I wouldnâ€™t have called myself a huge Alice Cooper fan, though Iâ€™ve always enjoyed both the music and man behind the makeup. Tonight, I became a fan.
I was first acquainted with his work in 1993â€™s "Dazed and Confused," and that soundtrack warmed me up to this â€˜70s hard rock icon. I really do like classic rock, and Cooper has always seemed like a cool guy to me â€“ his radio show, restaurant in Phoenix and decidedly unrocking love for golf, made me always want to see the legend in person.
Now, of course, Iâ€™m buddies with his bassist, Chuck Garric, who is the husband of OnMilwaukee.com blogger and my childhood friend, Lindsay Garric, so Sunday nightâ€™s Summerfest show made for perfect timing to see Cooper live.
Against the background of the beautiful BMO Harris Pavilion, Cooper and crew turned it up for a wind-blown crowd ready to hear his hits. Itâ€™s funny to think that in the â€˜70s, Cooper â€“ aka Vincent Damon Furnier â€“ was considered scary. Funny, because he didnâ€™t seem scary to me. Just good. And way ahead of his time.
Tonight, Cooper looked great for a guy who's ready to collect Social Security. The show was as theatrical as it was loud, too. I laughed when he wielded a sword, throwing money around during "Billion Dollar Baby," and when he busted out a giant coffee mug during "Caffeine."
But that was just the beginning.
Cooper brought out a live snake for "Devil's Food." He went into some sort of electric chair during "Frankenstein" and emerged as a giant monster. Then there was a straight jacket and a scary nurse and a guillotine. And a severed head.
I wish I remembered the '70s a little more. It mustâ€™ve been a lot of fun.
Of course, Cooperâ€™s stage presence was backed by solid music, too. He surrounded himself with top-notch musicians who rocked out to an extended break down. His guitarist, 28-year-old Australian phenom, Orianthi, really shredded.
Cooper wrapped with "School's Out" that morphed into "Another Brick In The Wall." Nice.
A couple pyrotechnics led to a faux bloody crutched "Eighteen" for a one-song encore. And he did thank "Mily-wauk-ay," in reference to "Wayneâ€™s World." Party on, Garth.
So, sure, this music sounded dated, because it is. But consider that "Welcome To My Nightmare" came out in 1975. It actually sounded a little '80s, but think about it: Cooper was a good 10 years before his time. And he's still going strong.
In the end, Cooper brought a super high energy, loud, pseudo gory and fun show. The crowd ate it up ... and so did I.
House of Fire
No More Nice Guy
Billion Dollar Babies
Iâ€™ll Bite Your Face Off
Is It My Body
Under My Wheels
Welcome to my Nightmare
Go To Hell
Feed My Frankenstein
Ballad of Dwight Fry
Killer School's Out
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