Alice Cooperâs Halloween Night of Fear with support from Duff McKagans Loaded & Ugly Kid Joe
Usher Hall, Edinburghâ 31st October
Words: Sally Morrison
Pics: Dod Morrison
Usher Hall seemed like an odd choice of venue for freaks and ghouls, but the people packed the place and made it their own. Many turned up in costume â wizards, zombies, Goths, and a few Thors thrown in for good measure.
First on was Duff Mckaganâs Loaded. The ex Guns n Roses bassist came out with a guitar in tow and took on lead vocals. His voice was surprisingly good and his haunting tones matched the bandâs style, which could be best described as Soundgarden mixed with 30 Seconds To Mars. We had wondered why they would be playing first on the bill but the slow pace of most of their songs proved it was a wise choice. They kicked it up a notch at the end of their set when Duff swapped over to a bass guitar and we knew weâd be in for a treat. His rendition of the GnR classic âItâs So Easyâ was fantastic.
Next out were the 90âs band Ugly Kid Joe, who got everyone cheering straight off with their rappy rock. Lead singer Whitfield Crane knew how to play the crowd and was bounding all over the stage with infectious energy. True to rock n roll style Whitfield invited the press up on stage to take photos (with only us taking him up on his offer and being rewarded with a hi-five!) as well as jumping down to the barrier by the crowd for a good sing a long. He actually seemed a bit bored during their famed version of âCats in the Cradleâ, clearly preferring the more upbeat songs. They ended with the rocking âEverything About Youâ, leaving the audience in the perfect mood for the main act.
You could tell this was Aliceâs night â the stage went through a complete overhaul with drums being wheeled off, stage built, curtains put up and the whole thing made to look like a theatre set. Whilst this was going on there was a fancy dress competition which seemed a little âholiday campâ like but it entertained the crowd which had grown to full capacity.
Alice Cooper kicked off his show (and it was a show indeed) spectacularly. Skeletons pulled down a curtain to reveal the band who were dressed up Mad Max style. Alice sauntered onto stage dressed as a ringmaster in a red and black stripy suit, singing âHello Hoorayâ whilst standing underneath a firework waterfall.
From here they drove straight into âHouse of Fireâ and âNo More Mr Nice Guyâ.Alice proved that even in his 60âs heâs still got the same magic he had 40 years ago. He used the whole stage, making sure to sing to all parts of the room making everyone feel part of the show.Â He was a seasoned performer, bringing out various props during songs â a giant mug for âCaffeineâ, fake money on a sword scattered into the crowd for âBillion Dollar Babiesâ and sparkly necklaces were thrown at punters during âDirty Diamondsâ. There was a change of outfit between virtually every song, tops hats, canes, even a whip. One time he came out with a snake around his shoulders and sang the whole of âDevilâs Foodâ with it curling around him!
The drummer was on a raised platform at the back, often spinning sticks and making sure he put on as much of a show as the rest of the group. At one point he was left alone on stage and beat out a great drum solo, topped off with real sparks flying from the ends of his drumsticks!
âFeed My Frankensteinâ had to be the best for entertainment âAlice was clothed in a white scientistâs jacket and half way through the song climbed into a big electrified contraption which spewed out smoke and sparks. What should emerge from the smoke but a huge Frankenstein monster made to look like Alice Cooper! The monster finished the rest of the song running about the stage just like Alice had been and even managed to get a cheeky bum pinch in!
It was nice to see a female guitarist in such a high profile band, and she wasnât chosen for just her looks. In a âresurrectionâ part of the gig songs by deceased musicians were covered and she did a kick ass solo during Jimi Hendrixâs âFoxy Ladyâ. Other covers were Jim Morrisonâs âBreak on Through (to the other side)â, John Lennonâs âRevolutionâ and the Whos âMy Generationâ in honour of Keith Moon.
Saving the best songs for last Alicebelted out a blinding performance of âPoisonâ, followed by âSchoolâs outâ for the encore. Dressed in a silver suit complete with top hat Alice threw giant balloons into the venue, which he promptly popped with his cane releasing glitter from inside. Bubbles were pumped into the air and streamers were fired over the audience.
The show never had a dull moment and never stopped, it just kept on surprising. No chit chat just pure entertainment. The only talk we heard him say was at the end when he wished everyone a happy Halloween. What do we say? âWeâre not worthy!â
House of Fire
No More Mr. Nice Guy
I’ll Bite Your Face Off
Be My Lover
Billion Dollar Babies
Welcome to My Nightmare
Ballad of Dwight Fry
Go to Hell
He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)
Feed My Frankenstein
Break on Through (To the Other Side) â The Doors
Revolution â John Lennon
Foxy Lady â Jimi Hendrix
My Generation – The Who
Under My Wheels
School’s Out with Pink Floydâs âAnother Brick in the Wallâ in the middle
All photographic images are available for purchase direct from Dod Morrison Photography