Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cooper aces new stage show

Photobucket
Alice Cooper points his microphone toward the
audience during his July 9 gig at the Island Resort
and Casino in Harris.


By STEVE SEYMOUR

After four decades in the business, Alice Cooper is telling his own iconic story in the spectacular "Theatre of Death" show.

Cooper brought his fresh concert program to the Upper Peninsula for three shows at the Island Resort & Casino in Harris last weekend.

The 62-year-old Cooper has been attracting fans since his band unleashed "I'm Eighteen" back in 1971.

Besides the seven long-players released by the Alice Cooper band, Cooper has issued 18 studio albums as a solo artist.

Fans have come to expect bizarre stage antics from Cooper, the first person to combine movie-like horror imagery with rock music.

He's been perfecting his brand of shock-rock since the early 1970s.

Still, Cooper is a born again Christian and a political conservative, but refuses to mix those topics with his music.

He beat alcoholism decades ago and helps fellow rockers with addiction, if they seek his help.

The various phases of Cooper's career provide the fodder for his stage show which presents an array of lights, props, costumes and of course, music.

While Cooper remains the focus of the concert, he gets some animated support from guitarists Damon Johnson and Keri Kelli, bassist Chuck Garric and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso.
Photobucket

Tiffany Lowe is also prominent in the production as a dancer, actor and singer.

Cooper credited director and long-time fan Robert Jess Roth with the "Theatre of Death" concept.

Song lyrics tell Cooper's story in four segments, with each version of Alice being killed so a new Alice can emerge.

Before the show, the stage was highlighted by a giant depiction of Cooper on a tapestry designed especially for the tour.

As my wife Sue and I settled into our seats for the July 9 gig, the "Theatre of Death" logo dropped as Cooper opened the show with "School's Out."

Cooper belted out an abbreviated version of the anthem, a Top Ten hit from the summer of 1972, as the audience sang along and snapped pictures on their cellphones.

Standing for the duration, the crowd responded with equal enthusiasm to "No More Mr. Nice Guy," a smash from 1973.
Photobucket

He followed with "Eighteen," the breakout hit from the era when Alice Cooper was the name of the band, not just the lead singer.

The vocalist used a crutch made of bones as a prop during the song.

Posing as a delinquent, Cooper sang "Wicked Young Man" bound in a straitjacket, and was brought to his end at a guillotine during "Ballad of Dwight Fry."

The next phase of the concert featured "Go To Hell" and "Guilty." Lowe appeared on stage in a nurse's uniform as the subject of "Cold Ethyl."
Photobucket

"Poison," Cooper's Top Ten from 1989, continued the segment, while Cooper received a lethal injection from the nurse as "From the Inside" ended.

Cooper delivered "Nurse Rozetta" from a wheelchair, which preceded "Be My Lover," another hit from 1972.

Next, the band slowed the pace for two songs.

Cooper's plea against domestic violence, "Only Women Bleed," was performed as the murdered Rozetta lay across his lap.

The singer was left hanging from the gallows at the conclusion of "I Never Cry," a smash hit from 1976.

An instrumental titled "Black Widow" followed, allowing the band to get some spotlight time in Cooper's temporary absence.

Cooper performed "Vengeance Is Mine" from an elevated platform and tossed necklaces into the crowd during "Dirty Diamonds."

The singer illustrated 1973's "Billion Dollar Babies" by waving a saber spiked with bogus $100 bills picturing Cooper's portrait.

At the end of "Killer," Cooper was dispatched in an iron maiden, a medieval torture device.

An excerpt from "I Love the Dead" followed while Cooper returned for "Feed My Frankenstein," which included a walk-on by an eight-foot-tall Cyclopes.

The players left the stage after "Under My Wheels," another track from the "Killer" LP issued in 1972.
Photobucket

Cooper returned for an encore dressed as flag-waving Uncle Sam to deliver "Elected" and a reprise of "School's Out" to bring the concert full circle.

The singer kept the excitement level high as he tossed giant confetti-filled balloons over the crowd and pierced them with his sword.
Photobucket

All told, Cooper packed 24 songs into a riveting, if ghoulish, 90-minute set.

The crowd, of course, loved it.

Cooper's fans have always wanted an over-the-top theatrical show and the veteran rocker didn't disappoint.

The audience ranged in age from youngsters to people approaching retirement, many wearing Alice Cooper T-shirts.

Michael Latterman of Manistique planned to see all three local shows, including one on his 19th birthday. "This will make singing 'I'm Eighteen' a little weird," he said.

The show may have been the most elaborate production Sue and I had ever seen at the Harris venue.

Born in Detroit as Vincent Furnier, Cooper is known for more than his fright-filled concerts.

He's an occasional actor and hosts a nationally-syndicated classic rock radio program, "Nights With Alice Cooper," broadcast on WIMK-FM in Iron Mountain.

When he's not performing, golf is one of Cooper's favorite pastimes.

He even wrote an autobiography, "Alice Cooper, Golf Monster," explaining how the sport helped him overcome an addiction to alcohol.

While golfers rarely see a hole in one on the links, Alice Cooper easily scored one with his new concert extravaganza.

Alice Cooper Photo Album

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

EXCELLENT REVIEW TO AN INCREDIBLE SHOW. I,TOO, ATTENDED THE JULY 9th SHOW AT THE CASINO IN HARRIS- FOR MYSELF IT WAS THE CULMINATION OF A 37 YEAR LONG AMBITION TO SEE AN ALICE COOPER SHOW. WHILE I STILL HAVE TO FULFILL THE DREAM OF MEETING ALICE IN PERSON, IT WAS AN UNBELIEVABLE EXPERIENCE TO FINALLY SEE HIS SHOW. HE DID NOT DISSAPOINT!!!

Stewart Sternberg said...

I went to the concert in Bay City. It was astounding. I've seen Alice at least a dozen or more times, and he's as good as he ever was. It takes him a couple of songs to get going, but he finishes strong.

Great blog.