Ice Palace
St. Petersburg, Russia
June 12, 2000

The news that the king and originator of macabre would play the only concert in Russia reached me a week before the show. That would not have been bad if the venue in which he was going to play was not located some 750 km from my home city. Anyway, I decided to go, and I don't regret it for a single minute, 'coz the show all but blew me away. This is certainly the best gig I've seen this year and one of the best in my life.

Alice hit the stage with the title track from his latest "Brutal Planet" album which at once got the crowd going. As far as I understood, many people in the hall haven't heard the new CD yet, but the song was received enthusiastically, as well as almost all the other tracks. Alice played about a half of the latest disc and a lot of old classics including crowd favourites "No More Mr.Nice Guy," "Under My Wheels," "Schools Out" and "Poison". He even managed to include some very obscure tracks in the set. I've never dreamt of hearing "Caught In A Dream," "It's Hot Tonight" and even "Guilty" live, as these tracks seemed to me long forgotten by everyone. "Feed My Frankenstein" sounded strangely relaxed and not aggressive, but the guitarists were perfect on that one, making the solo a bit longer than on the studio version so that Cooper could have time for stage theatrics. Yes, the theatrics was there in "all their decadent glory." Cooper utilised almost the entire arsenal of his stage tricks, except probably for bringing up a boa constrictor (the animal has recently passed away). Even the guillotine was there, preceded by killing a baby doll in "Dead Babies" and followed by the coda of "I Love The Dead," guitar and drums solo and Alice's brilliant resurrection on "No More Mr. Nice Guy."

There were also a few fresh tricks, and how cool they were. Just imagine Alice singing "I'm Eighteen" leaning on a crunch, or men wearing the masks of Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin go fistfighting during "Elected"! The main part of the show ended with "School's Out," and encores included "Billion Dollar Babies," The Who's "My Generation" (another surprise!) and "Elected," but the crowd demanded more. Then Alice returned to the stage for "Ballad Of Dwight Fry." Wearing a straight jacket and accompanied only by the guitar, he sang the song till the middle part and then suddenly left the stage screaming "I gotta get outta here, I gotta get outta here." The show was over. After the gig, a lot of people gathered at the backstage pass to get autographs. However the king of macabre never came out. Instead, he was carried away in a huge limo, and the security did not allow the people to get any close to it (the assholes -- ed.). However I managed to meet guitarist Pete Freezin' after the show. He signed my entrance ticket and agreed to be photographed with the fans. As far as I understood, the band was very pleased with the show and the audience. Unfortunately, the house was far from being full, probably due to very poor advertising outside St. Petersburg. A lot of people heard about the show only several days before it took place and did not manage to arrange their schedules. Another minor disappointment was very poor merchandising. I mean, why not put a single T-shirt on sale? Why try to market "Brutal Planet" CDs for $17 when they are available throughout the city for $11? Why not sell posters? Moreover, why not open a single clock-room in the entire hall? A lot of people came to the show wearing overcoats and carrying bags, and it was far from pleasant to be geared like that next to the stage. However all these details fade away when I think that I've seen the Alice Cooper show at its best.

The songs played (as far as I remember):
Brutal Planet
Gimme Go To Hell
Blow Me A Kiss
I'm Eighteen
Pick Up The Bones
Feed My Frankenstein
Whicked Young Man
Dead Babies
I Love The Dead (Coda)
Guitar solos
Drum solo
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Take It Like A Woman
Only Women Bleed
Caught In A Dream
It's Hot Tonight
Under My Wheels
School's Out
Billion Dollar Babies
My Generation
Ballad Of Dwight Fry

-- Maniac


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