Star Plaza, Merrillville, IN
July 11, 2013
Review and pics by Tim Shockley
There was a time I’d never miss an Alice Cooper show. That time was roughly 1972 to 1998. As I started to drift towards faster, louder, and rawer music, I began to miss a tour here and there, usually regretting it! Well, no more! Time to start all over again!
This was my 21st time seeing Cooper. Lord knows how many times it’d be had I not blown off several recent tours. Cooper was my first concert, way back in ‘72. Seems a million years ago, now. One thing’s for sure- he has never disappointed me in a live setting!
It should come as no surprise the bulk of Cooper’s 90-minute set was comprised mostly of his better known songs from the 1970s. After all, that was his hey-day. Few rock bands were bigger or more infamous from ’70-‘74. The original Alice Cooper group wrote hard rock hits as well as anyone. Thus, songs such as “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Under My Wheels,” “Billion Dollar Babies,” “I’m Eighteen,” and “School’s Out” garnered the loudest cheers from the near-sellout crowd. My personal favorite was “Ballad Of Dwight Fry.” How can you not love a guy singing while wearing a strait-jacket? Dude’s got issues!
From Cooper’s early solo career were “Welcome To My Nightmare,” “Go To Hell,” “Devil’s Food,” and “Department Of Youth.”
I was never too keen on ‘80s hits “Poison” and “Hey Stoopid,” so, “Hello, bathroom!” and “Hello, beer!”
Cooper always surrounds himself with solid musicians. Chuck Garric (bass) and Glen Sobel (drums) provided pounding rhythm while the triple-guitar threat of Tommy Henriksen, Ryan Roxie, and femme fatale Orianthi (hubba hubba!) alternated and shared blinding lead solos.
Of course, no Cooper show is complete without him taking one for the team. Cue the guillotine! To the death knell of “Killer,” Cooper’s head, once again, landed swiftly in the bottom of a bloody basket, just as I’d seen it nearly four decades earlier. To this day, that trick makes me nervous! Murphy’s Law, anyone?!
Hands down, the unquestionable highlight of the night was Cooper’s four-song tribute to his “dead, drunken friends,” aka, The Hollywood Vampires, his mid ‘70s boozing buddies who tried their best to drink LA dry. Giant headstone backdrops adorned the stage as the band paid tribute, one by one, to Jim Morrison (The Doors’ “Break On Through (To The Other Side)”), John Lennon (The Beatles’ “Revolution”), Jimi Hendrix (“Foxey Lady”), and Keith Moon (The Who’s “My Generation”). Granted, Hendrix was unlikely a Cooper cohort since he died several years prior to the Vampires’ alcoholic reign! Still, any excuse to give Orianthi a reason to shred is fine by me! And I must stress, the entire band nailed every song! Hell, Cooper had to emulate four different singers!
About the only downside to an otherwise perfect night was the rather dismal beer selection- Miller Lite and Genuine Draft. Really? What is this, 1977? Hey, just because the majority of songs performed were from the ‘70s doesn’t mean the beer has to be!
All in all, another solid “10” from Alice. Some things never change. Remember The Coop…
House Of Fire
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
I’ll Bite Your Face Off
Billion Dollar Babies
Department Of Youth
Dirty Diamonds (w/band solos)
Welcome To My Nightmare
Go To Hell
Feed My Frankenstein
Ballad Of Dwight Fry
Killer> I Love The Dead
Break On Through (To The Other Side) (The Doors)
Revolution (The Beatles)
Foxey Lady (Jimi Hendrix)
My Generation (The Who)
School’s Out>Another Brick In The Wall