Vincent Furnier was nowhere to be found last night. However his alter-ego, Alice Cooper was on full display at the Akron Civic Theater and the near capacity crowd loved every minute of the nearly two-hour set.
Appearing center stage, dressed in a black cloak with sparks raining down from overhead, Cooper and his tight five-piece band launched into “Black Widow” and never slowed down.
An Alice Cooper show is like a Broadway play; every song has its own production and there is no verbal interaction between Alice and the audience. There doesn’t need to be any interaction either, as the crowd watches each performance unfold song by song.
There is a huge toy box on stage and throughout the show, various stage hands dressed in different costumes will pop out of the box and assist Cooper with a variety of props including hats, canes, and jackets. During “Billion Dollar Babies” Alice was given a sword with fake money on the blade, which he shook into the waiting hands of fans in the first few rows. He was also given his infamous boa constrictor, which he let slither around his head during “Is It My Body.”
His band is comprised of three guitarists; Ryan Roxie, Tommy Henrikson and Nita Strauss, bassist Chuck Garrick and drummer Glen Sobel. The 29-year old Strauss got to take the spotlight for a five minute solo where she absolutely shredded; removing any doubt that she belongs on stage with the boys. A bit later, Sobel also got to display his skills behind the skins for an impressive solo.
During the second half of the set, more elaborate props were used on the stage. During “Feed My Frankenstein” Alice was “electrocuted” and a huge ten foot tall “Franken-Alice” roamed the stage.
Later, a maniacal nurse took the stage and placed Alice in a straight jacket while he sang “The Ballad of Dwight Fry.” Alice eventually escapes, gets caught and gets “executed” by the guillotine.
No worries, Alice came back to life as he got off of the gurney. A voice asked “What are you going to do, raise the dead?” Alice then picked up a tombstone with Keith Moon’s name on it and nodded “yes.” A grave marker was displayed on the back drop bearing Moon’s name and the band launched into “Pinball Wizard” from the Who. Another tombstone was displayed on the back drop, this time with David Bowie’s name on it, so the band played “Suffragette City.” The final grave marker had Lemmy Kilminster’s name on it and the crowd was on their feet, rocking out to an awesome version of “Ace of Spades.”
It was a great tribute for those artists and former friends of Alice.
Cooper ended his set with two iconic songs “I’m Eighteen” and “School’s Out” with a little bit of “Another Brick in the Wall” thrown in for good measure.
Since it is an election year, Alice came out for the encore in a red, white and blue top hat and a “Vote for Alice” t-shirt and sang “Elected.” During the song he introduced both candidates as “Trump” and “Clinton” took center stage and had an animated fight where there really wasn’t a winner.
Alice Cooper proved once again why he is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is a truly an originator and his act and music still holds up after almost 50 years of being in the business.