The eagerly awaited UK tour came and went. A jolting, hard-hitting power play of tricks old and new. For two brief weeks, Alices' visit surpassed the tumult of '82 and the halicyon days of '72. A new band, a new album, a new tour and a new ideology for a plan which will ensure a permanent Cooper renaissance. 'Constrictor' had zoomed into the official Uk album chart at No. 40 making a swift decent thereafter. It was reported to be 'doing fine' in the rst of Europe. It remains a healthy seller here in local import stores. But the publicity generated was far more important then sales. In '82, the imitators were gathering ranks. It needed this tour to wrest that younger audience from WASP, Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue et al and introduce them to the originators of todays standard attitude. Alice's decision to tour, tour, tour and tour will be part of a tough and bloody campaign. There will be only one winner.
For the duration of the UK tour, I was invited to watch it all happen and saw at close hand, a legend in the re-making. The call came on the day prior to the show at Wembley Arena. A backstage tour pass had been arranged for me via Alices' management and representatives. "Alice is going shopping so be here at 3.00pm" said the voice on the other end. I arrived at Alices' hotel early and sat and waited. At 3.00pm, I looked up and there, striding through the lobby, carrying an endless bundle of shopping bags, were Alice Cooper, Kane Roberts and Alices' personal assistant Brian, hobbling after an accident en route to Newcastle the previous day, for Alices' appearence on 'The Tube'. Wearily, Brian drawled "hello Andy" and the introductions were made. Alice, dressed in black with hair and wrap-around shades to match, led us into the lift for the ascent to his suite.
Predictably, the first thing to happen was the TV bbeing switched on, an old '30's movie grabbing Alices' attention, for at least 30 seconds. For the next hour we talked and talked about a variety of subjects. Kane seemed very interested in exactly why I was in their presence and read, with great interest, my review of 'Constrictor', which I think he was pleased with! Alice emptied his purchases onto the bed in his room and came back carrying a Margaret Thatcher mask and an expensive, but menacing looking leather riding crop. "So what's it like being a legend?" I innocently, half-seriously asked. "You get to do this" Alice replied and sent a dustbin and it's contents flying across the room with a thwack from the crop. The conversation went through endless tangents but ended when Alice was reminded of a series of interviews waiting to take him into the next few hours. He got into a waiting car for an interview at Radio One, while I re-joined the wounded Brian in a room strewn with luggage and parts of Alices' stage-wear.
I was told that there would be a pre-tour dinner party that night at a London Restaurant to be followed by a trip to The Limelight Club and that I was invited. This set the tone for the hospitaility I was to recieve throughout the tour. On his return, Alice went into a round of press interviews and photo sessions which were interesting enough in themselves. One photographer wanted pictures of Alice handcuffed to a door; "if the keys get lost, this'll be a great story!" said Alice, timing the line perfectly. The room was filling up with press officers, management people annd the like, so Brian and I went into his room again. A porter knocked on the door and entered carrying a huge basket of fruit and flowers. There was a card which read "Glad to see you've put your arse into gear. Good to see you back Mr No. 1, Ozzy Osbourne", which was a nice acknowledgement.
Interviews over, make-up off, Alice and I sat alone, watching the eternal TV. I didn't ask for a formal interview; I knew there wouldn't be any time and although Alice was keen to answer the occasional question, I kept them (I hope) to a discreet minimum.
At 8.00 pm, Alice, Brian and I went down to the lobby and were joined by Jon Podell, a long standing associate of Alices'. We clambered into a huge limo and rode through the Xmas shoppers to Soho for our meal. We stopped outside one of London's trendier eating establishments and walked straight in. Heads tirned as Alice, all in black, strode through the tables and led us to a seperated section with several squeezed together tables at which sat Kane Roberts, Toby Mamis (Alices' management representative and press officer), the band, wives, girlfriends, the other performers, roadies and production staff. Some 20 people in all, few of whom I knew at all, but in the next two weeks would see every day, to the point where, I like to think, we became friends.
I sat near to Alice and we were later joined by Alices' manager Shep Gordon. The dinner was to act as a morale-booster (not that it was needed) for the forthcoming tour. The party became more and more boisterous, louder and colourful. Alice was handed a red rose by Larry (who had roadied on the 'Special Forces' tour). Alice stared at the flower, then to screams of "do it alice" smashed the plant onto the table until the area around us was strewn with petals and a lone stalk. It was a jolly affair and gave me the chance to talk some more with Alice or Kane.
