Flash back to 2010, it was Sunday 8th August and I was sharing a tent with a friend in Pori, Finland eager for day two of Sonisphere. My memory of the morning is a little hazy now but it had been overcast the day before, and it was well before the time of iphones or roaming data so we were at the mercy of not knowing what was coming later that day.

It was late afternoon and I’d already seen Profane Omen and Anthrax play their sets. It wasn’t until after Slayer had finished that we had noticed the impending doom and dark clouds that came out of nowhere. When the storm came, it hit us hard. The wind and rain was so strong that we ran to the nearest tree and held onto it, watching in disbelief as tents were being uprooted and flying past us like the house in the wizard of oz. Behind us the merch stand was knocked over with a loud crashing sound and with that we noticed that the stage backdrops had been taken out too.

The storm was over in a matter of minutes and the destruction was wild. We went back to our tent, still firmly rooted in the ground and made sure our belongings were dry (thanks trusty kmart tent). As we walked back to the campsite there were announcements being made over the PA in Finnish only, people were rushing around and there were a number of girls crying. What the hell had happened? 

We walked towards the main stage and finally found someone willing to stop and explain the situation to us. The festival would continue soon, some bands gear had been damaged in the storm and Motley Crue had cancelled. I’d never seen Motley Crue and I was deep in my glam stage, so I was also gutted. From memory, Slayer lent their equipment to a number of bands that followed and the stages were slowly rebuilt throughout the night.

So where am I going with this story? Well, this was the first time I saw Alice Cooper live. I had complete admiration for the bands who played after the storm, without their gear or full stage setups. Alice Cooper prowled across the bare skeleton stage and put on the show of a lifetime. 

Flash back to the present day, and I found myself walking towards Qudos Bank Arena with black clouds in the sky and low rumblings of thunder. Dad had asked for tickets for Father’s Day and I happily obliged, only to later realise the date clash with Queen. 

We took our seats and caught the last half of MC50 featuring Soundgarden’s guitarist and Faith No More’s bassist among a lineup of rock royalty playing a number of songs I didn’t know. These are the guys that wrote Kick out the Jams, which personally I associate with Jeff Buckley, but that was their second song and we’d missed it. 

Next up was Airborne, it was a high energy show with a great reaction from the crowd, but I couldn’t help but wonder if their predicted rise to fame would be the highway to hell they were hoping for. In saying that, I think they’re still huge in Europe, being on the second line of artists on this year’s Graspop lineup, so I’ll gauge that for myself in June. I applaud them for getting as far as they have, the music is just not my cup of tea.

And finally onto the main event, opening with Feed my Frankenstein, No more Mr Nice Guy and Bed of Nails. I was on a buzz and bopping along in my seat knowing the first handful of songs they played. 

I chucked to myself as I watched Ryan Roxie run around the stage, remembering meeting him only a few weeks after Sonisphere festival in a small city in Sweden. I was clinging onto a spot on the barrier waiting for Crashdiet, and a guy walks up to asking us to come over to the other stage to watch his band Casablanca play. I wasn’t interested in leaving my spot, but he was very friendly and kept chatting to us. After chatting for a while he said he played guitar with Alice Cooper, and I remember thinking yeah right. 

After a number of costume changes, props, dancers, straightjackets, an enormous inflatable baby and having his head taken off by the guillotine, I was envious of the energy of this 72 year old man, who clearly still loves performing night after night.

The show was fun, but I’d seen the theatrics before and during the songs I didn’t know I found myself wishing I was watching Queen, playing a matter of metres away in the venue next door to us. 

The show ended with a bang, literally, as Alice popped giant confetti filled balloons with his spiked cane during Department of Youth and ending on School’s Out with an outstanding interlude of Another Brick in the Wall.

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