Wednesday, May 31, 2000

Alice Cooper - Roseland Oct. 2000

Alice Cooper
Halloween 2000, New York City
by Madeline Bocaro

Ladies and gentlemen! Children of all ages! Step right up! See Alice
Sing and Dance! See Alice Committed and Strait-jacketed! See Alice
Beheaded! See Alice Reanimated! The side-show and the main event are
both rolled up into one great spectacular evening of theatrics, mayhem
and rock n’ roll!

Alice Cooper was one of the first rock stars to present a full-blown
theatrical stage act. (Wisely, he never relied on his looks to sell
records!) Had the original Alice Cooper Group not been so clever, and
had the songs not been so well crafted, the stage spectacle would not
have transcended time as favourably as it has. Of course a little
comedy thrown in for good measure didn’t hurt! Most folks take all this
fright and horror stuff quite seriously, but Alice brings his own
special brand of burlesque to the genre. The guillotine is to Alice
Cooper what Henny Youngman’s violin was to his one-liner act.
Take my life - please!

At his Halloween performance at Roseland, Alice was in fine form. The
Brutal Planet stage set is a futuristic junkyard. A mutant monster
announces that the universe is now controlled by the megalomaniac Alice
Cooper. Alice makes his entrance brandishing a sword like a drunken
samurai, wrestles the whip from the dancing dominatrix during the
classic “Go To Hell”, carelessly wields a crutch throughout “Eighteen”
and waves a huge rattle over a frilly pink baby carriage for “Dead
Babies”. The correct props are highly essential!

He opens with some new songs; most entertaining was the “Batman” themed
“Wicked Young Man” mocking today’s young whippersnappers who perpetrate
the violence they see in the media. “I’ve got a pocket full of bullets,
a blueprint of the school, I’m the devil’s little soldier, the devil’s
little tool”. “Pick Up The Bones”, a song about collecting the bones of
his family in an old pillow case was a bit disturbing until Alice
clumsily gathered skeleton parts into a bloody pillow case with extreme
lack of finesse!

“The Ballad of Dwight Fry” was brilliant as usual - Houdini would have
been proud - but “Steven” was sorely missing from the set. During “Feed
My Frankenstein”, Alice gathers severed body parts and assembles them
in a smoke-filled chamber while walking his demented Frankenstein walk.
The guillotine rolls out during an abbreviated “I Love The Dead”, and
Alice is beheaded way too early - only forty five minutes into the
performance. This is silly because he commits far worse crimes worthy
of decapitation in the second half! This year’s rubber Alice head
wasn’t as detailed as past ones which had guts dangling from the neck
and spit blood. So much for the gory details.

The ravaged nurse (Dwight Fry had turned the hypodermic needle on her
earlier) retrieves The Coop’s bloody head and places it atop the
pre-assembled body parts in Frankenstein’s chamber, where Alice becomes
reanimated. He bursts out in a clean white suit for “No More Mr. Nice
Guy”, and it’s a stream of old hits from then on.

The band (Guns N’ Roses wannabe’s) were too young to evoke the
character of the older songs, but they fit right in on the new
material. We could have done without a drum solo, but I guess it was
necessary for Alice’s final costume change - essential for all great
rock divas. An encore of the Who’s “My Generation” was highly
irrelevant and unnecessary, but let’s forgive Alice, for he is the man
who chased people dressed as teeth with a giant toothbrush during
“Unfinished Sweet” on the Billion Dollar Babies tour!