most famous routines for The Ballad of Dwight Fry, during which he was strapped into a straitjacket before being decapitated via guillotine. Good all-American showbiz fun.

Despite having a new album out, he didn’t play anything from it during this slick tumult of hard rock vaudeville. A crowd-pleasing ham, Cooper knows the last thing we want to hear from a veteran musician is, “Here’s a few numbers from the new record.”

Not that he actually spoke a word all night, presumably to ensure that he didn’t break character (the onstage Cooper is, of course, the snarling alter ego of genial born-again Christian Vincent Furnier). Towards the end of the show he was joined by the three surviving members of the original Alice Cooper band for a set including No More Mr Nice Guy, Billion Dollar Babies, proto-punk classic I’m Eighteen and an inevitable School’s Out.

Cooper has been peddling the same shtick for decades, but it’s never grown stale because his urge to entertain is so endearing. He’s an inveterate showman, the Ken Dodd of rock.