(Presented by Markus Hamence)
The Regal Theatre
Saturday 29 October 2022
Words – Geoff Jenke
Photos – Robert McArthur
I guess if you are going to present a Halloween Party show, who better to get play, than an Alice Cooper Show and Adelaide has possibly the best Alice Cooper Show in Australia if not the world in Dave Hudson’s The Australian Alice Cooper Show.
This was no tribute band just getting up on stage playing a few Alice Cooper hits, this was a full-blown theatrical performance with a 7- piece backing band plus dancers, monsters and all the theatrics you would expect from an Alice Cooper show. This was the sort of show you see on Broadway.
As with all good theatre shows, it started with an overture, in this case a young 9-year-old keyboards virtuosa, by the name of Wolfgang “Wolfie” Graham, who gave us over 5 minutes of wonderful tunes under red lighting, as a lead into the band coming on stage and launching into Welcome to my Nightmare. The band were all decked out in their finest Halloween costumes (some Op-Shopping in the days leading up to the event?) and the stage adorned with cobwebs and skulls amongst the props, which included an end of the old wrought iron, brass bed.
At this stage I thought we would get Devils Food, presuming they were going to do the Nightmare album, but the band started No More Mr Nice Guy, a great song off Alice’s Billion Dollar Babies album. A surprise in My Stars came next from the 1972 Schools Out album. In-between songs, snippets of Years Ago was played, joining everything together.
The lighting for the show was amazing, in fact some of the best lighting I have seen at a show of this size. Often backlit, the band and Dave, as Alice, looked spectacular. I’m 18 bought out the phones and then before Some Folks we had a musical interlude with three dancers in skeleton suits and top hats dancing around the stage. Alice soon joined them after a costume change.
It was at this stage the penny dropped. With a few slight changes, the band were following the set list from the 1977 Alice Concert at Football Park. I am of the age, I was there, but I doubt if there were too many others in attendance that could claim this.
Only Woman Bleed was pure Alice Cooper theatre, which led into Billion Dollar Babies with “Alice” throwing banknotes out into the audience. The intro to Black Widow had four of the band members on guitars and what a beautiful noise they made. Two spiders made an appearance during the song.
Steven has to be one of the finest songs Alice Cooper ever put to record and full credit to the band, the Cyclops we saw in 1977 made an appearance. Death and mayhem followed with “Alice” sitting in an electric chair during I Love the Dead. This electrocution scene needs a bit of work, but hey, with probably a zero $$ budget, they did fine.
Schools Out and Department of Youth rounded out the evening to loud applause.
It looked like no encore was planned and a quick band meeting on stage came up with the power rock of Under My Wheels to close out the night.
Full credit to the band for not playing any songs after the Welcome to my Nightmare album. This show was based around that album, so while there may have been some pressure to play songs like Poison, they stuck to 1975 backwards.
Full credit to Markus Hamence for staging this show close to Halloween and full credit to The Australian Alice Cooper Show for staging such a spectacular theatre production.
With only a very slight change in song listing, I look forward to 2027 and the 50th anniversary “replay” of the Adelaide Football Park show. Maybe in a park in West Lakes.