MANISTEE – An audience that stood throughout at least a 90-minute, non-stop show of music/rock theater left the Alice Cooper concert Thursday night at Little River Casino Resort smiling and buzzing about what they had just experienced.
“I love my local bands, but this was so over the top,” Cathy Dalton, who maintains the Ludington Live music website that chronicles local bands’ shows, said.
Dalton and Patty Gottwald were draped in mylar ribbon from the show that, in addition to most of the Detroit born, Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame member Alice Cooper’s hits, included his trademark bits of theater.
Yes, he was draped with a boa when midway through the show he started “Welcome to My Nightmare.”
Yes, he was guillotined with the executioner then striding about the stage brandishing his cut-off head.
Yes, he was turned into Frankenstein towering over his rocking band of musicians far younger than he. Yet it was Alice who prowled and ruled the stage, though sharing the spotlight at times with the band.
Yes, the show rocked, from the opening stage-fog drenched “Hello Hooray” to the final chords of the encore, “School’s Out.”
Yes, Alice, definitely a showman, wore his trademark eye mascara and he changed costumes frequently and efficiently as he took on the different personas in the songs.
Alice traded no banter with the crowd, aside from introducing the band late in the set, until after the show which concluded with a shout out that “school’s out Michigan.” After stage bows, Alice, who for the encore had donned a Detroit Tigers jersey with “COOPER” stitched on the back, left with an exclamation of “Go Tigers!”
The hits — “I’m Eighteen,” “Billion Dollar Baby,” “Welcome to my Nightmare,” “Under My Wheels” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy” — were all there and much more, including a rocking tribute to a quartet of rock stars who met untimely deaths — Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, *KEITH, (original source mistakenly put Brian) Moon.
Chris Fonnesbeck of Ludington left the show beaming.
“It was awesome,” she said. “I never had the money to see him when I was a kid. This was fabulous. The guitars were unbelievable. The drums, oh my god.”
Gottwald was just as overwhelmed. “It was so good. I had no idea,” she said after her first-ever Alice Cooper concert. “It was so cool to be up there so close I could touch the guitarists.”
The band featured Chuck Garric on bass, Tommy Henricksen, Ryan Roxie and Nita Strauss (whose long, blonde hair got a workout being whipped about her head feverishly) shared guitar duties.
After the show, while concert-goers stood in line to buy T-shirts that topped out at $40 or more, the buzz continued.
“I can’t stop smiling,” Dalton said, adding she was hanging out in hopes Cooper would come out so she could invite him to LudRock this weekend in Ludington.