Alice Cooper @ Resorts World 11th October 2019

The nights are drawing in, it’s getting cold and damp, approaching Halloween and so it’s apt ‘Ol’ Black eyes’ is back, yes, Alice Cooper is on another tour to spice and liven up an otherwise drab night in Birmingham, or as it’s currently known the Resorts World Arena. Despite its various rebranding and naming over the years it will always be the NEC, but this confusion goes on and whilst at the box office several people turn up who are told that they should be at Arena Birmingham (or the NIA) in the centre of the City. I feel their pain, I’ve done this myself before now.

The venue is half full as the lights go off promptly at 7, and what we witness is half an hour of mind-blowing brilliance, for this is MC50. For those unclear, MC5 were, back in the late ‘60’s pioneers of what later became a punk revolution, and their iconic album “Kick out the Jams”, was fifty, five zero, years old last year, and to celebrate founder member Wayne Kramer decided to tour, with a group of musicians under the moniker MC50 (see what they did there?).

However, we’re not talking any muso’s, on stage tonight, in Birmingham, at the same time was none other than drummer Brendan Canty (Fugazi), Billy Gould on bass (Faith No More) and Kym Thayil (Soundgarden) and Marcus Durrant (Zen Guerrilla) on vocals, who I’ll be honest I was unfamiliar with but was magnificent. They were breath-taking, and whilst I tried to drink in the fact I was in the same room as both Kym and Billy (okay I’m a bit of a fan) I also couldn’t believe these songs, this album was released into the world before I was! Those who came late, or the ‘couldn’t be arsed’ sat in the bar spending £6 a pint, oh dear!

A quick stage clearance and at 8 prompt, the lights drop again and The Stranglers take to the stage. The men in black have been playing for over 40 years, a couple of personnel changes down the years but ever-present JJ Burnel yet again showing what an incredible bass player he is. Baz Warne on vocals has a cheeky pop at the crowd saying “I’ve never seen so many bald heads, grey heads and fucking freaks in all my life” aimed obviously at those in full costume (we’ve even got a young lady in a blood splattered wedding dress at the front) and during the final lines of ‘Peaches’ saying he’d rather be on the beaches than at St Andrews, which gets a lukewarm response. Maybe he should’ve said Villa Park.

For just shy of an hour we get a set of hits and album classics, JJ prowling the stage, menacing. ‘Golden Brown’ gets the biggest cheer and sees hundreds of phones aloft whist folks record the song, but for me a particular favourite is always ‘5 Minutes’ (mainly because it’s the first single I ever bought but also because it’s just such an incredible song, and it sounds as fresh today as it did back in the ‘70’s. Christ, that makes me feel old just saying that. The Stranglers are still touring and still deliver on every level. Tonight they were perfect on the bill, and as the saying goes, old punks never die.

The same could also be said of headliner Alice Cooper, now into his seventies but showing no signs of slowing down. The show is typical Alice, we have a giant Frankenstein stomping around, a teenager getting a selfie being murdered (not literally folks, it’s all in the name of entertainment), costume changes and of course set highlight during ‘Steven’ where Alice goes to axe a baby and instead is placed in a guillotine by two giant babies. It’s all part of the freak show, led by the showman in leather trousers, top hat and cane, and of course the set is hit after hit.

The usual suspects are included in the set (set-list at the end) but I do have a slight moan, and that’s the inclusion of guitar and drum solos. Don’t get me wrong the band are very talented, but 10 000 folks have paid to see Ol’ Black Eyes, and whilst a leggy blonde is simulating sex with her guitar, or the drummer is doing his thing with his kit, the main man isn’t on stage. 

As stunning as the set is (a castle ruin) you do get the impression, for the band, it’s just another night in another town, and there’s not a word of chat or interaction with the audience, in fact the only words we get from Alice are at the end when he simply says “Thank you”, before a two song encore, expectedly ending the evening with ‘Schools Out’.


Overall this was a brilliant show, having seen Alice before I had an idea what to expect and he didn’t disappoint. The same is true of The Stranglers, but MC50 really did blow my mind. We are blessed.

Alice Cooper

Feed My Frankenstein 

No More Mr. Nice Guy 

Bed of Nails 

Raped and Freezin’ 

Fallen in Love 

Muscle of Love 

He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask) 

I’m Eighteen 

Billion Dollar Babies 


(Guitar Solo) 

Roses on White Lace 

My Stars 

Black Widow Jam 

(Drum Solo) 


Dead Babies 

I Love the Dead 


Teenage Frankenstein 

Under My Wheels 

School’s Out / Another Brick in the Wall part II 

The Stranglers

Toiler on the Sea 

(Get a) Grip (on Yourself) 

Nice ‘n’ Sleazy 

5 Minutes 

Golden Brown 


Freedom Is Insane 

Walk on by 


Hanging Around 

No More Heroes 


Ramblin’ Rose 

Kick Out the Jams 

Come Together 

Motor City Is Burning 



Call Me Animal 

Sister Anne 

Looking at You 


Reviewer: Glenn Raybone

Photographer: Andra Tudoran

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