'Dirty Diamonds' Live - The 'Dirty Diamonds Tour'
Alice and Calico Cooper, Newcastle 2006
(Photo by Bill Crowe)
The 'Dirty Diamonds' tour began in June 2005 in Australia and ran through to October 2006. The show still featured relatively few big theatrical effect. This was partly to keep the costs down now that they weren't generally headlining big arenas, but also due to the increasing number of festivals they were doing, where they didn't have as much control over what they could mount on the stage. They also started accepting more tours with other major bands, 'package tours', which saw them with a slightly shorter stage time and normally going on first, which again limited the stage space. Financially these shows made sense in a market where record sales had plummeted and ticket sales were generally down, but a lot of fans weren't impressed to see Alice Cooper ostensibly opening for other bands, despite the constant assurances that they were always "joint headliners".
Of course Alice was happy to go on first. He had an amazing band who easily stole the show every night, and he got back to the hotel earlier to relax and watch some TV! However it was clear that, at least in America, Alice was no longer able to headline many of the usual arenas alone. On the up side the smaller shows suited Alice much better then the huge impersonal arenas. While bands like Kiss could fill those rooms with explosions and big screens, Alice's show has always been more subtle. In the big halls people at the back can't really see everything that is going on that clearly. The smaller theaters alleviated that problem a great deal and also have a much better atmosphere, something that is almost always lost in the arenas. Alice would continue to play bigger venues in Europe, but the days of headlining 10,0000+ seaters in the US were, at least for now, over.
The 'Dirty Diamonds' show did change over the two years but always followed a similar pattern. The show opened with a tape from 'Phantom Of The Opera' before the band launched into a truncated version of 'Department Of Youth' which led into 'No More Mr Nice Guy', Alice in now back in the most famous 'clown' make up. The stage set was relatively sparse, with risers left and right of Eric's drum riser, stairs leading up to the wall of amplifiers so the band could move up and down. There were a few trash cans around (one to hold Alice's hand props), and an open coffin right of the drums, but that was about it.
'Dirty Diamonds' used a short taped introduction from the album before the band blasted in to the song, Alice stalking the stage with handfuls of fake pearl necklaces which he threw into the audience in huge numbers. If anyone ever tries to sell these to you, bare in mind Alice has now thrown out thousands of them over the years! 'Billion Dollar Babies' featured the money sword with Alice teasing the front rows before swinging the sword over them, the dollars falling into the crowd. 'Be My Lover' follows with the rather amusing line "play guitar in a long haired band" where Alice points to one of the guitarist, who at this point ALL had short hair! 'Lost In America' is dispatched with little fuss, Alice changing in to a leather waistcoat with an American flag on the back. A short version of 'I Never Cry' brings things down a bit, with Alice sitting on his trash can at the front of the stage, Ryan and Damon strumming acoustic guitars behind him, before 'Woman Of Mass Distraction' kicks things into high gear again.
'I'm Eighteen', 'Between High School and Old School', What Do You Want From Me?' and 'Is It My Body' all pass relatively uneventfully before the lights turn to dark reds and greens for 'Go To Hell'. Calico appears beside the drum riser in a scanty black outfit, moving down to the stage and twirling her whip. Alice catches the whip, and she turns to the crowd revealing vampire teeth. She stretches her arms out revealing a black cloak and moves backwards, hiding Alice view. When she turns back Alice is gone (escaping under the drum riser). 'The Black Widow' is used as a framework to allow the band to show off a bit (and give Alice a break) before the second half of the show begins.
Calico Cooper as 'Paris Hilton'.
