Volume 93, Issue 18

Thursday, September 29, 1999


I'll take bland for $200, Alex

Skepticism Inc. not questionable

An open letter to Lorne Michaels

Nails hit it right on the head

Cooper has whip-crackin' good time

Guitar Wolf luckily speak universal language of music

Cooper has whip-crackin' good time

Courtesy from Scene Magazine
IS THAT A CANE IN YOUR HAND ALICE, OR ARE YOU JUST GLAD TO SEE ME? Over-the-hill rocker Alice Cooper resurrected his theatre rock antics for an entertaining show in Alumni Hall last weekend.

Terry Warne
Gazette Staff

It was an unholy scene.

No, not Alice Cooper and his rock n' roll carnival tour which rolled into Alumni Hall on Sunday night. What was most odd about this evening was watching the audience members, most of them looking like they had just left a vortex from 1989 – tight jeans, faded concert T's from years past, white high-tops, leather jackets and hair that's been growing since the '70s, being led to their seats by the middle-aged women employed as ushers.

The evening was set ablaze by a tight opening set from Winnipeg rockers The New Meanies. Highly underrated, The Meanies ripped through 40 minutes of their brand of rock n' roll – a cross between Blues Traveller and the Black Crowes. Barely stopping to catch their breath between songs, The New Meanies proved they could catch a crowd's attention.

It was then time for the man who invented theatre rock. Appearing amidst dry ice and explosions, Alice Cooper took to the stage and the crowd was his. As people began to whoop and holler, hands extended into the air forming the familiar devil horns, it became obvious that Alice could do no wrong. Any semblance of the seating plan, which the crowd initially obeyed, was thrown to the wind – these people were here to rock.

It's at this point when a cynic might sneer at the sight of an aging rocker trying to hang on to past glories by trotting out his hits, performing with a snake and utilizing some antics that were, admittedly, a little hokey (for instance clowns sneaking up behind him as he performed). Yet the whole production carried a certain charm. It was hard not to be entertained by the evening, in part due to the fact Cooper, unlike many of today's stars, does not take himself too seriously.

Cooper is a veteran performer, who knows how to work a crowd. As he prowled around the stage, whip in hand, slapping hands with the audience, it was obvious he was playing for a crowd who wanted to be played with. Cooper and his band were in fine form, rocking through faithful renditions of most of his hits, including "Billion Dollar Babies," "Only Women Bleed" and "I'm Eighteen." He even added a frenetic version of Elton John's "Saturday Night's All Right For Rocking" to the proceedings. Halfway through the song he proclaimed, "It's alright, I'm sure Elton is doing one of my songs somewhere tonight."

By the set-closing, "School's Out," Alice was on his fourth costume – white tails and top-hat, wearing trademark black make up around the eyes and using a fencing sword to puncture giant balloons filled with confetti.

It was at this point one had to realize, in the carnival that is rock n' roll, Alice Cooper is truly the ring master.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999