Hard Features

ALICE COOPER – The Roseland, NYC

Could it get more perfect than this? An anti-cultural icon at the forefront of rock and roll theatrics and all things evil, silly and grotesque was making his first overdue appearance in these parts for quite some time. And so what would Halloween night truly be without the likes of one Alice Cooper to kick the night off the way only this master of the macabre knows how. Throughout the night several peers into a quickly thickening crowd yielded observances of endless rows of freaks, fathers and famous people as the lights grew dim and the opening effects of Alice’s astonishing new “Brutal Planet” set to stage was about to take hold. Firstly, kudos to the openers-don’t know who the first band was on this triple bill. and I suppose who really does, right-but trendy, local hard-core outfit Dope led the way with their grunting, groaning and fired-up stage antics and played a great set before eventually bowing out to the master. Cooper made his entrance in grand fashion of course-there was to be no “flushing” on this particular occasion! High above stage right, with the echoing of “Brutal Planet,” first track from Alice’s latest twisted vision of our pathetic lives on earth, an incredibly state of the art rendering from a man who for four generations now continues to bring this rock and roll artform into a carefully molded product for which to do his bidding. From the onset it was clear the band he’s assembled for his latest album and tour is right on target, blasting off one round after another from his powerful new release and effectively alternating within the realm of his storied past, as if the generational gap was non-existent! The end result was a fresh new perspective given old standbys like “Love You to Death,” “I’m Eighteen,” and “Go To Hell!” Cooper has made the stage his second home for longer than even some of the suit and tie clad record execs might want to acknowledge but on this night of all nights, he belonged nowhere else-prancing, prowling, scowling and scoffing back and forth before a strobe-lit fire-storm of effects and grim details consistent with this season of the witch, and he pulled out all the stops. except maybe short of whipping out one of his tried and true five irons and clubbing a baby or two to death during the extensive and welcomed encore. Yes it was a nightmare brought to life all over again, and it was mighty loud. much louder than anyone in their fifties or close to has a right to be expected to produce. and for those considerably younger to endure! As the evening went on, the alternating current between old and new fulfilled any and all expectations almost to the point where you’re beginning to wonder not only where they got their stamina from, but where else were they planning on reaching for material? The turnout appeared weak at first but after the smoke cleared and the final notes from “My Generation” and “Elected” wafted off in the distance, it was a pretty impressive number that turned out-fifteen hundred to two thousand’s a safe estimate I think. Granted, the many old classics were just that-classics everyone knew with maybe a rare reach into the obscure now and then, but mainly this was a “Brutal Planet” meets Alice’s “Greatest Hits” listening party. It was a showcase of those increasingly rarefied elements, once and again known as “The Alice Cooper Show,” past to present, from a legendary and illustrative performer who after all these years still manages to keep his finger on the pulse of the future without breaking from his storied past…

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