A red-eye flight, high speed train, subway and rental car moved me 5800 kms from Ottawa to Leeds, England.
There was a distinct buzz around the hotel and as we walked up to the First Direct Arena, strangers called out “Are you going to The Show?”. It seemed as though news of the historic evening was out. And upon arrival, you were reminded again that Britain is on a nervous alert following the Manchester terrorist attack – no back-packs (even thoroughly searched ones) were permitted.
Now I know you checked in to hear all about “the reunion” but before I get to it…
As soon as we arrived at the arena we were met by many people who had similarly travelled great distances to experience something that had been wished for, for a long time… Iceland, Denmark, Hong Kong, France, United States and Canada were all represented. As well, I got to meet many long time fellow fans and collectors. We were all giddy with anticipation.
The Tubes opened and they are consummate performers. Despite a short opening set, they got through their hits of “Talk To You Later”, “She’s A Beauty”, “What Do You Want From Life” and “White Punks On Dope”. Singer Fee Waybill always delights with costume and character changes.
The Tubes and Alice Cooper have some unique connections. Both bands hail from Phoenix. Alice Cooper’s first manager, Dick Christian, went on to work with two other Phoenix bands, that ultimately merged to become The Tubes. The Tubes’ drummer Prairie Prince did the art work for Alice Cooper’s iconic ’73 tour poster.
Alice led his touring band through the first part of the show. Alice is part maestro, part ringmaster as this group of high energy musicians fly about the stage, criss-crossing and pirouetting. And Alice got the expected cheers for songs like Department of Youth and Poison that achieved greater success in the UK . Beyond Alice’s mastery of sardonic lyrics… he has the uncanny ability to match the dramatic beside the whimsical.
I’m the holes in your arms when they give you the shakes.And I’m the bump on your head when you step on the rake. (“Pain”)
And as the touring band left the stage in darkness, the capacity crowd rose from their seats anticipating what was about to unfold… the reunion of the surviving members of the Alice Cooper group. The band charged through their hits. Each member basking in the crowd’s response. But perhaps as important, it was clearly evident that the guys were clearly enjoying exactly where they were… side by side, delivering their hit music that continues to resonate as a soundtrack to so many.
Rather than detail track by track, I have included tonight’s performance of “Billion Dollar Babies”. You be the judge.
It was particularly poignant when Alice described Dennis Dunaway as “my best friend from high school and the most copied bass player ever“. Engulfed in the closing blasts of bubbles, exploding weather balloons filled with confetti and frenetic bursts of metallic streamers, the crowd rejoiced in the spectacle that they had just witnessed.
What did 13,000 fans want from life tonight? A baby’s arm delivering what had been anticipated for years.
Next stop… Glasgow, Scotland.
LINK TO PHOTO’S CLICK HERE Photo credits: Patrick Brzezinski. Video credit: Chris Penn