Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Alice Cooper July 22, 2004 Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto, ON. Review and all photos by Celtic Bob

I get in to the Amphitheatre in time to see the last few songs of Edgar Winter. He is playing in the summer sun but doesn't keep the small crowd from loving it. For the last song (Tobacco Road) he brings out Toto's Steve Lukather on guitar. After they finish there is a very short break before Foghat hits the stage. People are beginning to file into the arena now as it's getting closer to Cooper. After watching a bit of this show I decide to make my way to the media gate as it's nearing 9pm. I also use this as a good chance to hit the "Swag Shop" and get a tour shirt. I get to the media gate and meet up with David MacMillian from Eagle Rock Entertainment who was kind enough to get me a press pass for the show (Tks David). Out from behind the gate comes a girl who hands us our passes and escorts us to the front of the stage for the first 4 songs only.

The lights go down and the intro tape begins as the smoke starts to fill the stage. The crowd goes wild as Alice slowly rises from behind a stack of speakers. The band begins "Hello Hooray" as Alice turns around. From then on the guy is totally in character and never slacks for a second. He has the audience under his spell for the rest of the evening. He finishes up this classic tune and goes directly into "No More Mr. Nice Guy" which he performs flawlessly. The song sounds even better live then the original classic cut. Ryan Roxie just nails down the guitar every bit as good as the original. From here he goes into "Man of the Year", the first of 4 songs from his latest effort THE EYES OF ALICE COOPER that he did that evening. This is one of my favorite tracks from this excellent disc. Then he bursts into "Billion Dollar Babies", during which he comes onstage with a sword filled with "Alice $100 Bills" (I was lucky enough to get one) that he flicked out over the crowd. It seemed like only a minute ago we were escorted to the front of the stage and now we were being escorted away. It was a great thrill to be able to get that close to him while he was performing and get to take a few pics. It was hard to get good shots being such a fan as I just wanted to be there taking it all in instead of looking at it from behind a lens. Ahh, the love of RnR!!!!

I then retreated back to my seat to enjoy the remainder of the show. Alice hardly spoke between the songs which flowed into one another quite well. During the performance of "Halo of Flies" his daughter rose up on the stage the same way he did at the beginning of the show. She was dressed in a bright yellow "Kill Bill" outfit and looked better than Uma Thurman did IMO. Throughout the course of the song she proceeded to fight Alice with a sword until he won the battle and still never missed a note. It was here that Alice took his only break from the stage the whole night while the band did a guitar and drum solo segment. Some bands can pull off this bit but despite being excellent musicians this was where the momentum of the show went downhill quickly.

Alice soon returned to the stage with a large snake draped around him while singing "Sick Things". After this the show took an upward swing again with the performance of "Gutter Cats Vs. The Jets / Backyard Brawl" which featured a trio of thugs coming out on stage harassing the players and then Alice himself. His daughter returned to the stage again only to be whipped and beaten down again. As the song ended Alice was back on to the audience and as "Cold Ethyl" started, he dragged out a mannequin dressed the same as his daughter and proceeded to toss it around the stage in true Alice fashion. After this was over she came out with him in a straight jacket which he had on throughout the entire performance of "The Ballad of Dwight Fry". It was at the end of this song I believe he introduced the band as well as his daughter. After the introductions he pushed her off stage saying "Go put some clothes on"…then as he walked toward the center of the stage he joked: "Kids! I don't know where they get it…"

Another classic Alice moment occurred next as he put on his trademark white top hat and did "School's Out" while large confetti balloons started to appear from the side of the stage. As he was singing he proceeded to pop the balloons with his sword as they came toward him. He then tossed his hat at the drummer and walked off stage. Some people started to leave but stopped within moments as Cooper returned and did "Poison" followed by "Under My Wheels" and "Elected" as the encores. During the latter song he had 2 people come out dressed as U.S. President George W. Bush and Presidential candidate John Kerry who danced around each other and proceeded to rip off parts of each other's clothes. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I was too far back to get any further details, as I had started to leave my seat during "UMW" to make my way to the backstage area.

Once in the backstage area we were all placed in a large room upstairs waiting to meet the man. The band members came in and mingled with the crowd. Groups of about 8- 10 at a time were then escorted into a private room to meet Alice. As the group I was in made our way back, we were greeted by Alice himself at the door. When he started to shake my hand he goes: "I saw you…you knew all the words to 'Man of the Year'" (I guess being a fan got me noticed! HA!). After signing autographs for everyone and posing for pics he introduced us to his wife and said we met his daughter onstage. When he signed my "Alice Money" he said "If you got one of these you were just too damn close", then started to laugh. Despite his onstage presence he is a real mellow person and one of the nicest guy's you'll ever meet.

If he plays in your neck of the woods you definitely should not miss it…a super show by a classic artist.

Official ALICE COOPER Site:

Thanks To David MacMillian from Eagle Rock Entertainment!