(Photo by Bill Crowe)
Most of the band change costumes slightly before 'Gimme' sees Alice appear in a red shirt, top hat and whip. Then during 'Feed My Frankenstein' Alice picks up various body parts and inserts them into the coffin, which will be used later in the show. 'Welcome To My Nightmare' leads into a medley of songs commonly known as 'The Piece' (a title seen on the on stage set list sheets). 'The Awakening' starts with Calico appearing in a red dress performing ballet moves. The first part of 'Steven' begins and Alice grabs Calico, drawing a knife and pulling her to the steps before the drum riser where he sings the part of 'Only Women Bleed' to her, holding up her seemingly unconscious head. He moves to the front of the stage as Calico slowly rises. He goes to stab her but is stopped by hooded figures who pull him away, and while the band plays another chorus of 'Steven' he's strapped into the straitjacket for 'Ballad Of Dwight Fry', lit by the single white spotlight. Of course he escapes in time for a shortened 'Killer' during which the hooded figures reappear and hold him. The executioner (Pat Nowak) calls to the crowd "Citizens... what shall we do with him?... should we burn him?.. no? shall we hang him?.. Shall we introduce him to Madam Guillotine?". Calico, in white face mask, pulls away the covering hiding the device and Alice as usual loses his head. The executioner parades the severed head around the stage before Calico steals it and teases him with it. She then places the head onto the body in the coffin as the band play an instrumental 'I Love The Dead'. Smoke pours from the coffin and Alice appears in white top hat and tails for 'School's Out' to close the main set.
'Poison' is the first encore with Alice in his 'Trash' jacket, before 'Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills'. Calico reappears as 'Paris Hilton', a then famous airheaded celebrity, in tint pink hot pants, blue top, purse and pet chihuahua. Photographers arrive snapping shots as the dog tries to bite her and she throws it to the ground screaming, the paparazzi capturing every detail. She attacks them before being carried away. Alice picks up her purse and swaggers around the stage. 'Under My Wheels' closes the show with the giant balloons thrown into the audience and band introductions with Calico returning on crutches.
For a few shows only 'Sunset Babies' was played in place of 'Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills' during the encore, which made far more sense in context of the 'Paris Hilton' gag as the song was about people just like her. When they switched back to '...Beverly Hills' 'Sunset Babies' moved to earlier in the set replacing 'What Do You Want From Me'. The other 'Eyes...' track was also dropped later in the tour, replaced by 'You Drive Me Nervous'. In 2006 'Guilty' also appeared in the set list.
The set list was shortened during the Deep Purple tour in 2006 with 'Lost In America', 'Guilty', 'I Never Cry', 'Between High School and Old School', 'Sunset Babies', 'Is It My Body', 'Gimme' and 'Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills' all cut from the set. A similar thing happened when they played with Heaven And Hell (Ronnie James Dio/Black Sabbath) in 2007.
An early show at the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 12th 2005 was filmed for Swiss TV and later released as 'Live At Montreux'.
- Alice Cooper - Vocals
- Ryan Roxie - Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Damon Johnson - Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Chuck Garric - Bass, Backing Vocals
- Eric Singer - Drums
- Tommy Clufetos - Drums (Briefly stands in for Singer during 2005)
- Brett Fitz - Drums (Briefly stands in for Singer in 2006)
- Calico Cooper - The Nurse, Backing Vocals.
- Pat Nowak - The Executioner
The Guillotine, Newcastle 2006
(Photo by Bill Crowe)
'Dirty Diamonds' Tour Setlist
This is a general setlist. There were a few changes during the tour.
You can see detailed setlist for all the shows by clicking here
- 'Phantom Of The Opera' Intro tape
- Department Of Youth (part) - Replaced by Wicked Young Man in 2006
- No More Mr Nice Guy
- Dirty Diamonds
- Billion Dollar Babies
- Be My Lover
- Lost In America
- Guilty - inserted in 2006
- I Never Cry
- Woman Of Mass Distraction
- I'm Eighteen
- Between High School And Old School - replaced by 'You Drive Me Nervous' in 2006
- What Do You Want From Me? - replaced by 'Sunset Babies (All Got Rabies)' for a while in 2005.
- Is It My Body
- Go To Hell
- The Black Widow (Instrumental)
- Feed My Frankenstein
- Welcome To My Nightmare
- "The Piece"
- The Awakening
- Only Women Bleed
- Ballad Of Dwight Fry
- I Love The Dead (Band vocal only)
- School's Out
- Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills
- Under My Wheels