GIG: Alice Cooper, Halloween Night of Fear with support from the New York Dolls
DATE: Saturday 29th October 2011
VENUE: Alexandra Palace, London, NW2 7AY
COST: £34.50 plus extortionate service fee of £5.25/ticket PLUS the luxury of having to print our own tickets!!!!
OUR VERDICT: Ghouls gone wild

The Beeb is Ghouled!
The entrance to Alexandra Palace was adorned with monster paraphernalia, and ghouls and zombies awaited us as we filed in, each trying to spook the crowd.
Inside were more ghouls and zombies who were part of the show, alongside a mixture of normally dressed people and those who had really dressed for the occasion, in fancy dress, characters from Alice Cooper’s vast back catalogue and even some Alice lookalikes. First time we’ve been to a concert and felt under-dressed!

The gig was all standing and as the hall was so massive, two large screens were hoisted in the air right and left of the stage so if you couldn’t see through the throng of big heads and tall people, you could always see the live action on the screens!

Earl Slick
We had wandered through to the main hall not long after the New York Dolls started their set. The sound was very clear, and although they didn’t have a massive stage presence, the Dolls sounded really good. The Beeb was well impressed that long time David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick was part of the band.

Minty was not really familiar with this band, but they have a good rock sound, a bit of harmonica thrown in every now and then, and one of the guitarists had a lovely gold Gretsch! They did manage to play their whole set without breaking sweat. They’re built for more up close and intimate venues rather than arenas.
The New York Dolls

Their set ended and we had a 45 minute wait while, behind the Alice Cooper stage curtain, the gear was set up for the Halloween Night of Fear. We had worked our way through the masses of bodies by this point, and found a tiny bit of unoccupied space about twenty five metres from the stage.
The Stage Curtain

The heat from the bodies packed into the immediate area around us was overwhelming and about five minutes before Alice’s show began, right  beside us one very tall gentleman had just taken his leather jacket off  then passed out cold, giving everyone around him a bit of a fright as he just fell backwards and hit the floor hard! Within seconds he had recovered, thankfully. The first thing he did was asked where his jacket was. The Beeb told him he had it, then gave him it back saying the pockets were empty!

The Black Widow

So the lights went down and a Vincent Price voiceover introduced the show……. The curtain was dropped and Alice was there, dressed in black and orange, centre stage at the top of a set of steps so everyone, no matter how tall or small, how close or far, could see him, with sparklers in the palm of his hand while his did his first song “Black Widow”. What a start!

His set was a bit of a greatest hits show, with “Billion Dollar Babies”, “I’m Eighteen”, “No More Mr Nice Guy”, “Hey Stoopid” and “Poison” complimenting his visual artistry. Alice Cooper is definitely a true performer. “Only Women Bleed” was really fantastic, singing along to ‘Cold Ethel’ his toy doll.

When it was time for a change of costume, he left the stage, leaving the bass player and drummer to keep the beat going….. and they did! An extended drum solo and the crowd encouraged to reprise the “Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey”  from “Hey Stoopid” kept the pace up for about ten minutes before Alice came back on the stage this time dressed in black and white.

To introduce one of his new songs, “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” he came on stage wearing a jacket that had “New Song” splayed across the back, just so we all knew it was exactly that!!

There were the expected shockers: early in the show he brought his friendly snake on stage, wrapped around his neck, and towards the end of the show, we saw Alice being beheaded and then the executioner drinking his blood and spitting it out into the crowd!

The last song of the main set was the cult classic, “School’s Out” which everyone in the crowd shouting along with and which morphed into a superb rendition of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”.


There was an encore, “Elected” where Alice came back on stage in a ring master coat and Top Hat, carrying a huge Union Jack Flag and then a Halloween guest appearance from Arthur Brown, who gave an energetic performance of his classic hit “Fire,” complete with huge flames engulfing the head-dress he was wearing. We feel it got a bit hot under the collar for him and there was a spot of difficulty in removing the head-dress at the appointed time!!!

Arthur Brown & Alice share a laugh at the end of the show

It took a while to file out of the hall and by the time we joined the queue to pick up our pre-ordered copy of the 3-CD set recording of the show, it had extended way back to the end of the hall! The queue did move quickly though and before long were on our way, CD in hand and talking about how great the show had been.

It’s hard to believe that Mary Whitehouse and her ilk were up in arms when Alice first came on the scene here. What Alice cooper really is, is just the biggest and best and truly entertaining pantomime villain there has ever been. Oh, a pantomime villain with a great back catalogue of songs that is.

Alice certainly has his dedicated fans. There was a really wide age range in the audience, and you could tell different ages had their own particular favourite song eras. We can’t think any other gig where so many people came specially dressed for the occasion. Some of the costumes were amazing.

The Beeb has been waiting for forty years to see this man perform and he was on a high (or maybe just a bit lightheaded from the headshaking to the music!!!).

Two let downs of the night:

The company running the bars have dodgy practices. We bought 2 bottles of Pepsi and as we were not allowed to take bottles into the hall, the contents were poured into paper cups for us by the bar staff. Well, they poured about two thirds of each bottle into cups and then handed the cups over. When I pointed out we had paid for two bottles and I therefore I expected the FULL contents of those bottles to be in the cups, they were a bit incredulous!!!!

