Alice Cooper at the Rijnhal, Arnhem, The Netherlands, 5th of May 1988.
From the 1970s onwards Alice Cooper continued to amaze me both musically and theatrically. On TV, as a 9-year-old, I saw scenes like hanging, beheadings through the guillotine when Mr. Vincent Damon Furnier (his real name) stormed the charts once again. And the question arose in my mind how he could survive all this, this man was not from this earth, and I also quickly realized that this was all trickery. But none the less... my girls next door had nightmares every time Alice was on TV. Not surprising, because at that time the wildest stories were circulating in the Dutch press about the Godfather of Shock Rock. One of the rumours was that Alice would have thrown his Boa Constrictor into the audience during one of his performances, after which mass panic broke out in the concert hall. The music press was eager for these kinds of reports and every week there was something creamy (shocking) to read about Alice Cooper's antics.
In the early eighties Cooper spent a lengthy period away from the music business. He was occasionally heard of, such as contributing to movie soundtracks and playing cameo-roles in horror movies. With the release of his album "Raise Your Fist and Yell" in 1987, Alice announced his comeback accompanied by a world tour that would also include a visit to the Netherlands.
Waiting backstage for my photo pass and talking to other journalist colleagues, Alice suddenly entered the press entrance unexpectedly and greeted me with a friendly nod. I was impressed with this very friendly encounter with the man who had the pleasure to invite people to his nightmare.
But that was not everything it was also decided that we photographers were allowed to shoot most parts of the show, we could not believe our ears…. finally, no three-song rule. Now I had one problem, namely not enough film, but I was able to take over a film from a German colleague photographer, friend of Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon). The stage show was impressive and started full throttle. During one of the songs an alien/monster came on stage and got into a fight with Alice who beheaded him with a sword. And the (fake) blood was spraying all over the place. Unlucky me, I stood close to the scene and was fully covered with blood in no time. So much so that the record companies A&R manager was still talking about this incident for years. All this blood did not bother me at all, I just took pictures as much as I could. What an opportunity. Besides the great show, there was one other band member who stood out and that was Kane Roberts, who looked more like Rambo than Stallone. During the encore "Freedom", and because of Liberation Day in the Netherlands Alice appeared on stage waiving the Dutch flag. This gesture was enthusiastically received by the frenzied audience and Alice won our hearts....and would he ever win the hearts of my girls next door? Who knows….?