Alice Cooper is 68 years old, so one could assume he’d prefer to put the makeup away and spend his days enjoying his favorite hobby—golfing.
But rock ’n’ roll runs through Alice Cooper’s veins, and while he might enjoy spending time on the golf course, he still rules the stage: On Saturday night at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, it’s amazing the roof remained in place over the Special Events Center after Cooper was done performing.
After a brief Vincent Price-themed intro, the band blasted into “The Black Widow,” followed by his 1973 hit “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” It was evident early on that his band of Chuck Garric (bass), Tommy Henriksen (guitar), Nita Strauss (guitar) and Glen Sobel (drums) help make Cooper’s current live show sound nothing short of amazing—especially Strauss, who came from the Iron Maiden tribute band The Iron Maidens.
The show featured both familiar songs and live antics. During “Is It My Body,” a boa constrictor came out and slithered around Cooper’s head, wrapped itself around his neck, and was used by Cooper to taunt the front row. During “Feed My Frankenstein,” a tall Frankenstein figure came to life and walked around the stage. During “I Love the Dead,” the old guillotine trick—developed by the Amazing Randi, which helped Cooper’s live show became famous—was performed. One still has to wonder after all these years: How in the hell does he do that?
Toward the end of the show, a tombstone went up in the background for Keith Moon of The Who, as the band played a cover of “Pinball Wizard.” Another tombstone went up for the recently departed David Bowie as the crew covered “Suffragette City.” A third and final tombstone then surprised the audience: It was for Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead went up as the band covered Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades.”
No Alice Cooper show would be complete without “I’m Eighteen” and “School’s Out,” which included a fantastic display of bubbles and pyro; it seemed like a fantastic end to a nearly two-hour show. But Cooper wasn’t done: He came back out and closed the show out with “Elected,” which included Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton characters fighting with each other.
This was my first time seeing Alice Cooper, and it felt like a Broadway musical gone bad, along with Christmas, Halloween and a scary acid trip—all rolled into one. In other words, it was pretty awesome. Cooper in large part created many of the the antics I have seen in punk and metal live performances over the years, after all.
Attending the show with me was local metalhead and lifelong Alice Cooper fan Frank Skalsky, who noted the show had a lot of surprises in it as far as the setlist was concerned, including songs that Cooper has not performed in a while, such as “Public Enemy #9,” “The World Needs Guts” and “Long Way to Go.”
The Black Widow
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Public Animal #9
Billion Dollar Babies
Long Way to Go
Is It My Body
The World Needs Guts
Woman of Mass Destruction
(Guitar solo by Nita Strauss)
Halo of Flies
Feed My Frankenstein
Only Women Bleed
Ballad of Dwight Fry
I Love the Dead
Ace of Spades