When the meal was over, we trooped the short distance to the ultra-trendy Limelight. We were ushered inro it's dark confines to a reserved, enclosed section where Alice was immediatly surrounded by photographers. He and Kane left for the V.I.P. area so I mingled with the tour party and chatted away with Taft S. Richards, the tour manager.
At around 1.00am, we left the club and headed back to Alices' hotel. I hung around for another two hours, thanked Alice and Brian for the day ad made my exit. It was soon to be showtime.
I arrived at Wembley Arena at around 4.00pm. There were a handful of fans hanging around the deserted complex. I walked into the arena and looked at the empty venue which in a few hours would hold some 10,000 people. At one end was the stage, with the set in the final stages of assembly. It looked awesome, even though it was cluttered with rooadrats, carrying equipment and the band who were finishing the soundcheck. I made my way to the backstage area where property manager Jan Mosely was rummaging in a trunk full of props. Also there were Gary Grosjean, the drum roadie and his wife Trisha. Ed Geil (who had designed Alices' light show since the 'Flush The Fashion' tour) was barking out orders to the lighting engineers as he carried out various checks.
I joined the band in their spacious dressing room, furnished with couches, clothes racks and a table of food and drinks. Kane was riffing out on his Kramer, filling the room with distortion and noise. We talked about his plans for his own band, 'Constrictor', the fanzine, the new arrangements of the older songs and a host of other topics.
I warmed to Kane immediatly. That he had his own charisma was too obvious. With that came a sharp mind, a ready wit and a no bullshit approach to his work. He was aware that the association with Alice would do him nothing but good and he was eager to promote his own band at every opportunity. He had been familiar with the bulk of Alices' work of the past and this enabled him to siphon out ideas for his own project or Alice.
We were joined by Ken Mary, the drummer, who had previously been a member of the highly rated Fifth Angel. The physical similarities to Neal Smith were interesting but Ken had a style of his own making when it came to bashing the skins. In the corner strumming quietly was Devlin 7 (now there's a character!). He had been brought in on rhythm guitar to replace Randy Piper and he gave the tour an offstage zaniness which I found endlessly entertaining. He had known Kane for some years from previous bands. 'Devlin 7' was a character from his 'own sick project', the tapes of which were with Alice. Devlin was a veteran of the touring circuit and certainly no stranger to Europe.
Tracey Dee was there too who played a part in the show. He had his own ambitions as a singer-songwriter and although his parts in the show were small, they were important and needed their own opreparation before going onstage.
As the dressing room began to fill up, I made my exit and went back outside. The support act for the show and the two in Edinburgh were Dr and the Medics following the withdrawal of Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction. They went through their set and went over reasonably well but the crowd was here for one good reason. They took in the set; imagine a nuked fairground beneath a darkened sky, strewn with a mess of corpses and litter. Imagine the whole shebang bull-dozed to one side. Above and intertwined with the light system were circus fairy lights, imagine in the distance a broken big wheel. That was the stage set - Alices' 'broken down carnival' was an '80's nuked legacy.
When Alice made his enterance the roar was gargantuan but from then on the crowds' reaction was sporadic. The show itself went well, Alice and the band were in fine fettle, but the audiences never overheated until the encores, or maybe it was a jaded bunch that stood around me. Either way, it wasn't what I expected, Even some of the band noticed the difference between the constant buzz from the mid-west American audiences and London.
That evening, there was a post-show bash at a Chelsea nightclub. Again, I was invited and watched as Alice greeted guests such as John Hurt, Steve Neive (Elvis Costello and the Attractions), The Damned, Alien Sex Fiend and Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama). There I was introduced to Paul Horowitz, the keyboard player who was accompanied by his parents. Sylvia Dohi, who plays 'Cold Ethyl' and 'The Dominatrix', was also there. Her usual scene was Las Vegas and Vroadway musicals (having appeared in 'A Chorus Line' and 'The King And I') but as John Hurt was saying, "Alice is Rock and Roll AND showbiz - right?" The party went on until 2.00am but Alice left earlier. Monday would bring more interviews and a signing ession at London's Virgin Megastore before the long-haul to Edinburgh.
