Better late than never.....
Alice Cooper - Express Live Columbus, OH May 16, 2017
I first saw Alice Cooper in concert January of 1987. Alice was on his comeback tour after taking a three-year hiatus to get clean and sober. That tour was dubbed The Nightmare Returns and Alice was back in a big way. Alice had released the album Constrictor the previous year and had a minor MTV hit with "(He's Back) The Man Behind The Mask", which was featured in the movie Friday The 13th VI: Jason Lives. The bigger triumph though were the shows on The Nightmare Returns Tour. They are regarded as some of his best in years and Alice himself said that "Alice" had something to prove and was ready to reclaim his title as the king of shock rock.
Seeing Alice on that tour was really an eye-opener for me. Up until then I had only seen television appearances and some random live clips of Alice. I really had no idea what to expect from an Alice concert. My teenage eyes were used to the pyrotechnic bombast of a Kiss show but Alice brought theatre to theatrics and it completely blew my mind.
Thirty years later I find myself attending the Alice Cooper show once again. During that thirty year span Alice has released numerous records, some great and some just ok but his show has remained the thing that keeps fans returning year after year. I've probably seen Alice a dozen and half times since that first 1987 concert and I am still blown away by the show he brings each and every time.
Alice and his rock and roll carnival slithered into Columbus on May 16th, for what seems to be an annual visit to our city. This time around Alice had no opening act, the tour is called Spend The Night With Alice Cooper and that's exactly what Columbus got to do.
The set opened with "Brutal Planet" and was followed by two Alice classics "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and "Under My Wheels". Next up was "Lost In America", a fan favorite from Alice's 1994 album The Last Temptation. Alice has been known to dusts off a deep track or two for his die hard fans and he delivered a couple gems this time around. First up was "Pain" from his 1980 new wave classic Flush The Fashion. This song originally appeared in the movie Roadie and had not been performed in concert since the 1980 tour for Flush The Fashion. I've always loved that era of Alice's career and "Pain" is a great song. He also performed "The World Needs Guts" from his 1986 album Constrictor. The set was rounded out with many of Alice's best known songs including "Welcome To My Nightmare", "Billion Dollar Babies", "I'm Eighteen" and set closer "School's Out".
Alice had his pet snake for "Welcome To My Nightmare", put on his straight jacket for "The Ballad of Dwight Fry" and came to his untimely demise by way of the classic guillotine stunt during "Killer/I Love The Dead". It was a classic Alice Cooper show on all levels.
Alice was backed by a great band that features a couple guys that have been with him for well over a decade. Bassist Chuck Garric has been in Alice's band for about 12 years and has really morphed into a younger version of original Alice Cooper band bassist Dennis Dunaway. Guitarist Ryan Roxie has also spent many years touring and recording with Alice. The newest addition to Alice's band is Nita Strauss on guitar. Nita is best known for her stint in an Iron Maiden tribute band called the Iron Maidens. Nita works well with Alice on stage and is a great guitarist.
I hear a lot of people grumble and say they gave up on Alice once the original AC band split up in 1975. Many boycott his show and say they will attend a show once he gets the old band back together. If you fit into that category, you are really missing out. Alice is a rock and roll legend and if you are given the opportunity to see him in concert, you should not hesitate.
On July 28th Alice will be releasing his 28th studio record titled Paranormal and if you pick up the deluxe cd version of Paranormal you will be treated to a bonus disc that features six live recordings from a show Alice did right here in Columbus last year. How cool is that?
Paranormal is being released three days after my birthday, so I'm hoping this is Alice's way of making it up to me for releasing my least favorite Alice Cooper album of all time Trash on my birthday way back in 1989. You can read my disappointment in that record here.
I know Paranormal won't be nearly as good as 1973's Muscle of Love, which I wrote about here but the first single "Paranoiac Personality" is a good sign that Alice will not ruin my birthday this year. Plus he has reunited the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper group for three songs on the new record.
Alice Cooper - Express Live 5/16/17 Set List
Spend the Night intro
- No More Mr. Nice Guy
- Under My Wheels
Lost in America
Welcome to My Nightmare
Billion Dollar Babies
The World Needs Guts
Woman of Mass Distraction
Halo Of Flies
Feed My Frankenstein
Only Women Bleed
Ballad of Dwight Fry
I Love the Dead (band vocals only)
School's Out Scott Carr is a guitarist who plays in the Columbus, OH bands Radio Tramps andReturning April. Scott is also an avid collector of vinyl records and works at Lost Weekend Records. So...if you are looking for Scott....you'll either find him in a dimly lit bar playing his guitar or in a record store digging for the holy grail.