By STEVEN RECKINGER
World Scene Writer
It’s been said that rock and roll never dies. But in Alice Cooper’s case, it manages to die every chance it gets, only to return to life better than ever.
The father of shock rock returned to the Brady Theater on Saturday for another dose of hard rock music and grisly theatrics during his “Raise the Dead” tour.
Performing in front of a packed house, Alice Cooper showed he’s not ready to quit just yet. He turned 67 on Wednesday, but it’s difficult to see how age is slowing him down. The song list contained a wide range of hits from his early albums of the ‘70s to his most recent works.
Some of his most-recognized songs, like “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” and “Eighteen” were expected to make the line-up, but there were a few songs that were a welcome surprise such as “Lost in America” from 1995’s “The Last Temptation” and “He’s Back” from 1986’s “Constrictor.”
Although most of the fans go see Alice for him, the rest of the band members put on a spectacular show all their own. The three guitarists played off of one another creatively. The Los-Angeles-born Nita Strauss demonstrated an artistic flair that brilliantly complemented Alice’s vocals.
The bassist and drummer were given a nice opportunity to perform for the crowd in a combined solo effort during the song “Dirty Diamonds.” The raw energy of the musicians mixed with Alice’s charisma fit so well together.
The horror-inspired theatrics have always been a large part of Alice Cooper’s shows. Although the Brady Theater lacks the room on stage for extravagant displays, Alice made the space he had work effectively. During the song “Feed My Frankenstein,” a large container was wheeled on stage where Alice was placed inside, only to merge as a grotesque tall Frankenstein-like monster to finish off the number.
Another dramatic performance during “Ballad of Dwight Fry” sees Alice in a straightjacket, singing about his experience in an insane asylum while a crazed nurse continues to mock him. The song finishes with one of Alice’s theatrical staples: his head meeting a ghastly demise with the edge of a guillotine’s blade. Moments like these make Alice Cooper’s concerts more than standard rock acts.
Toward the end of the show, just before the encore, Alice pays a fitting tribute to some of the rock legends of old. The band performed slightly faster renditions of The Doors’ “Break on Through to the Other Side,” the Beatles’ “Revolution,” Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” topping it off with The Who’s “My Generation.” These covers reflect one of the real meanings behind the “Raise the Dead” tour, paying respect to all those who greatly inspired him.
The teenage anthem “School’s Out” finished the concert with dynamic presentation. Flashing lights, machines spraying hundreds of bubbles across the stage, confetti falling from the ceiling, and large balloons bouncing off the crowd as Alice pops them one at a time with a sword. Merging the lyrical content of “School’s Out” with Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” seemed like a fitting combination.
All in all, the whole experience proved to be a fun, engaging evening with Alice Cooper. With his wicked sense of humor and his knack for the devilishly strange, Alice made sure there’s still plenty of life left in him. Or is it death?