Alice Cooper: 7/17/1980

This is my ticket stub from the very first time I saw Alice Cooper. This was a huge deal for me, because I was a major Coop fan and was psyched beyond words to see the man live. This was the “Flush the Fashion” tour, which was not my favorite album at the time, but I have learned to appreciate it over the years. Anyway, on to the story.

I was living in Miami at the time, and West Palm Beach was a bit of a hike. I worked with a guy named Floyd, who was a bit of a redneck but he liked rock music, and he had a car. He agreed to drive me and my two friends Vinnie and Leanna, so the four of us piled into his car and headed down the road.

We were driving up I-95, Vinnie and Leanna were in the back, I was shotgun, and the three of us were talking and laughing while Floyd was driving. Then he suddenly pulled off onto the shoulder and started yelling at us: “STOP LAUGHING!! My license is expired and if I get pulled over by the cops, I go to jail.”

I looked at him. “Umm, the cops probably won’t pull you over if we are laughing, but they might if you are stopped on the side of the highway. But if it makes you feel better, we will be quiet.”

An uncomfortable silence ensued for a while. After a bit, Floyd said, “It’s ok. Y’all can laugh if you want.” At that point, I was failing to see the humor in anything.

We got to the West Palm Beach Auditorium, hung around the parking lot a bit, then went inside. It was a triple bill, so the first act to play was Billy Squire. He was OK. Next up was Mike Pinera’s Sea Rock. Mike was also playing guitar with Alice on this tour, but it was cool to see his solo band. For those of you who don’t know, Mike Pinera was from the Blues Image, so of course they played “Ride Captain Ride.”

While we were waiting for Alice to come out, Floyd asked us to kick in money towards gas, since he filled the tank prior to the drive and we had agreed to give him some money. I gave him $3 and Vinnie gave him $3. Leanna didn’t have any money. Gas was cheap back then. Floyd had spent $12 to fill the tank. Anyway, he stood there, looking at the money, and said: “Hey. I put $12 in the tank. There are four of us, and 12 divided by 4 equals $3 each, so you all owe me another $3.” Vinnie had no more money, and all I had was $3 to my name. I told him that Leanna didn’t have any money, explained our cash situation, and told him I would give him a few dollars at work when we got paid that week. He responded by saying that Vinnie and I could get a ride back, but he would not drive Leanna because she didn’t pay. At that point, I lost it and got in his face, yelling and cursing at him. People were backing away because the argument was getting really heated. Finally, I gave him the last of my money and said, “Here you go, asshole! Take my last three fuckin’ dollars. Cheap fucker! Hope you’re happy!” At that point, he tossed the $9 at me, turned around, and walked away.

Now I started to panic. West Palm was a long way from Miami, especially in the days before cell phones and Uber, and $9 was not going to pay for a cab. I envisioned us hitching, which was not what I wanted to do. Alice came out, started rockin’, but I was obsessing. Visions of me kicking this guy’s ass at work were dominating my thoughts. I tried my best to enjoy the show, but each song seemed to fuel my anger more and more.

Finally, after a few songs, who shows up beside us, but Pretty Boy Floyd. “Hey guys! WOOOOOOO! Killer jams!” I looked at him with a feeling of disgust, but had enough common sense to keep my mouth shut. After a while, my anger subsided as I realized that we were getting a ride home, and he didn’t even ask us for a penny. I figured that this guy must not be playing with a full deck. I would be sure to keep that in mind.

The show was awesome. Extremely loud, but I was lovin’ it to death. The stage show was scaled back, no guillotine or anything like that, but the fight scene in “Gutter Cat vs. the Jets” was very cool. I would see Alice many times after this, but there is nothing quite like the first time.

The ride home was uneventful, thankfully. Here is the setlist. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • Model Citizen
  • Grim Facts
  • Go to Hell
  • Guilty
  • Pain
  • I Never Cry
  • Talk Talk
  • I’m Eighteen
  • Gutter Cat vs. the Jets
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Clones (We’re All)
  • Nuclear Infected
  • Under My Wheels
  • Dance Yourself to Death
  • Road Rats
  • Elected

Encore:

  • School’s Out