The appearaence by Alice and the band at the Megastore was for 12.00pm and they entered to loud cheers from the hundreds crammed inside and the hundreds more outside waiting to get in. After a brief photo session, the crowds were ushered around the stand where Alice and the band signed autographs and chatted to fans. The event was a huge success, surpassing anyones expectations. So huge was the demand to see Alice that the session stretched well into the afternoon. There was still an evening of interviews ahead of Alice and I had my own way to Edinburgh to make.
I arrived in Edinburgh the next day at 6.00pm after a six hour journey by coach. I was exhausted and irritable. I asked for directions to Alices' hotel and the Edinburgh Playhouse. Just as I arrived, the band were getting ready to board the tour bus for the ride to the venue. I was heartened by the warm welcome from everyone. The crew had worked through the day to set up the stage set and, as always, did a sterling job. It was suggested to me that I ask Taft for permission to travel with the party to Manchester since my own journey had been so tiring and he graciously agreed.
The dressing room was sweltering, but the band kept to the same routine, a gradual process from 7.30pm of relaxing and getting changed into their costumes. Always on hand was Mary Hockett, the wardrobe girl. while various roadies, including guitar technician Tom Mayhew, dashed in and out of the room. Kip Winger III, the bass player, was tuning his bass and looked eager to hit the stage as obviously, the whole band were. Kip had played on some of the 'Constrictor' tracks but there was never time for me to get further details about his career up to that point. Also there was Production Designer Joe Gannon. The room was filling up so I made my exit.
I walked along the corridor and knocked on a door marked 'Performers'. On being given permission to enter, I popped my head around the door to yell a quick 'good luck' to Sylvia, Tracey and the performance artist Linda J Albertano, who played the 'Nurse' and the 'Executioner' in the show. On my way out, I bumped into Brian who was leaning against an old wooden door. I asked him where Alice was and just at that moment the door opened and out came Alice. He was in his day clothes and wiithout make-up. We said 'hello' before he was led out to prepare for the show.
I made my way into the main auditorium which was now full of 2,400 screaming Scotsmen. Toby Mamis was standing by the merchandise stand and enthused about the forthcoming performance. Toby had a distinguished track record behind him having worked with John Lennon, Suzi Quatro, Blondie, The New York Dolls and he was also the editor of 'Cream' before joining Alices' organisation. He had his own routine of watching his favorite parts of the show inbetween liasing with the promotor, the merchandising staff or the venues people.
The atmosphere inside the Playhouse was highly charged, with the crowd cheering and yelling well before the show started. Edinburgh was to be the first triumph on the tour.
Due to the smallness of the venue, I staked a position on the balcony as it swept alongside the stage. I noticed that the show is far more effective if you can watch from a distance, whereby the effects look far more realistic. However, if you want to watch Alice, you have to be in the front row. There you can make eye-contact and look at a legend at work, as he sweats through his performance, the consummate showman. You can see the madmans' expressions, grimaces and leers, and the sweat matted hair, the running make-up and the stretching sinews.
The show passed too quickly, with everybody involved giving prime performances. In the dressing room, the band were ecstatic at the crowds reaction although Kane was ill-at-ease with the smallness of the auditorium:
"I'm not used to the crowd being so close on top of you. I wasn't sure how to play it."
It took the band some 20 minutes to towel down and change before boarding the coach back to the hotel. At each venue, there was always a horde of autograph hunters and the band were always willing to sign programmes, records and posters. As Devlin said, "these are the people who pay our salaries." The fans that I spoke to were always greatful to the band for allowing them to meet band members and also praised the arrangements of thesongs. This band had given the Alice classics new life and a contemporary sharpness which contributed greatly to the way the show came across.
I sat next to Sylvia on theway back from the hotel. I had noticed that during the soundcheck, she had run-through her dance from 'Go To Hell'. One over eager swing of the whip and she could easily smash a light or smack Kane, Paul or Kip on the head. I stayed at the hotel for a while but made an exit once tiredness began to catch up with me.
The next morning, I arrived back at the bands hotel and already there were a handful of fans, all waiting for a glimpse of Alice. I took shelter from the cold and bumped into Paul Horroritz who was going to do some sight-seeing with his parents. As I sat in the lobby, more members of the tour began to appear ready to go out shopping. Devlin 7 appeared with a map of the town. "When I'm in a place I don't know, I like to go to one of the corners, look around and meet people" and with that he trooped offon his mission. Linda came down next, as always smiling and joking and started to sign autographs and talk to the fans waiting outside. She was flabbergasted at the interest in the tour and she had only been vaguely aware of Alice since her background was that of the avantgarde and poetry readings; I gave her one of my brief explanations of Alices' life and work which hopefully she found illuminating. She always took in good spirit the lighthearted quips the band made at her height (being well over 6 feet).
