Alice Cooper has proven once again that he is the undisputed king of shock rock.
The Freaks on Parade tour with Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper as headliners and Ministry and Filter as support stopped at Riverbend on Wednesday night. With four bands performing that evening the diverse crowd was eagerly anticipating a wild evening with some of hard rock’s most celebrated bands. While each artist had outstanding sets, Alice Cooper’s performance was hard to top.
As the curtain dropped and the band started to appear on stage, a large newspaper print with Alice Cooper’s trademark eye makeup appeared. Fittingly, the headline read, “Banned in Ohio!” Shortly thereafter Cooper’s silhouette appeared behind a spotlight. Using a fencing sword he slashed through the newsprint to enter the stage. The crowd erupted as the band started the night of with “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”
The Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey may have been known as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” but there is a much better showman in town these days. Entering the stage like a demented ringmaster with his tall black top hat with matching jacket and pants, Cooper easily took command of his band and captivated the audience. While the set was only a little over an hour, Cooper and company wasted no time as they played hit after hit after hit.
It’s hard to believe at times that Alice Cooper is actually 75 years young. He still sounds great after all these years and his showmanship just keeps getting better. At an Alice Cooper show the performances are just as important, if not more important than the music itself. Throughout the evening he was chased by a Frankenstein monster, showed off his fencing skills, was tied up in a straight jacket and beheaded by guillotine. Showing just how much of a professional he is, he didn’t even bat an eye when the large boa constrictor he had around his neck for “Snakebite,” tried to slither up and across his face.
Let’s not forget the rest of the band as they put on impressive performances of their own. Cooper’s band sounded incredible and did a fantastic performance of the classics. Triple threat guitarists Ryan Roxie, Tommy Henriksen and Nita “Hurricane” Strauss were a treat to watch as they jumped and ran around the stage with plenty of killer solos, sweeping scales and in sync guitar twirls. Along with bassist Chuck Garric, the group did some great backup vocals as well, particularly on “Lost in America,” and “Poison”
Cooper and company performed every classic song fans wanted to hear. Surprisingly he didn’t play anything new off his album Road, which was just released at the end of August. ”Billion Dollar Babies”, “Feed My Frankenstein”, “I’m Eighteen” and many more were part of the evening's setlist. Fans young and old sang along the entire evening. The band closed the evening by performing the classic “School’s Out,” while adding in a little bit of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.” As the night ended Cooper introduced the band and wished everyone, “A very early Happy Halloween”