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Review & Photos: Alice Cooper Brings Shock Rock, Presidential Aspirations To The Saenger Theatre

SOURCE:  Offbeat.com

by: 

Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis

An icon of Goth opulence, Alice Cooper looked right at home in the Saenger, a theater whose chandeliers, filigree and lush curtains evoke the vampiric New Orleans of Anne Rice novels. That said, even the historic venue couldn’t quite contain Cooper’s shock rock. Half way through the show, his pyrotechnics set off the silent fire alarms, strobe lights that blended seamlessly into his abrasive live act.

Glam rock without theatrics is just rock. When I hear power chords shredded by a band with three guitars—and a double-guitar, and a bass, all keeping time to an eight-cymbal drum set–I want the show to match the music. I want ageless, fluffy hair. I want bedazzled vests. I want fog and fire. Though not strictly necessary, bubbles are appreciated, as are samurai swords, back-up dancers, puppets and props that look peeled from a sheet of flash tattoos: A silver dagger, a snake, a gas mask, a guillotine, a hundred-dollar bill. Pulling from a pink toy box painted with harlequins, Alice Cooper delivered all of these, and more.

Wearing his signature half-clown-half-corpse make-up, the front man acted as ringmaster to a cabinet of curiosities. Drama and satire were performed with sweeping, Shakespearean gestures. In Krewe du Vieux fashion, he offered a vaudeville parody of the 2016 election. Actors in Trump and Hillary masks wrestled for attention. Their antics were scored by Cooper’s encore of “Elected”, a song in which he pitches his own candidacy to the audience.

“Why Not Me?” he asked, pausing operatically.

It’s possible that Cooper was made for these mad times. For an artist whose career spans five decades, he’s maintained a well-oiled tour schedule. On average, he performs five days a week (for comparison, his contemporaries Guns N’ Roses perform three days a week; Aerosmith perform two). At first listen, his sound is squarely in the vein of biker rock, archetypal anthems for the 18 and angry—or the middle-age in crisis. It’s his live efforts that differentiate his influences. During the show, he presented tombstones emblazoned with the names of three musicians: Keith Moon of The Who, Lemmy Kilmister of Möterhead and David Bowie. Cooper’s respective covers of “Pinball Wizard”, “Ace of Spades” and “Suffragette City” revealed the English rock, metal, and glam spell that poofed the voodoo vocalist into being—in a rain of sparks and guitar picks, of course.

Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis

In an age when getting recorded music is a faster, easier process than getting McDonalds, Alice Cooper makes a good case for the live experience. If you’d like to support his campaign, tour shirts printed with the phrase “Make America Sick Again” can be purchased for $45. It’s a steep price, but at least you know where your money’s going. Given his expertise behind a microphone—as well as his knowledge of American history, presented eloquently during his 1992 cameo in Wayne’s World–I’d say he has a chance.

Don’t forget to vote.

All photos by Jeffrey Dupuis.

Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis

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