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Review & Set List: Alice Cooper and Ace Frehley @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

by Paul Cashmere, Noise11

An Alice Cooper show is more than a rock concert. It’s a lesson for younger acts on how it should be done.

Alice Cooper can blow acts half his age off stage. As this rock legend goes head-on into 70, he can still deliver a rock show that makes the audience walk away exhausted.

Mind you a 50 year catalogue of some of the greatest theatrical rock ever made gives Alice a lot to lean on but his show is not all classic hits. In fact, its not even classic hits. Many of the hit songs aren’t there, instead, replaced with obscure album cuts that for the core fan base, you would never expect in 2017. Paying respect to 1980’s Flush The Fashion with ‘Pain’ over ‘We’re All Clones’ or ‘The World Needs Guts’ from the lesser known 1986 album Constrictor shows that an Alice Cooper show is designed for the fans.

The core of the show is and always has been the seminal albums Love It To Death, Killer, School’s Out and Billion Dollar Babies, but even those first two bypassed an Australian audience in their day. Alice Cooper, the “pop star”, didn’t eventuate until Welcome To My Nightmare in 1975.

When this tour started out days earlier in Perth Alice was performing ‘Lost In America’. That was replaced for his biggest Australian hit ‘Department of Youth’. The song was a Top 10 hit in Australia but failed to make the Top 40 in the USA. Alice tends to reward the Aussie audiences with its inclusion on every tour.

This tour is not as flamboyant as previous tours. The theatrics are kept more to the second half of the show. What we expect visually from an Alice Cooper show didn’t present until the giant Frankenstein wandered over for ‘Feed My Frankenstein’. The guillotine was there for ‘The Ballad Of Dwight Fry’, a staple of the Alice shows for nearly 50 years and then there was the nurse.

What a treat to have Alice’s wife Sheryl back in her old job of Nurse. Sheryl did the nurse role for decades until their daughter Calico took over. Calico recently married and has honeymooning things to attend to. Sheryl Cooper is back in the nurse’s frock for this tour to scare the frock out of the audience.

An Alice Cooper show is a generation landslide, a show for the whole family. Father’s were there with their sons, grandfathers with their grandsons. In some strange way, a boy cannot become a man until he has seen an Alice Cooper show.

Alice Cooper set list - Melbourne October 20, 2017

Main Set
  • Brutal Planet (from Brutal Planet, 2000)
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy (from Billion Dollar Babies, 1973)
  • Under My Wheels (from Killer, 1971)
  • Department of Youth (from Welcome To My Nightmare, 1975)
  • Pain (from Flush The Fashion, 1980)
  • Billion Dollar Babies (from Billion Dollar Babies, 1973)
  • The World Needs Guts (from Constrictor, 1986)
  • Woman of Mass Distraction (from Dirty Diamonds, 2005)
  • Guitar Solo
  • Poison (from Trash, 1989)
  • Halo of Flies (from Killer, 1971)
  • Feed My Frankenstein (from Hey Stoopid, 1991)
  • Cold Ethyl (from Welcome To My Nightmare, 1975)
  • Only Women Bleed (from Welcome To My Nightmare, 1975)
  • Paranoiac Personality (from Paranormal, 2017)
  • Ballad of Dwight Fry (from Love It To Death, 1971)
  • Killer (from Killer, 1971)
  • I Love the Dead (from Billion Dollar Babies, 1973)
  • I’m Eighteen (from Love It To Death, 1971)
  • School’s Out (from School’s Out, 1972)

Ace Frehley was good, real good, surprisingly good.

When Ace Frehley was announced as Alice Cooper’s opening act for this Australian tour, the expectations weren’t that high. That changed the moment Ace and band hit the stage at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena and for the next 50 minutes delivered a high energy Kiss show with a couple of songs from his 1978 solo debut.

‘New York Groove’ was a massive hit in Australia. Of the four solo Kiss albums of 1978, Ace Frehley was the only member to have a solo hit. Occasionally, you will still hear the song on classic hits radio.

The bigger surprise was the selection of Kiss songs, some he sang on the original albums (Talk To Me, Hard Times, 2000 Man), some he just played on (Detroit Rock City, Love Gun, Deuce). The fact was it was great to hear the songs live.

Australia has a good dose of Kiss tours and in coming months even a solo Gene Simmons tour. Regardless of who from the band is touring, these were great songs.

Ace’s band is Richie Scarlet on guitar, Chris Wyse on bass and Scoty Coogan. Combined with Ace, they form a competent backbone to faithfully deliver the Kiss legacy.

Ace Frehley set list - Melbourne, October 20, 2017
  • Parasite (from Kiss, Hotter Than Hell, 1974)
  • Hard Times (from Kiss, Dynasty, 1979)
  • 2000 Man (from Kiss, Dynasty, 1979)
  • Rip It Out (from Ace Frehley, 1978)
  • Love Gun (from Kiss, Love Gun, 1976)
  • Rocket Ride (from Kiss, Alive II, 1977)
  • Bass Solo
  • Strange Ways (from Kiss, Hotter Than Hell, 1974)
  • Talk to Me (from Kiss, Unmasked, 1980)
  • New York Groove (from Ace Frehley, 1978)
  • Shock Me (from Kiss, Love Gun, 1976)
  • Ace Frehley Guitar Solo
  • Detroit Rock City (from Kiss, Destroyer, 1976)
  • Deuce (from Kiss, Kiss, 1974)