ALICE COOPER – A WOEFULLY INADEQUATE ODE TO ALICE COOPER
Show Date: October 29, 2006
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Venue: Orpheum Theatre
Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE Alice Cooper?
Well, now would be a good time to mention that, wouldn’t it?
I mean, the guy’s music has been an integral part of my moral undoing for some 20 (perhaps 25) years. Maybe more.
The first time I distinctly remember being aware of the man was as a child, say 9 or 10 years old, when my brother and I watched him perform “Welcome To My Nightmare”, then “School’s Out”, on “The Muppet Show” back in the 1970’s.
Kermit the Frog actually had a clue.
Anyway, I LOVE Alice Cooper. He is the perfect Rock Star, if for no other reason than that he’s cooler than God simply by being.
He’s larger than life and seemingly down to Earth at the same time, all without trying as hard as most supposed Superstars do most every moment of their attention obsessed lives.
Onstage he plays a constant role: Madman, Killer, Monster, Media whore.
He knows this, and frequently speaks of the character ‘Alice‘ in the 3rd person, sometimes wondering aloud what his professional persona will do next. Offstage he plays golf, hosts some talk radio, and owns a restaurant.
There’s no public preening, trash-talk, bragging or high profile feuding with other celebrities. He’s a generally regular guy with a BADASS image that remains relegated to his place of work, and he’s never pretended otherwise.
I like that.
That said, Alice Cooper and his current touring band recently played their annual Halloween week gig in Boston, at the Orpheum Theater.
I was there, like I have been the last 6 or 7 times, and I swear I’ll be there as many more times as life will allow. Why? Because Alice KILLS me.
For a guy who remains mostly out of the public eye, recording new CDs every few years and undertaking tours that garner limited media coverage, he still knows how to put on an Amazing show when he wants to, usually creating a Fantastic spectacle at each venue he plays.
He may not always fill Madison Square Garden anymore, but the crowd size he draws is always more than respectable, and includes a generous mix of old and young. His die-hard fans (yours truly in there) are loyal & ravenous, and we will continue to support him for as long as he keeps on doing what he does. Why? Because he knows how to treat his regulars, and keeps newcomers interested by mixing his setlist well, keeping the classics front and center, while giving some quality time to his new numbers as well.
In other words, he keeps it fresh AND familiar.
This time was no exception.
And while I was that nerdy freak who kept pulling out a pen and scrap of paper to keep track of the songs he was playing just so I could regale you with tales of what lit the place up and made us old farts titter like little girls while his usual hits kept the newbies entertained and the drunken revelers smoking dope and flashing the stage, I’m afraid I’ve currently misplaced said scrap, so I can’t tell you the exact setlist… but know that it was a DAMNED good one. And they actually played less new material than they usually do, even though I do profess to liking a fair amount of said new stuff.
Anyway, despite the obvious exclusion of the occasional moldy old nut like “Desperado” and “Elected”, there were plenty of other gems, classics and deep tracks in there to keep things interesting. I mean, right alongside newer grimy nuggets like “Dirty Diamonds” there were still crowd pleasers (or ME pleasers) such as “Dead Babies”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, “Lost In America”, “Feed My Frankenstein”, “Be My Lover”, “Is It My Body”, “The Ballad Of Dwight Fry” and “Black Widow”, all before the encore, then (predictably, but not disappointing) “Eighteen”, “Under My Wheels” and, get this… the unexpected “Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills”, from his Glorious “From The Inside” album, which Alice and band raved on while the man’s own daughter Calico (yes Calico Cooper, a regular & welcome character actress in his stage shows) vamped it up as a sleazy, (more) trashy, ragged caricature of one Ms. Paris Hilton as part of the grand finale.
And that’s almost all I’ve got to say on the matter for now.
Suffice it to say I had a good time.
The man has a stage presence like no one else in this day and age… a cocksure command of all within his realm of existence for the duration.
At the time of any Alice Cooper performance the theater is his, and all within are captive subjects and witness to the unfolding mythology that takes place in the allotted time, which is, invariably, too brief.
Sadly now, I’m afraid my words can’t do what I’ve seen much justice, but I’d like you all to know that any time the Coop plays your town, whether with his usual latter day guitarists Ryan Roxie and Eric Dover in tow or with their impressive understudies Keri Kelli and Damon Johnson capably complementing long time Cooper drum-whore Eric Singer, the event is a joy to behold.
Rock shows should always be so good, yet today seldom are.