Boston Orpheum

Age ain't nothing but a number, right?

As Dope (whose opening slot is anything but) launches into the fairly conventional retread of Dead Or Alive's 'You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)' frontman Edsel Dope yells, "Anyone remember the '80s?"

Shit yeah - look who you're talking to. They remember the '80s, the '70s, the '60s and maybe the '50s too - and they have the tour shirts to prove it. When Cooper covers 'My Generation', he's not only talking about it, but to it.

Age ain't nothing but a number, right? At 52, Alice Cooper looks as good as one can milling around among a post-apocalyptic wasteland of bloody stage props in a Mad Max-meets-'The Mikado' get-up. He seems confused, though. The whips, swords, straitjackets, two-headed wolf-babies and naughty nurses are all in place. So what the hell is this? The industrial sludge 'Brutal Planet' and the histrionics of 'Blow Me A Kiss' (reportedly about Columbine) reek of social commentary. Has old age robbed Alice Cooper of his sense of humour and turned him on to politics? This isn't supposed to be a tragedy. There's no need to resort to the over-serious 'oh I'm suffering, oh I'm raging, oh I don't care, oh you love me' theatrics of the extended Manson Family. This is supposed to be fun.

Thankfully, the God of glammy, guiltless hair-rock is a forgiving one, and the healing powers of comedy are strong - we've got a full-blown miracle on our hands. The original bad boy of Detroit, and the first hard man to successfully rock a woman's name, is beheaded and resurrected in a white tux, glittery spandex, topper and tails, to the tune of 'No More Mr Nice Guy'. Bring on the Hit Parader.

"I come all the way from Moscow and there's a guy in the front row wearing an Ozzy Osbourne T-shirt... and that really pisses me off," he says, before launching into 'It's The Little Things'. Cooper may be 18 at heart after all. Everyone here certainly is. He trots through classics crowd-pleasers 'Poison' and 'Feed My Frankenstein', and for the encore dons a shirt that reads, 'Britney wants me', continuing on the back with, 'dead'.

Hope everyone took notes. School's out, folks.

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