w/Photos and video by Patrick Brzezinski and Chris Penn.
The last time Glen Buxton and the Alice Cooper group were in Glasgow was on his 25th birthday… and the obligatory backstage birthday cake food fight ensued. Forty-five years on and the spirit of GB and his musical brethren brought the “Greatest Show on Earth” back to Glasgow.
You might have expected the masses to heed the forewarning to “hide the women and children away”… but like moths to a flame, the near capacity crowd came to Glasgow’s SSE Hydro arena for the highly-anticipated rise of Phoenix’ own mascara’d birdies.
A ha! I finally figured out Alice Cooper’s grotesque and grandiose plan a half-century in the making: fist-pumping, sing-along anthems and more freaks, follies and fire than the carnival sideshow. This diabolical dichotomy is a generational landslide both on the stage and in the audience.
As Alice led his touring band through a soundtrack of his solo hits, on this night “Department of Youth” was the battle cry. An audience that spanned sixty years from the young to the forever young swayed and sang… and collectively answered Alice’s empowering question: “And who gave it to you?!?!”… with equal cheers of “Donny Osmond!!!” and “Justin Bieber!!!”
And building on this theme… the stage grew dark… bodies moving in the shadows. And in the darkness the instrumental lead-up was like a mash-up of B horror film and Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries“until the chest-pounding crescendo by the Platinum God and the blast of the opening chords of “I’m Eighteen” detonated a megawatt explosion of lights. Fasten your seat belts and hold the younger fans close… the roller coaster was off through an inferno of tears and cheers.
And that oh-so-predictable “School’s Out” closer is just never so with these top-of-the-chart talents… of course there will always be the cathartic sing along by a supporting choir of 10,000, but on this night pin wheels of sparklers and a blizzard of confetti and streamers could not dose the exhausted euphoria of the crowd.
And so it goes at an Alice Cooper concert… timeless classic music, a really big shoooo and ageless fans and bands… everyone is “eighteen” for a couple of hours… like it! love it! like it! love it!
The band took to the stage riser for their final bow and Alice closed:
“School’s Out Scotland!… This one is for Glen Buxton!”
The Greatest Show on Earth never gets old… and on this night the cryogenic spirit of Glen Buxton figuratively and literally set the stage ablaze.