Monsters of Rock

Another gig report - this time, Monsters of Rock at Milton Keynes Bowl, featuring Alice Cooper and Deep Purple.

Apologies for lack of picture this time - the event rules were somewhat strange regarding cameras, so I didn’t take mine as I didn’t want to risk having it confiscated.

As luck would have it, yesterday was the hottest day of the year, so far. Blazing sunshine all day. Perfect festival-going weather. There were plenty of pink-looking people around towards the end of the day. I came prepared as I knew I didn’t want to suffer the usual Rudolph nose I get when I’ve been out in the sun too long.

Read on for more about the acts we saw.

We managed to arrive in time to miss all of Ted Nugent’s act. Exactly as planned. It is probably a bit foolish of me to second-guess the man’s music from his character. But as far as I can tell he’s a camouflage-wearing gun-toting nut-case and a huge advocate for the American pro-gun lobby.

Next up were Queensryche who I’ve been looking forward to seeing for a long time. They seemed a bit lost in the large-sized festival and were plagued with poor sound quality. Their music’s still great although maybe it works better on the original album. They played a mixture of songs from their new and old Operation Mindcrime albums, but none of their other material.

Not much to say about Thunder or Journey. Both were pretty bland 80’s rock and lived down to my low expectations of being a part of the wasteland on the bill between Queensryche and Deep Purple. I recognised one or two songs but that was about it.

I hadn’t expected all that much from Alice Cooper as I know very little about him. He leapt straight into action with the organ theme from Phantom of the Opera. This works especially well on the kind of mega-watt PA used for an outdoor festival. That lead into “No more Mr Nice Guy” and was followed by a series of “Of course! Another great Alice Cooper track I’d forgotten about” moments. Along with, of course, the obvious inclusions of “School’s Out” and “Poison”.

Interestingly, of all the performers, including headliners Deep Purple, Alice was the only one who really had that “Rock Star” quality about him. Everything about him says “Star” - the mannerisms, the clothing and the voice. In comparison, the similarly aged Deep Purple looked like the old men that they are.

Fortunately Deep Purple have it where it counts. The music.

Having seen a live performance DVD from 2004 I was rather concerned that Deep Purple were going to be a shade “past it”. In the video Ian Gillan’s singing really is weak. To my surprise, since then he appears to have improved enormously. Perhaps not quite up to his 1970’s self, but screaming and yelling more than you might expect for a guy in his sixties.

The rest of the band were great, too and I left the event throughly satisfied and wishing it had gone on even longer.

In fact it did go on quite a bit longer - about an hour longer to get out of the car park, in fact. We followed this with two hours stuck in traffic on the M1 in the middle of the night where the nation’s busiest motorway had been reduced to a single lane for roadworks. I eventually got to bed at four o’clock in the morning. Which, unlike the dodgy festival food on sale, was a small price to pay for a great day’s entertainment.

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