Coming across Alice in the Seventies was nothing short of a revelation, and like many of my generation we had all his early albums while his first live release, 1977’s ‘The Alice Cooper Show’, is undoubtedly one of the finest concert albums ever released. ‘Road’ is his twenty second solo album, and twenty ninth in total with the name Alice Cooper. While possibly not a true concept album, the songs certainly share a theme as they are all about being on the road. His favourite sparring partner, Bob Ezrin, was again behind the desk while it was recorded live in the studio by Cooper and his touring band—guitarists Nita Strauss, Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henriksen, bassist Chuck Garric and drummer Glen Sobel. Cooper said, “I only see these guys when we’re on the road. So, I wanted them to be as tight as they are for the show but on all new material. When you have a band this good, I believe in showing it off, and this is my way of doing so.” No overdubs at all, this was the band showing just what they could do. There are also a few guests with both Tom Morello and Roger Glover guesting on one track while Alice’s wife Sheryl provides backing vocals on one song as well.
The first tracks on this album are an absolute revelation, as both “I’m Alice” and “Welcome To The Show” are downright Alice classics which could have come from any of his golden years, this from a performer who is now in his mid-seventies. Throughout the album we get the impression that Alice is just having a load of fun, and in many ways, this is the first real group album for some time, and recording live in the studio is something very few bands are happy undertaking. Even material which is not exactly standout, such as “Rules of the Road”, there is still a bounce and vitality which makes it something where the listener smiles and has fun. Every song on this album would happily sit within Alice’s live repertoire if it wasn’t for the sheer number of classics expected to be played every night. Like Kiss, Alice’s musicality and songwriting skills are often overlooked due to the shock nature of his shows, but this album is one which is an awful lot of fun. Just listen to the way he turns up the metal in “The Big Goodbye” – it is quite menacing, and one can imagine Marilyn Manson having fun with this one, although it is classic Alice throughout. I must admit to not having heard many of Alice’s recent albums, but I can see I need to revisit that, as for sheer enjoyment this is nearly up there with ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ and better than ‘Muscle of Love’.