Alice later came down, on his way to a radio interview. He sat down and read the reviews of the Wembley performance, before dashing off into a waiting car. He suggested I pay Brian a visit rather than sit around the hotel so up I went. I also knocked on Tracys' door and tended to write songs in his spare time, for an album. "I wasn't that aware of Alice because I'm only 22 years old, but he is such a professional, I can learn a lot," he said. I listened to some of the tunes he had composed, some of which I liked instantly. Tracy was sharing a room with Jan and Mistress the Boa Constrictor, who apparently was let out at night to get some exercise.
Back down in the lobby, I sat around and chatted with Ken Mary and his girlfriend, Michelle. They were by now well into the regularity of touring, whereas I was on automatic pilot, still very tired from the last two days. Alice returned from his interview with a greating or everyone. He walked up to Tracy and said "everytime I see you, I hace to go 'hargh''" and acted out the impaling scene on him. "It was nice of him to say that" said Tracy, "I haven't seen him out of the show for a while."
The performance that night was far more frenzied than the night before. The fans were at a constant fever pitch creating an inspiring atmosphere. Back in the dressing room, the band were applauding each other as they began to hit the heights. I asked Taft when was the coach leaving for Manchester. He told me and reminded me to arrive in good time.
The next morning, I arrived at the hotel and saw a pile of bags spilled out on the pavement ready to be loaded into the coach, as Taft went through the usual checks. Alice came out carrying his bags and threw them into the coach and got inside having signed another round of autographs. I grabbed a seat near the front of the coach. Behind me was Devlin and in front of me was Linda, with Sylvia across the aisle. Toby sat at the front, while Alice, the band and the roadrats sat at the back.
The coach meandered across Edinburgh before getting on the road leading to Manchester. Throughout the journey, people sat and talked inbetween catching up on lost sleep. It was on long journeys such as this that the roadrats were able to unwind. Devlin and I spent most of the time chatting and he told me about his own record that he had been working on.
As the journey progressed, Alice grew more and more restless without the TV on. The driver was asked to switch it on and put in a videotape. When asked what he had, he replied "The Evil Dead." It was perfect. 'Evil Dead' is one of Alices' favourite ever films. The film was watched with audience participation at theantics and at one point, I looked around at Alice and the band sitting at the back in throes of laughter at some of the more camp scenes.
Taft asked everyone whether they wanted to make a pit-stop at a cafeteria. The answer was a resounding 'yes' and with a "be back in 20 minutes or we leave without you" warning, everyone trooped off and headed for the cafeteria. I wasn't very hungry, but went into the cafeteria with Kane and Paul. We were joined by Alice who wanted to know what Kane was eating. "Shepherds Pie" Kane replied. "Does it have real shepherds?" was Alices' reply. Alice moved from table to table, cracking one-liners, setting and maintaining the easy, happy-go-lucky atmosphere of the tour. As I strolled back to the coach, Alice joined me. We passed some one-arm bandits and he decided to try his luck. He asked for some change and I gave him a handful. After the umpteenth attempt, he finally won something which he fed back into the machine. Even here, some middle-aged tourists recognised him and again, he was delighted to sign autographs.
Back on the bus, things were quieter. Moments like these had to be taken advantage of, so again, people sat around quietly relaxing or sleeping. We arrived in Manchester early that evening. There was no show that night, instead there was to be a Thanksgiving Dinner for the entire party, cooked by Joe Gannons Wife, Bev.
We arrived at the hotel and after the usual confusion over baggage and rooms, the first thing to do, as ever, was to find Alice a fresh stock of videos, preferably more splatter. I had noticed that the sky was almost entirely black with birds, like a scene from the Hitchcock movie. I pointed them out to Alice who with a smile said he had already seen them. I wondered whether they were here because Alice was in town!
We went downstairs to the lobby and waited for a cab to take Alice, Brian and myself to a video store. As we sat, we made small-talk. "This hotel has spent £2 million on renovation - all on my room!" said Alice. The cab finally arrived and in we clambered. There were no video stores in central Manchester so we had to make our way out, in rush hour traffic, into the suburbs. We found the video store (having first been taken to the wrong store) and Alice made his selection. "They have to be ones I've never heard of - the more obscure the better." He said. Brian and I made suggestions, but Alice quickly zeroed in on the ones that grabbed his fancy. We sped back to the hotel, where everyone was just killing time before the Thanksgiving dinner, while I had to make other arrangements.
