Rock The Bayou – Alice Cooper Outshines On Day 3


September 1, 2008

Sara Cress of HandStamp has written the following report on Day 3 of the Rock The Bayou festival. Photos of Day 3 can be found at

Alice Cooper means to freak me out

Sunday night’s headlining Rock the Bayou set by Alice Cooper was a thrilling spectacle of light, theatrics, makeup, serious shredding and good, old Alice himself, the jester of hard rock.

Cooper, his riding crop, and his band — guitarists Keri Kelli and Jason Hook, bassist Chuck Garric and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso — came out swinging with No More Mr. Nice Guy and I’m Eighteen. The festival attendees that had thinned out during a miserable Warrant performance were back and crowded near the stage. The rest of the seats were more filled than they had been at any point during the festival and the area behind the fences were fairly crowded. Still, it’s pretty strange when you’re able to get within 30 feet of Alice Cooper at a concert. That is to say: it wasn’t packed.

Cooper’s first outfit of the night was black decorated with silver spangles and topped off with a girdle-ish belt with a skull. Songs early in the set included Dirty Diamonds, Woman of Mass Distraction and Feed My Frankenstein.

Soon, the theatrics began.

There was a fake Alice Cooper, dressed in white, that the real Alice Cooper beat up, then sent out on a stretcher, set to Vengeance is Mine (for a second I thought he was saying “finches,” but I figured it out). Halo of Flies made an appearance around this point. A woman appeared wearing a red dress and a gun holster strapped to her crotch; she would hold a gun to Alice’s head and take him off stage.

After a long, disorienting drum solo, helped by the two guitarists each taking a drum, Alice reappeared wearing a red shirt, singing Welcome to My Nightmare and throwing around a mannequin dressed in rags. The mannequin would come to life — played by Cooper’s own daughter, Calico — during Only Women Bleed. Fittingly, she came to life with a sputter of blood from her mouth. I couldn’t help but be weirded out by Alice Cooper pretending to beat up his own daughter during this song; knowing that it’s Alice Cooper, a man you simply can’t take seriously, doesn’t lessen the violence of the images on stage. It felt an awful lot like glorifying violence against women, rather than decrying the plight of the abused.

Then there was a baby carriage carrying a vampire baby. Alice put a stake through the baby’s heart, which led to henchmen putting him in a straitjacket. Then, Alice is hanged.

Ah, but he returned in a suite of white, singing School’s Out and all was well in the nightmarish — possibly Biblical — world of undead — possibly Christ-like — Alice Cooper.

An encore of Billion Dollar Babies and Elected kept the crowd in a frenzy until near 11 p.m., at which point 60-year-olds (Cooper) and 31-year-olds (me) alike were ready for bed.

Waiting for Alice

After I shook off the horror of seeing Warrant make such a mess of Rock the Bayou, I cruised the side stages. Local Helstar was far less glam than anything I have heard here thus far. The band thrashed and screamed, drowning out the nearby band on the smaller nearby stage, which is where I stood. Proximity problems aside, I found another local, Krucible, to be the more interesting band, with an interest in melody and strength in vocals. Way to rep Houston, everyone.

As I walked the festival grounds, I saw a couple and their son, who was crying that he wanted to go home. Mom said sternly, “you can do this tonight, but not tomorrow night.” I assume this means they are bigger fans of Bret Michaels than Alice Cooper. I am opposite.

The Alice Cooper stage is set. Who would have ever thought I would be seeing Alice Cooper from mere feet away?

I know you know this isn’t going well

Dear Jani Lane, singer for glam nostalgia act, Warrant, band that created such popular hits as Heaven and Cherry Pie,

This show will not be your best moment. Looking back on it tomorrow, you might be a little sad and, given your erratic history witb this band, you might once again break from the band. If that’s what you need to do, I fully support you. I don’t know if your voice is shot or if this is a bad night for you, but a lot of us out here are only singing along because of your desperate pleading, not because we are moved. But know that I absolutely feel bad for you right now. I can hardly to stand to watch as you miss notes and keep pleading to guitarist Joey, seemingly asking him to save you from this miserable scene.

Oh, also, the young man next to me would very much appreciate it if you would do Cherry Pie now. He has been asking.

Warrant is…Warrant

Upon refreshing my memory of Warrant with the help of Wikipedia, I find it hard to fathom that this band is still together. Comings and goings, legal action among band members, and reports of recent disastrous shows; you have to imagine there’s not a lot of love left between these guys.

Anyway, Jani Lane just completely butchered one of the band’s biggest hits, Heaven. Opener Down Boys was much stronger. The audience’s attention is less than rapt. Lane keeps telling us that he can’t hear us, and I think there’s a good reason for it.

Final thoughts (so soon?) on Yngwie

I am most certainly impressed with Yngwie Malmsteen’s shred-tastic licks (I mean, seriously, that was fun to watch), but I would rethink throwing around his guitar. He’s not giving it his all; you can tell he doesn’t want to break it. So he tosses it a foot in the air and gingerly wraps it around his body, sometimes rubbing it awkwardly on his butt. Then he tosses it to a roadie, but gives the guy plenty of warning. Give it your all or don’t do it.

I was struck while he rubbed the guitar strings on his butt, then on the stack of cases behind him, that Yngwie might just be the craziest noise artist on the planet.

Reporting for duty at Rock the Bayou

It’s the third evening of Rock the Bayou and the Celine Dion of metal guitar, Yngwie Malmsteen, is on stage, ripping things up on a buttercream yellow guitar that he keeps throwing around. Now he’s, like, stabbing the crowd with it.

Oh, but you want to know what he’s wearing? Glad you asked. Black satin shirt unbuttoned to reveal a sunburned gut; lace-up crotch, skintight vinyl pants with studs up the legs, also black; more gold jewelry than all of the rappers in Houston combined own; and all of that beautiful rock hair.

Malmsteen’s singer is currently whipping the crowd up in a chant: “YNGWIE F***ING MALMSTEEN!”

I think this all sounds like an excellent Halloween soundtrack.

Courtesy of