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Apr. 14, 2022

Review: Alice Cooper unleashes a well-polished darkness for fans at the Jubilee

via Edmonton Journal

He didn’t waste any time hooking in the audience with Feed My Frankenstein, doubling down with No More Mister Nice Guy, a song so jauntily catchy even Pat Boone took a swing at it.

If the world as we know it is headed to hell in a handbasket, then Alice Cooper provides a pretty decent soundtrack for the journey.

In a fun and frolicking way, of course. The 74-year-old shock rock-veteran, known to his parents as Vincent Furnier, has never taken himself seriously even as his early critics decried his gory theatrics and risible song titles. He’s been signposting the imminent apocalypse foretold by parents and religious leaders at least since 1969, when he inadvertently bit the head off a chicken. Who better to entertain us as we fret about war and pestilence?

It certainly helps that Cooper didn’t require his band to learn many new numbers for his current tour. A savvy operator, Alice knows exactly what his audience wants: a few deep cuts, a large chunk of ‘70s bangers, and maybe one or two from his newest album, Detroit Stories. For the record, he got one in there on Tuesday night, the jet fuelled Go Man Go, which segued nicely into Under My Wheels.

He didn’t waste any time hooking in the audience with Feed My Frankenstein, doubling down with No More Mister Nice Guy, a song so jauntily catchy even Pat Boone took a swing at it. From there it was almost every Alice Cooper show you’ve seen in the last couple of decades, which makes sense, because why would you change perfection?

That perfection extends to his band, who may have played Billion Dollar Babies a zillion times but still roughly pulled at those chords like they were attempting to break that song in half. Especially guitarist Nita Strauss, a real force of nature, mistress of the cascading, squalling high notes and occasional foil to her cane-wielding boss. I’m Eighteen may be a strange set of lyrics to be sung by a septuagenarian, but the character of Alice is ageless, a Holy Goof, an avatar of chaos forever sullen and capricious.

Speaking of capricious, a big part of the fun with any Alice Cooper show is the grotesque guests striding the floorboards. This time around there was the malevolent giant infant stomping the stage while the band crashed through Million Dollar Babies, the blood-splattered bridesmaid holding a candelabra and flowers swanning around Alice during Roses on White Lace, a whip-wielding dominatrix.

What else? Well, you can’t have a Cooper show without his brimstone-soaked manifesto, Go to Hell, the thoroughly twisted anti-love tune Poison, basically every song that would make you satisfied about parting with your hard-earned dollars and picking up a few of Cooper’s own fake, cannon-blasted currency. If you’ve seen Cooper any time in the last few decades you’ve already seen a close variation on this show, but rest assured it remains ridiculously entertaining, and who among us can resist singing along to School’s Out? Only a corpse, friends, only a corpse.

Opener Buckcherry kicked things off with the propulsive 54321, from their latest album, Hellbound. Like Alice, Buckcherry’s a devotee of basic rock ‘n’ roll, no-frills road warriors that say all the right rock ‘n’ roll phrases and make all the right rock ‘n’ roll moves. It might seem like a slam to call them caricatures, especially since Alice is also something of a winking caricature, so let’s just commend them for doing their rock ‘n’ roll duty, right down to a cocaine rant that was more Dr. Rockso than Vince Neil.