The next day, back at the hotel there was already a crowd of fans waiting outside laden eith records and posters wanting autographs, wanting to meet Alice. Every now and again, Kip or Kane would venture down on the way to the shops and immediately were surrounded by fans. I killed time by chatting to the fans as well, pleased to see they were happy to have Alice back on tour, functioning better than before. They were very dedicated, in waiting in sub-zero temperatures for a glimpse of Alice or the band.
Since it was the first show for two days, the band wanted a longer than usual soundcheck. The crew had worked through the previous day to set up the stage and there it was, looking as spectacular as ever. The band ran effortlessly through a selection of tunes, with Kip handling the lead vocals. I sat in the deserted hall and watched them doing what they loved and doing it well. The new support act was Alien Sex Fiend (they being longtime Alice fans) and their small crew were waiting to set up their own sparse set and sound equipment. Everyone in Alices' band and crew watched the Fiends soundcheck of screaming feedback, sequencers, drum-machines - an atonal world away from the music that Alices' people were used to. Toby was keen to see them play and keen to see them do well, since their manager was an old friend of his. As the tour progressed, the Fiends won over the intolerant HM sector of the audience and their own gothic contingent (who had come along to see Alice anyway) grew more and more vociferous in their support.
The customary lavish meal was served to Alices' band and crew by the backstage tour caterers. Kane was in the middle of one of his Raps, provided some form of amusement. I sat next to Michelle, Ken Mary's girlfriend who always had a kind word for everybody. She asked me to accompany her out into the street where she could see the audience waiting to get inside; she liked to compare crowds from city to city. It was freezing cold and it was the usual pre-show set-up. The lucky ones with tickets, the unlucky ones without, who were bartering with the touts, the bootleg merchandisers, all running for cover whenever they saw anyone with a backstage pass. We couldn't bare the cold anymore and so we made our way back into The Apollo. I grabbed a drink from the bands' opulent dressing room and waited again to see Alice and the band work and play.
As always, the atmosphere in the minutes leading up to Alices' entrance was overpowering. The security at this venue I felt was a little over-eager. Fortunately it didn't mar the audiences appreciation of the show. I found myself a little spot away from the mass of bodies and watched another fine display of showmanship backed with music that sounded ever fresh and new. On the way back to the hotel, on the coach, Joe Gannon gave a hilarious, mock guided tour of Manchester which is unrepeatable! We had all been invited to a local nightclub in the area owned by the promotor. Linda, Kane, Toby and Paul decided to go along and I joined them for a couple of hours before calling it a day.
Most of the next day was spent in the lobby or in the bar with Devlin who was alway tremendous fun. After the show, a small number of us went to another local nightclub where Kip Winger caused a few heads to turn, looking every inch a star. It was only a short walk back to the hotel in the early hours of the morning where there were still fans waiting outside.
The last night in Manchester was frenetic despite most of the band getting up late. Kane, Kip and Toby had missed the bands coach to the show as had I. A taxi was ordered for us and the three of them entered and waved at me to get in. I thought they were waving 'farewell' so I waved back. Somewhat bemused, they pulled away as I got into another car with the sound man Bob Scoville. Bob had been an Alice fan in his youth and so was happy to be on this tour. In the bands dressing room, I clicked away with my camera, capturing those moments for posterity. Ken and Tom Mayhew watched TV while Toby outlined his plans to buy Alien Sex Fiend t-shirts for his softball team. I left the band to themselves and ventured down to the foyer to soak up some atmosphere. The crowd, as at all the gigs was a ixture of young HM fans, normal looking couples, punks, goths, older HM fans, some hippies and sensation-seekers. I made my way through the crowd and leant on the stage. When Alice came over and stared down, the sweat dripping off him, I looked at a flesh and blood legend. The years away had added to the myth and the mystique, accumalting the distance to be a star of longevity and Alice remained a mercurial talent. Towards the end of the show he swiped at a crushed beer that had been thrown onto the stage. It smacked me on the shoulder, A security guard grabbed me and demanded to know who had thrown it. When I pointed at Alice, he stared long and hard at my backstage pass before letting me go. I caught the last few moments from the wings. As 'Under My Wheels' ended, Alice hopped through the cables and equipment and perspiring freely, he was away. Back in the dressing room, the band were tired but pleased with another fine show. Outside by the stage door, a crowd of fans met the band for a few minutes as they boarded the coach back to the hotel.
