If it’s possible to out glam glam rock then it happened on Thursday night at the Entertainment Centre.
Fireworks, dancing girls, pyrotechnics, big hair and a light show were amongst the visual spectacular on offer to the thousands of fans who turned out to see rock legends Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe.
Local five-piece Love Cream proved a good choice as the opening act of the night, with a tidy set of original songs that were very much in the glam rock vein.
Full of strut and bravado, they looked completely at ease on the big stage and garnered a very positive response from the audience, who got on board with the fist pumping and big choruses.
The big hair and loud, tight songs served to whet the crowd’s appetite for the acts to follow.
Alice Cooper followed Love Cream by bursting onto the stage with his 1975 hit ‘Department of Youth’.
Strutting across the stage brandishing his signature cane menacingly, the 67-year-old has not lost any of his original theatrics and stage presence.
If anything, Alice Cooper’s shows have become more exciting and entertaining than ever.
His cast included a nasty nurse, a giant Cooper-esque Frankenstein monster and several other characters which enhanced his horror rock show.
There were fireworks, face melting guitar solos and even a beheading!
Playing hits spanning a career that has lasted five decades, Alice Cooper (aka Vincent Furnier) clearly has a sense of humour about his stage persona and uses it to produce a show which you can enjoy whether you know the music or not.
Among the playlist were, ‘Poison’, No More Mr Nice Guy’, ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’, ‘School’s Out’ and ‘Feed My Frankenstein’.
Despite his voice straining in the higher register, Cooper’s band were exceptional, and the whole show outshone the main event, ‘80s glam rock sensation Mötley Crüe.
The Crüe, notorious for their reckless, partying ways back in the day, opened with 2008 release ‘Saints of Los Angeles’ followed by ’87 hit ‘Wild Side’; and continuing with songs from their 35 year career.
‘Looks that Kill’, Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room’, ‘Dr Feelgood’, ‘Live Wire’ and ‘Shout at the Devil’ were just some of the numbers which more than pleased the adoring fans who made some mother-effing noise every time they were asked to.
And they sang the words when front-man Vince Neil held the microphone out to them because he was either too puffed out to sing or had, perhaps, forgotten the lyrics.
They roared with pleasure at every riff which introduced a song that sparked a memory their past and were encouraging to a lead singer who has certainly seen better days.
Lead guitarist Mick Mars, although suffering chronic arthritis, showed us he still had the riffs that kill, busting out some impressive solos, and Tommy Lee is still one of the greatest showmen in the biz.
Strapped into a harness, his drum kit travelled across a rollercoaster from one side of the Entertainment Centre to the other, rotating the notorious bad boy of rock as he smacked the skins in a ten minute solo.
Apart from a few mixing issues, the band sounded as wild as they were when they ruled the scene; but the star of the show was the special effects.
A flame throwing guitar, a burning pentagram suspended from the ceiling, fireworks and a light show made for one spectacle after the next; this was not your average rock show, this was an event.
However, fans of the band who know every word to every song would have been disappointed by Vince Neil’s tendency to sing only part of the lyrics, sometimes appearing to actually forget he was singing at all – however if his rumoured reputation is anything to go by, we’re lucky he was even standing upright.
And lucky we were, to see these guys for the last time and say goodbye.
The encore had them walk through the crowd to the other side of the Centre and climb aboard a stage which elevated them above the audience as they, appropriately sang ‘Home Sweet Home’ and we farewelled one of the greatest bands of their genre.
By Libby Parker and Matthew Trainor
Photos by Paul Brown