Old shock rockers never retire ... they just run out of gags.
Eschewing hi-tech theatrics in favour of the tried, tested and true horror vaudeville that made him a legend, Alice Cooper proved that sometimes dumb fun is the best kind in front of just under 2,200 punters at the fabulous Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium last night.
If not for the, now 64-year-old, original master of shock and roll horror, there is no Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot or ... well, you get the picture. Hell, there's probably not even KISS.
Adorned in red and black-striped tux and tails and on a stage littered with a baby carriage and other stage props of a nightmare-era gone by, Christian scratch golfer Vincent Furnier easily stepped into character through set openers Hello Hooray and House Of Fire to not only longtime fans and aging rockers, but a healthy contingent of 20-somethings, teens and even kids.
The entire building was on its feet. It's only shock and roll and they seemed to like it!
The Coop upped the ante with No More Mr. Nice Guy from '73's classic Billion Dollar Babies album, then tearing into I'll Bite Your Face Off, Be My Lover and Caffeine.
Would it be the guillotine, the hangman's noose or the python, next? It didn't matter even if you could almost predict which gag and which song was coming next. The crowd was on its feet through the title cut from the aforementioned Billion Dollar Babies, segueing into The Congregation, Hey Stoopid, Dirty Diamonds and the classic title track from '75's Welcome To My Nightmare.
Cooper's main set had yet to conclude at press time, but he's been pulling out the heavy artillery with Go to Hell, I'm 18, Under My Wheels and, of course, School's Out on most nights of the current tour.
Embattled former Queensryche frontman and creative force Geoff Tate took time from legal wrangling with his ex-bandmates (they kicked out the only guy in the band that mattered) to open the show with a 40-minute set of solo material (Kings And Thieves came out on Tuesday) and, oddly, some of his former band's weaker moments.
Opening with Forever and Off The TV, one of the great voices of '80s and '90s metal completely ignored the 1988 masterpiece Operation: Mindcrime (and, in fact, everything prior) in favour of new pop-metal pabulum such as Take a Bullet and In The Dirt.
If that wasn't bad enough, one of the great voices in metal history walking around with a saxophone was just ... well, one of those deals where you're embarrassed for the guy.
Set closer Another Rainy Night (Without You) from 1990's Empire was a step in the right direction, but considering the repertoire from which the human siren has to choose, the song selection on this night was sketchy at best.
One can only surmise that Tate writing the nightly set list caused the rift with the rest of his old band in the first place. Kiss, make-up and get on with it. Please.
By - Gerry Krochak