At the hotel, a group of fans were still waiting for the band or Alice to come down. They also wanted 'the girl that plays the photograper' to come down to the lobby. The irony was that several newspapers had mistaken Tracey for a girl, much to his annoyance. I called him to tell him his prescence was requested. He wasn't pleased when I told him he had been mistaken for a girl but he agreed to sign his name for the fans outside.
The next day was spent in Newcastle. I arrived late at the bands hotel. They had already left but I bumped into Toby and the promotor Mick Cater. They offered me a lift to the City Hall, a smaller venue than The Edinburgh Playhouse. The smallness of the stage had presented the crew with several problems, but as always, they did a magnificent job. It was a higher stage than usual, but very narrow. Sylvia was whip dancing as the band ran through a few songs. Kane spotted me and gave me a wave, but I was too tired to wave back. I threaded my way through the equipment and entered the bands' spacious dressing room. It was the usual pre-show set up: Mary was hanging up the costumes on the rack, while Tom Mayhew fiddled with a guitar. Sylvia, Tracy and Linda came in and there, lying ominously in her basket, was Mistress. As Gary Grosjean rushed past, I remarked "small stage". "Yeah, tell me about it", he sighed in a resigned sort of way. I spent the next few minutes, before the show started, in the wings. As the band gathered for their entrance, I walked up a small flight of steps and sat down and waited for Alice to make his entrance. The noise was so loud, I was virtually on the stage itself. As the band got onto their risers, Alice came into the building, made-up and in costume. He leaned against a wall and waited for the moment when he would confront his audience. Ad 'Welcome To My Nightmare' started up, I dashed to the front of the stage, but the audience were so tightly packed into the hall, there was almost literally no room to spare. All the aisles were crammed with demented Cooper fans as Alice put on the best show to date. I spotted Michelle and Trisha surrounded by fans as they tried to get away from that seething mass of humanity. I helped them escape and they quickly made their way to the safety of the dressing room. I spent the rest of the time trying to find a vantage point to watch the show and settled on a seat near the front. This particular crowd was the best of the tour as they pushed and pummeled around, but making sure no-one was hurt. Every song was greeted with frenzied jumping and dancing around.
When the show was over, I climbed onto the stage, just to see how it all looked from that position. The crew were busy pulling down the stage so I got out of the way immediately. There was debris from the crowd all over the stage, everything seemed to be splattered with fake blood.
Back at the hotel, Kip Winger was hobbling and in some pain. He had done himself some damage during one of his famous spins, where in 'Under My Wheels' he turns and spins to the ground. It was quiet at the hotel with little happening. At least the next day was to be a day off.
Birmingham was to be the next and last stop on the tour, a tour which by any standards was a tumultous success for all concerned. At the hotel were the usual crowd, Michelle, Tracy, Linda and Devlin 7. I was given a pre-release tape of Kanes' album which included a track he had co-written with Alice called 'Full Pull'. I spent the rest of the evening in Alices' suite. Since there was no show that night, he had invited anybody who was interested to play cards and he was soon joined by Larry Sapp, Jan Moxley, Toby and others. As always, it began to get late and I made my way to my hotel.
I spent most of the day loitering around Birmingham with various fans. Alice was out giving interviews and the tour was floating on it's own momentum as it reached it's end. I arrived back at the hotel in time to catch the coach to the venue. I grabbed a seat next to Kane, who was contemplating the next few weeks:
"There's the rest of this tour to do and in between, I have my own video to do."
I managed to catch more of Alien Sex Fiends' set this time around and was beginning to tune myself to their sound a little more. I spent less time then usual in the bands dressing room since it was very small. With the costumes in the wardrobe, ready to be worn, the guitars laid out and 8 people in there, it was more than congested. A local TV crew were hovering around that night, waiting for an interview with Alice to be set up.
