Alice Cooper: 9/30/2009

This tour was coined the Theatre of Death tour. What was unique about this show was that the Coop was killed not once, not twice, but three times during the concert: once by hanging, once by electric chair, and once with the classic guillotine.

I went with my friend and bandmate, Bill. We made the long drive from Asheville to Durham, but got there in plenty of time to grab some dinner before the show. Some great Cuban food in Durham!

We got in to the Performing Arts Center, which is a beautiful venue. Our seats were a little to the right, but pretty close. Anyway, the buzz was going around the place that a band called 5th Avenue Vampires was opening, and the band included Dennis Dunaway, Alice’s original bass player. I got pretty psyched after hearing this.

The 5th Avenue Vampires were very cool, and Dunaway did a nice bass solo which included classic snippets from vintage Cooper songs, like the intros to “Dead Babies” and “Gutter Cats.” Definitely got the crowd riled!

After the intermission, Alice took the stage, opening with “School’s Out,” and just ripping through one of the most incredibly choreographed performances ever, with an onslaught of one kick-ass song after another. It was all Killer, and no filler.

Then came the encore, which featured Dennis joining Alice on stage to play an extended reprise of “School’s Out.” For an old Cooper fan, I was in my glory seeing those two together slinking around the stage. One of those rock and roll moments that will remain with me forever.

After the show, we drove to my brother’s house and crashed there, since he lived fairly close to Durham.

Anyway, here’s the setlist. Rock on, my droogs.

Setlist:

  • School’s Out
  • Department of Youth
  • I’m Eighteen
  • Wicked Young Man
  • Ballad of Dwight Fry
  • Go to Hell
  • Guilty
  • Welcome to My Nightmare
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Poison
  • The Awakening
  • From the Inside
  • Nurse Rozetta
  • Is It My Body
  • Be My Lover
  • Only Women Bleed
  • I Never Cry
  • Black Widow Jam (with Drum Solo)
  • Vengeance Is Mine
  • Devil’s Food
  • Dirty Diamonds
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • Killer
  • I Love the Dead
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Under My Wheels

Encore:

  • School’s Out (with Dennis Dunaway)
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Alice Cooper: 12/31/1998

What better way to rock in the New Year than with Alice Cooper, right? But wait – it gets even better. So the ticket says Row 2, which I have to say, I was pretty psyched about. But when my friend Jim and I arrived at the show, lo and behold, Row 2 was actually front row! So even though we were off on the side, we were still deep in the madness and mayhem, and we were graced by Alice’s presence when he slunk over to our side of the stage.

The theme of this show was kind of a psycho-circus motif. There were demented clowns providing Alice with his various implements of destruction, and just grinning menacingly like something out of a Stephen King novel.

There were some nice surprises in this show, notably “Public Animal #9,” a classic from the School’s Out album, and “Unfinished Sweet,” where the clowns shoved Alice into an Egyptian sarcophagus and skewered him with swords. Also, Alice made a nod to Elvis, one of his influences, by playing “Jailhouse Rock” for an encore, decked out in a sequined jacket and some fly shades.

There were so many high points at this show, it was basically just one long high point. From the first chords of “Hello Hooray” until the last note of “Under My Wheels,” it was all Killer and no filler.

Here’s the full setlist. Rock on!

Setlistlowns

  • Hello Hooray
  • Sideshow
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Public Animal #9
  • Be My Lover
  • Lost in America
  • I’m Eighteen
  • From the Inside
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Steven
  • Halo of Flies
  • Nothing’s Free
  • Cleansed by Fire
  • Poison
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Unfinished Sweet
  • School’s Out

Encore:

  • Jailhouse Rock
  • Under My Wheels

Alice Cooper and Cheap Trick: 8/26/2005

AliceCooper_8-26-05

This is a concert that has a very special memory associated with it. This was the first concert that I took my oldest daughter to see. Even at a young age, my daughter had great taste in music (a sign that I have done my job as a parent well). She liked Alice Cooper and would listen to the “Welcome To My Nightmare” album a lot, so when I saw Alice was coming to Atlanta, with Cheap Trick no less, I figured it was worth taking a road trip to have a father/daughter bonding experience.

My wife was concerned about me taking our young daughter to an Alice Cooper concert, particularly if I needed to use the bathroom. She did not want me leaving her alone for even one second. Luckily, my brother Mike lived in Atlanta at the time and he was totally interested in going to the concert with us. It also meant we had a place to stay. All in all, it was shaping up to be a great time.

We got to the show, and despite my brother’s warning about how strange of a venue Chastain Park Amphitheatre was, I was still surprised. Chastain sells season passes to really rich folk who bring fancy picnic dinners, have tables set up, and dine by candlelight while enjoying an evening of music. Behind the bourgeois, where we were at, were all the rock and roll crazies. Anyway, it was a very surreal environment.

Cheap Trick came out and they were great, as always. I had seen them many times over the years and loved them each time I saw them. They romped through all their hits and even played “California Man,” possibly my favorite Cheap Trick song. During their set, in a moment of tomfoolery, Rick Nielsen took one of Alice’s band member’s guitars and gave it to someone in the audience. The roadies were quick to retrieve the guitar and bring it back on stage.

I mentioned that “Welcome To My Nightmare” was my daughter’s favorite Cooper album; I should add that “Department of Youth” was her favorite song from that album. So when Alice came on stage and opened the show with “Department of Youth,” it was one of those special moments that only happen at a live music performance. As I saw the rapt look of joy on my daughter’s face, I couldn’t help but feel that Alice chose that song just for us. I know that I’m being naïve, but still, I couldn’t help feeling that way.

The rest of the show was classic Alice: the snake, the guillotine, the straightjacket, and the giant balloons and confetti during “School’s Out.” We had a great time and I have a memory of time spent with my daughter that I will always cherish.

Thanks Alice!