Alice Cooper: 4/29/2017

My wife is not an Alice Cooper fan, but she made me a promise that if he ever came close to us, she would go with me. Well, this was my chance to cash in on that promise. Cherokee is a relatively short drive (under an hour), and we figured we would make a day of it by touring the village and going to the casino.

We got there early and it was a gorgeous day. The first thing we did was visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. It was a cool museum that really gave a broad picture of the tribe’s history.

Afterwards, we walked around a little and went into some shops. Total tourist traps. Every shop had the same bogus crap that was made in China. It was kind of sad. It made me feel that their culture was reduced to mass-produced shit for white people on vacation to waste some money on. The only thing I bought was some coffee from a local coffee roaster. That was actually quite good!

After that, we went to Harrah’s Resort and Casino, where the concert would be held. This was my first time at a casino, so it was a little overwhelming. We had planned to gamble $50 each, but when they figured out we were newbies, they told us we could sign up for a rewards card and get $50 each credit to play. That was a no brainer! We got the cards and started on the slots. We did OK, cashed out that money, then tried our luck at the roulette table. Didn’t do quite as well there, but we still walked away with some money that we didn’t have before, so it worked out well.

We tried to get into one of the restaurants before the show, but there was no way. The waits were ridiculous. We ended up getting some fast-food grub which was disappointing but filled the void. Then we headed over to the concert hall.

The venue was quite nice: decent size with comfortable seats and a big stage. As we got to our seats, we ran into our friend Ari who was in the same row as us. Small world!

Show started right on time and Alice opened with a blistering version of “Brutal Planet.” Then it was classic Cooper for a solid two hours, complete with wild stage theatrics that included a giant Frankenstein monster, trademark snake, guillotine, and a straightjacket. The highpoint for me was definitely “Halo of Flies,” one of his more obscure tunes from the Killer album which I think is a metal masterpiece.

There was one point in the show where my wife got visibly disturbed, which was during the “Cold Ethyl / Only Women Bleed” segment. She felt it was misogynistic and promoted violence toward women. While I have seen that part of his performance many times, I have always viewed it as an acknowledgment of violence directed towards women, but not as a promotion of it. In fact, that part of the act is almost always followed by Alice being apprehended and punished for his crimes (usually by beheading). But, I had to agree with my wife that it could certainly be seen that way. Thankfully, that did not ruin the entire evening for her.

Anyway, here is the full setlist.

  • Brutal Planet
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Under My Wheels
  • Lost in America
  • Pain
  • Welcome to My Nightmare
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • The World Needs Guts
  • Woman of Mass Distraction
  • Guitar Solo (Nita Strauss)
  • Poison
  • Halo of Flies
  • Feed My Frankenstein
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Escape
  • Ballad of Dwight Fry
  • Killer
  • I Love the Dead
  • I’m Eighteen
  • Elected

Encore:

  • School’s Out

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!