The show was it's usual manic display, the crowds reaction, predictably ecstatic. I waited until the venue was completely cleared of the public, so that Alice could give the TV interview from the stage. I was despatched to give Alice the message that the interview was due to start. He arrived, still in make-up and in his costume and sat before the cameras. Everyone stayed silent as the interview took place. The whole venue was in darkness, except for the lights from the TV cameras and the torches held by the venues' staff. There was no-one arond except for Alice, his staff, the roadies, the band and the crew as well as some journalists and a photographer. When the interview was over, Alice hopped off the stage and landed next to me. I quickly grabbed a picture (I then had my picture taken with him and Kane of them doing serious damage to my throat). It was strange seeing Alice in his stage drag and make-up, just being himself - I half expected him to put the riding crop that he carried to full use.
Back at the hotel, I sat around in the lobby, talking to some friends. Brian, Alice's assistant, was walking past and as he did so, casually mentioned that I was going to be throwing out a balloon on Friday during 'Elected'. I tried to remain cool but immediatly got nervous! So, I was to share Alices' stage! Surely though, there's nothing to throwing out a balloon!? It turned out later, that I had Toby to thank for the idea. Since it was the lat night of the tour, he thought it'd be a good idea to have an extra two balloon throwers, myself and Mary Hockett. He OK'ed it with Alice and it was all set.
The next day, Alice dealt with the usual round of interviews, but spent the rest of the morning shopping. Brian was going out on his own and he asked me to accompany him. I didn't like the idea of the wind and the rain outside, so I sat by myself in the lobby. Within a few minutes, Alice strode through the hotel doors, carrying a shopping bag. He was on his own and came over to where I was sitting. I told him that Brian was out, so he said "come on up". I asked him what he had bought:
"I thought I'd do some xmas shopping while I was here. This is for my Dad."
and produced an expensive leather jacket.
He showed me into his suite and threw his coat off before switching on the TV and video. "I just have to see the end of this movie" he said and proceded to give me a run down of theplot. He was reasonably keen to chat but he always kept an eye on the screen. I told him that I was going to be joining him onstage on the last night of the tour. I said I was convinced that I would fall off the stage or something. "I have the same problem" he laughed, "but remember to keep an eye out for the footlights, when you see them, stop" he said.
When the movie was over, he replaced it with another, a cheap sci-fi production and he started groaning at the cliches and plagiarism in it. Soon, Brian and Toby arrived with a assortment of TV and radio people, all waiting for interviews with Alice. That night at the show, I paid special attention to the balloon throwing. First Jason, thenthe dminatrix - it all seemed simple enough.
The last day of the tour had finally arrived. Everyone involved was delighted with the way it had turned out. It had all passed too quickly. I spent most of the day shopping with Michelle. However, I made sure I was back at the venue in case there was a last minute change of plan. My cue was the end of 'I Love The Dead'. As it ended, I made my way to the backstage area. It was impossible to get backstage from front stage. I had to make my way out of the venue, into the street and down a sidestreet. I was quickly handed an executioners mask and a black to to wear. It felt peculiar watching the show from the wings. The sound level was much lower and I stood there and watched with the road crew, Joe Gannon, Jason and the Dominatrix. The atmosphere was electro-charged for this last night. There was a mood of fun in the air. It was a particularly manic show as Alice and the band tore through the set with the most ferociousness so far. Jan handed me my balloon: "don't hold it up because we've lowered the lights more than usual. I you do, they'll burst the balloon. Hold it near you, walk out then throw it. you're after Sylvia." he shouted. the band went into 'Elected'. Jason went on, then the Dominatrix and then it was my turn. I held the balloon close to me, but it was so big it wobbled and was hard to control. I stepped out and looked at the 4,000 in front of me and heaved the balloons out. I expected the balloon to float into the crowd. The thing hovered there! I drew my hand back to punch it and as I did, the balloon moved away and floated into the crowd so I ended up punching thin air! I turned around and looked at Alice standing a few feet away from me. I walked off and as I did so, I gave Alice a 'thumbs up', he grinned and thumped me on the back!
I re-joined the people at the wings and as I did, there was an explosion of laughter. As Mary was about to throw her balloon out, Joe Gannon had grabbed it from her and burst it on the lights, showering her and Alice with confetti and toy money! Aliice stood there laughing hysterically.
Back in the dressing room, the band proclaimed it the best show thus far and Devlin teased me about my balloon! "It was perfect, it just hovered there then floated out."
At the hotel, there was the usual crowd of fans waiting, but asthe hours wore on, the cold beat them away. Alice, Kip, Kane and the crew came down at 2.00 am. They were driving to London to catch an aeroplane bacvk to America. We said our goodbyes and the tour was over.