Last month, undecided about whether to go see Alice Cooper when he came to town, I wrote a post about that. I confessed that I’d passed on previous opportunities to see Alice, saying I was just a casual fan. Still, the consensus was that I should go. So I went last night.
I have to be honest with you. It was one of the most disappointing shows I’ve seen in a long time.
Please don’t think I was naive about what I was going to see. Horror chiller thriller theater combined with hard rock. That it was. And, yes, it did have its moments, but not enough of them.
Easily the best thing was Eric Singer’s terrific drumming. A big sound, energetically delivered. Quite a treat.
They played most everything you’d want to hear, so no complaints there.
That said …
Alice was OK, but it’s hard to buy his stage persona when he’s so otherwise intent on selling himself as nice guy, family man, golf fanatic, radio host, businessman. (Gene Simmons has the same problem these days.)
The rest of the band played with lots of energy, but the guitarists seemed in tune for only the first half of the show. If not that, then the sound mix left something to be desired.
The problem may be that Alice’s albums often are so lushly produced, so lushly orchestrated, that it’s impossible to reproduce that sound on the live stage with just two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. The live show lacks the nuances of the albums, the quiet moments that give the shocks more sudden impact. Then again, that may be on purpose, old tunes given a new interpretation I really don’t dig.
After last month’s post, Willie left a comment that he’d seen Alice do an all-request show with no costumes or theatrics.
I’d rather have seen that show.
Easily the most disturbing thing was this: Anytime there was make-believe violence of any kind on stage, a young guy off to my left went absolutely ape shit. I don’t want to know what’s in that guy’s head.
Easily the scariest thing was this: One of our local TV anchors, wearing a biker’s black cutoff T-shirt, jeans and pointy-toed boots.
Yeah, this guy.
If you’re curious about the visual aspect of Alice’s show, check out this blog and these photos, both from Alice’s show at the Missouri State Fair on Aug. 11. The show here looked much the same. (The photo of Alice is by Chuck Zimmerman, from his AgWired blog, also from last week’s show at the Missouri State Fair.)
6 responses to “I’m (no longer) Eighteen”
My wife and her friend have a tradition where they go down to Foxwoods to catch Alice’s annual Halloween performance. (It’s her friend that’s the fan, but my wife goes for “the experience.”) Her assessment of the shows has been pretty similar to yours, even down to finding the other members of the band more interesting.
It was kind of funny when she compared notes with my aunt, who caught a Cooper show back in the 70’s, and discovered that the script hadn’t changed in over three decades.
(She also caught one of the stripped down, straight up performances once at Otis AFB — attended by one of the Aerosmith guys and his kids — but was too burned out from the trip to the Cape in high holiday season to pay much attention.)
The dichotomy between Alice’s real life and stage personas is a bit off-putting. It’s not like I expect or demand ideological consistency from entertainers, but in his case it seems extra-cynical considering what he’s selling to that audience member you mentioned and what he professes to actually believe in.
Jeff, I’m sorry the Alice Cooper experience wasn’t what you expected. It’s funny to picture the local TV anchor who’s in his 50’s (?) at the concert dressed like any other rock fan.
As for Alice himself, Alice Cooper is a stage persona. It’s no different than Larry Hagman portraying J.R. Ewing. Vincent may have legally changed his name, but he is an intelligent, articulate guy who’s hooked on golf, not guillotines. He gives the fans what they want.
Shit. Now I feel guilty.
Don’t feel bad for me, gents. I’m a big boy. I knew what I was getting into. Just one of those shows that doesn’t quite hit the mark.
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