Alice Cooper, Bonn, 21 June 2010

Here's to another short but sweet trip. A fan orientated review once again. I promise I will also review the Muse concert I saw, but this was a bit lower in my to do list at the moment.

I spent two days with my family which was really nice. Then it was time to meet Nephtis, again we had never met in real life but we've known each other online for about 2 years now and we have more or less the same job, that plus we both like drawing Alice Cooper and fantasy themes so we were bound to get along.

Always more fun and less stress when you go somewhere, to be accompanied. We arrived around 1pm to check out the place, in fact it was so early that the venue was not even fenced out yet. It's a small square next to the Museum, and when we got there we strolled by as the stage was being set up. I always said that I didn't think I'd like seing Alice outdoor and I have now confirmed this. That and the setting of the venue made it really hard to get in the mood.

You know the sort of dreams, not the horror type nightmare but the kind where things don't work and get more and more frustrating? I often dream of going to a concert and then either not finding the venue or getting lost inside, or shut out of the hall etc... This place looked a lot like my dreams and it gave me an uneasy feeling.
But once I put this out of my mind it was great fun, we met some old friends and made new ones as always. It never felt like 5 hours sitting there and chatting, By the time you get to know people and exchange some pleasantries it's already time for the big race.

Well it really looked like this because there were two separate queues "closed" off by some tape. Said tape didn't last long, the "rival" queue had already bitten through theirs and we weren't going to let them beat us so ours was gnawed to pieces soon enough (not that I helped at all with my sharps claws). As soon as the zipper went up (the entrance was a tent flap) everyone tried to push trough. I've never been good at running with my bad knee and my leg muscles were already cramped up, running through gravel didn't help, but being among the first dozen to get in I managed well. I aimed for centre left which is unusual for me, but was the closest.

This time it took longer to set up the curtain so we could watch a bit longer

Proof I was there:

That phone camera is really unflattering :D

That first part went well and this being a small festival (very small indeed) there was no pushing at all and we had ample space to move our legs. Then it was only a matter of waiting through the opening act, two more hours to go. I must say this was one of the best opening acts I saw with Alice. They're called "The Other" and had a kind of vampire, horror set up. I wasn't too impressed by the music, not helped by the fact it was really not loud enough (people in the crowd kept shouting "we can't hear you"). But at least it was enjoyable for once, their set was fun and cool costumes, time went by much faster than in London for instance, no need to call the rats to the rescue (see previous review). I did my best to get in the mood, but as I said the broad daylight didn't help, even the vampires on stage looked a bit fake, I mean, vampires by daylight? I pictured how cool it would be to have the 5th Avenue Vampires open here (one of the current bands of Dennis Dunaway, the original bass player with the Alice Cooper Group).

In daylight the whole show felt just like another concert. Not what I expect when I see Alice, I expect this when I see any other musicians but here we're supposed to be at the Theatre of Death, it's a full blown show and the audience is part of it, right in the middle. I felt at the same time that I was closer than ever but also more remote than I had been in a long while. Weird. I prefer dark venues, small theaters like the Apollo, or the old industrial hall in Basel.

Then again the big surprise was the sound. When you choose to be in the front you can't possibly expect a good sound, it's physically unlikely, but sometimes it's a bit extreme depending on the venue. Last year in Montreux, Alice's voice followed him wherever he went, if he was by the opposite side of the stage you couldn't hear him at all. If you're lucky you can still hear most instruments but it's really a bit muddled, can't have everything.

So it was great to see that there were two smaller loudspeakers set right at the height of the stage and aimed at us. They played the full sound all the time and every instrument was crisp and clear. Not to mention Alice's voice. During the slower numbers I could hear every word clearly and every inflection and it often gave me goosebumps.
Of course one could also hear every note of all other instruments, and follow each solo performance. What a treat! I want more of that!

I love this band so much, the interaction is perfect. I love the looks they exchange and the sheer fun that they obviously have. Since the stage was very small I could finally see Jimmy a little bit, and he was almost continuously grinning even though it's not really supposed to happen, I mean this is the Theatre of Death, it's serious business ;)
Apparently there was a big delay in their trip from the US (according to Chuck's twitter and FB page), they're bound to be really tired, but it sure didn't show.

The setlist is slightly different, there are three songs less. But "Dwight Fry" is still stuck between "Wicked Young Man" and "Go To Hell" and I must say that part doesn't work well for me. Maybe I am just very choosy because it's my favourite moment in the show, but the transition is really too brutal in my opinion.
Other than that I like how the whole balance of songs works, and all the different "prop" moments flow really well from one to the other.
Gone were "Department of Youth" (No More Mr Nice Guy went into that slot instead of being down the end of the list) ; "Welcome to My Nightmare" and "The Awakening" :( kind of sad, I suppose it's to fit the festival format, but these 3 are what made this show so cool, closer to the old days than I ever witnessed.

"Wall of Fame" wise, I nearly didn't get anything this time the wind was blowing all the notes during "Billion Dollars Babies", into the pit. Thank goodness for my fellow fan Lisa who was chosen to help out on stage at the end of the show (and did a great job there), she gave me a dollar note, and then I also got a piece of balloon from a security guy. Bit frustrating when one of Chuck Garric's picks landed right at my feet but on the other side of the fence. When the securtiy guy picked it up he turned around and held it behind his back so he couldn't see who was getting it, that was the fairest way but I didn't get it and it was so close!

I got myself a usb key again, with the concert on it, at least part of it. I'm a bit disappointed by the quality of the sound but it's really a cool object. It's shaped like a bracelet. At first the drums are mixed too loud, then it gets a bit better. And the sound is more "flat" than the London show. At the end of Nurse Rosetta "something" is badly out of tune. I mean I don't know much about music and usually don't notice mistakes or glitches much but this sounds really "ouch" at least on my speakers. I have the feeling this is a glitch in the recording but don't quote me on it.I compared both shows that I have on USB and the London recording is much much better. Maybe it's because it was in a hall, no idea.

Well for once I am not really on the usual fluffy cloud but it's not the fault of my holiday. I simply couldn't leave my little problems at home this time. Too much on my mind at the moment. It didn't help that I had a really nasty answer to one of my comments on Facebook. My own fault for reading the notifications after the concert instead of just posting my own update and go back to dreaming. Speaking of dreams I had a lot of strange and fun dreams lately. But this is a different sort of dream so I'll leave it for another post.

It's all over again. Until the next time!


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