Theatre of Death
You can feel in the buzz that something big is about to happen here tonight. The crowd is restless and jam packed in front of the Saturn Stage. The 'Theatre of Death' curtain gives us a slight hint as to what we are about to experience, but in truth it doesn't come close. Everybody is expecting something that Sonisphere has not experienced in its short life. Alice Cooper will be on stage within seconds.
The curtain falls away to one suspended five letter word, 'alice', say no more. The event kicks of with 'Schools Out' and that's it, Sonisphere is alive and goes mental. 'No more teacher's dirty looks' drives most people over the edge. Everybody is here to experience the 'Theatre of Death' and it is obvious from the onset that Alice is not going to disappoint us. 'School's Out' is delivered as if Alice is a 16 year old student and the middle aged amongst the crowd are warped back to 1972, screaming 'school's out forever!!'
But then it's after 'No More Mr Nice Guy' that it become apparent the show is going in a different direction to live up to its title. This is going to be a full stage production and during 'I'm Eighteen' the first of the props appear in the form of a 10ft bone crutch. This is very unfortunate for the other band members who are being beaten and harassed with Alice's new toy. He is really giving it all and we're not sure his voice and body would be able to handle this onslaught for two hours.
The first of many deaths occurs during 'I'm a Wicked Young Man' when Alice is attacked by a villain and after a struggle he stabs the assailant through the heart. The special effects are out of this world and very convincing; and whilst the villain dies with convulsions and spasms, we all cheer the result. It is clear that this will not be an ordinary live music show.
Before the next death is staged, Alice delivers 'The Ballad of Dwight Fry' wearing the traditional straitjacket. It is quite an eerie sight seeing a mature man singing such a beautiful song in such a vulnerable position, but nothing prepared us for what was about to happen next. A guillotine appeared on stage and Alice is taken to it and his head placed on the frame. Throughout this, Alice is singing and there is no doubt whatsoever that he is in position to have his head chopped off, as you can see him singing on the big screen. The guillotine falls and his head drops. There is no doubt that we have just witnessed Alice's head roll, but a slightly confused Alice comes out from behind the guillotine, checking his head is intact. He proceeds to pick up the decapitated head and delivers 'Go to Hell' with the head swinging by its hair from his hand.
When 'Poison' comes up, Alice hardy has to sing. I'm convinced he could not hear himself anyway. The crowd sings every single word, and not just the chorus. It is during the alcoholic performance of 'From the Inside' that we are introduced to the death dealer, Tiffany. Over the rest of the show Tiffany will kill Alice in all possible ways. The sound of Alice's neck breaking in the gallows after 'Only Women Bleeds' was again so convincing that the only way to do this on stage is by having three or four Alice Coopers to kill. And when she pushes the swords through him whilst in the box, blood splatters out on the other side. The dead Alice is finally wheeled off stage, but his spirit enters bassist, Chuck Garric, body and continues to sing through him.
During 'Billion Dollar Baby' Alice grabs hands full of 'pearl' necklaces and throws them into the crowd. Some necklaces are licked just to give a little Alice DNA with it. This is followed by flicking a few hundred dollars off a sword into the crowd, before chopping the baby's head off.
There are obviously various costume changes throughout the performance, but to ensure continuity, Alice changes on stage and therefore he doesn't really take any breaks. He is just constantly delivering this awesome act and singing 99% of the time, without stopping to take a breath whilst chatting to the crowd.
Sonisphere will never be the same after this onslaught of the macabre. Alice ripped us all apart limb by limb, throwing the body parts in the furnace of hell and scattered our ashes across Knebworth; and this is only the end of day one!
Amazingly his voice lasted all the two hours and he comes out to a resounding encore to deliver 'Elect Me' whilst waving a Union Flag and a second dose of 'School's Out' just to make 100% sure we are all totally buggered after the show.
Everybody agrees with a resounding 'We're not worthy' that echoes across the fields of Knebworth.