The representatives of the company selling the 3-CD recording of that night’s show told us that if we didn’t pre-order and waited instead until after the show to buy the CD, the chances are we would lose out and not get a copy. We were a bit miffed that as soon as we walked out, we could have purchased the said CD directly from the girls flogging them, instead of waiting in the extremely lengthy Q to get our pre-ordered copy. Also, you can order the CD directly on their website even if you never went to the show. Hmmm, questionable practices to secure your money upfront, especially as they would have known they were also making the CD available to buy on on line!


GIG: Glen Campbell
DATE: Saturday 22nd October 2011
VENUE: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, London
COST: £42.50 (no fee as were members)
RATING: Thank You and Good Bye


This show was a sell-out, and the RFH had even opened up the choir section behind the stage to cram more people in!

Instant People opened up the night’s proceedings – a 5 piece band, 3 of who (we were later to find out)  were siblings and had the Campbell name…. they were Glen’s children. They were actually really good – the banjo playing keyboardist was Glen’s daughter Ashley, the Ovation guitar player was his son, as was the drummer (safely caged behind Perspex!). The main lead in the group was not a family member but he had a very fine strong voice. The bassist was a mite annoying with a chicken walk and he kept coming off his perch, and then got his lead tangled!

Their style of music can best be described as hypnotic groove and are not unlike the band ‘Grand Drive’ (which includes three brothers called Wilson!) with acoustics and some good harmony.

After a short interval, Instant People were back on stage, this time as Glen’s band. When he walked onto the stage the place erupted, he had a standing ovation and he hadn’t even uttered a single word! His opening number was “Gentle On My Mind” and by the second song, “Galveston”, The Beeb had reached for the hankies. This was going to be a very emotional evening.

Glen has not lost his sense of humour, striking a pose for the press photographers, imitating Elvis during “It’s Only Make Believe” and doing Donald duck impressions! Years of entertaining audiences became clear early on, and the way he moved around the stage showed incredible understanding of how to reach out to everyone there.

His daughter challenged him to a duel, and what we got was “Duelling Banjos.” with her on banjo and him on guitar and what we got was a few minutes of bluegrass delight! No wonder Glen was such a successful session musician – he has not lost any of his finger work on a guitar!!!

Glen left the stage while his kids introduced the band (The Beeb was quite taken with the drummer’s middle name being Caledonia!)… which included his long term keyboardist, T.J. Kuenster, who also seemed to be the musical director and then the band did a lovely cover of one of Glen’s songs, “Hey, Little One”.

Glen came back on stage and gave us “Ghost On The Canvas”, the title track from his new album, which sounded superb. The next set of songs included “Southern Nights” and then he said that if it wasn’t for Jimmy Webb he probably wouldn’t be here doing this right now…. and The Beeb just melted when the first chords of “Wichita Linesman” were played. Without a doubt, one of his top five songs of all time.

The final song was “Rhinestone Cowboy” which had the 4000 strong audience singing along, and Glen, understandably seemed to really love and appreciate this.

As he left the stage, the applause was thunderous and it wasn’t long before he was back in front of the microphone for two final songs, “In My Arms” and the incredibly moving “A Better Place” before he really did mean, “Thank you and goodbye”.

This was a particularly emotional night for The Beeb, because Glen Campbell has always been a particular favourite of his from way back in the sixties, but never got the chance to see him live. The Beeb has always appreciated a good voice.

So, a poignant evening, knowing that after this tour Glen will never hang up his guitar, and no matter what the future holds for him he’ll always have his music to help him on the rest of life’s journey.


GIG: John Cooper Clarke
VENUE: Jazz Cafe, Camden, London
DATE: Saturday 8th October 2011
COST: £22.00 (+£16.50 towards the food bill) plus the usual extornionate fess of £11.75 for both tickets
OUR VERDICT: "Feeding Caviar to Swine"

We had high expectations with the Jazz Cafe...... an iconic London music venue which offered the show & dinner.
Dinner was very disappointing and as the first of the two support poets took to the stage, he was drowned out from the staff clattering with plates, trays, continuing to serve food and drinks throughout, and chattering amongst themselves AND a constant chatter from two tables nearby where the diners had no concept of talking quietly!! Also the view from the dining tables was extremely restricted - a thing not noted when making our booking!!!

After we had paid for our meal (we refused to pay the 10% automatically added to the bill after the constant interruptions and noise whilst the support acts were on stage) we headed downstairs and joined the "mosh pit" where the audience had a bit of respect for the performers.

Not long after 9pm, John Cooper Clarke took to the stage..... dressed all in black, with large Ray Ban sunglasses, carrying what looked like a G&T.

For the next hour and fifteen minutes he wowed us with his witty repartie and poetry. To our surprise, there were more jokes and humourous memories than poetry, but nonetheless it was a thoroughly enjoyable show.

JCC has a list of poems that fans of his know, in fact he had a whole book of them on stage. But the only one that he did that was known to us was his hilarious "Hire Car." The lack of poems wasn't a problem though, his humourous off-the-cuff stories, (which went off at all tangents!) and jokes more than made up for it.

He could have gone on all night we imagine, but the compere at the side of the stage finally had to hook him off to make way for the 80's disco that was due to start right then!!!

We'd definitely love to see The Bard Of Salford again, but certainly NOT in the Jazz Cafe, Camden.