February 7, 2015
By Jeb Wright
Hello Hooray| House of Fire | No More Mr. Nice Guy | Under My Wheels | I’ll Bite Your Face Off | Billon Dollar Babies | Caffeine | Lost In America | Hey Stoopid | Dirty Diamonds | Welcome to My Nightmare | Go To Hell |He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask) | Feed My Frankenstein | Ballad of Dwight Fry | I Love the Dead | Break on Through (to the Other Side)| Revolution | Foxy Lady | My Generation | I’m Eighteen | Poison
Schools Out/Another Brick in the Wall
The Alice Cooper Band is:
Alice Cooper – Vocals
Chuck Garric – Bass
Ryan Roxie – Guitar
Nita Strauss – Guitar
Tommy Henriksen – Guitar
Glen Sobel – Drums
Alice Cooper came to the Tulsa, Oklahoma and the legendary Brady Theater to perform his Raise the Dead Tour and was greeted by a packed house. Outside the venue, fans approaching the Brady Theater were greeted by an overzealous religious fanatic screaming to save all who entered an Alice Cooper concert from eternal hell. Ahhhhh, the Heartland… unlike some places, there are indeed dull moments here, and to keep too many from creeping in one can always count on a vehement preacher warning of the evils of rock and roll.
While out to save the masses, the overzealous young man may not have realized that Alice Cooper is a devout Christian. In fact, when this writer tried to tell The Messenger that Alice has given much more money to Christian charities than he has, he ignored me and continued ranting. One has to give him points for creativity, however, as he kept calling Alice, “Alice-sin” -as in the name Alison. Pretty clever… in a kinda-sorta nuts way. After a few more laughs, it was time to head into the show. This reminded me of the days of yore when going to Alice Cooper concerts often drew this kind of reaction from the religious right. I suppose it is nice to know there is still a segment of society that fears the Coop. Geez, I wonder what this dude would do at a Rob Zombie concert?
The show began with the drop of the Alice Cooper’s Eyes curtain and the band went directly into “Hello Hooray” an Alice Cooper classic that few realize is actually a cover tune, first made popular in 1969 by Folk artist Judy Collins. Alice’s version is better. The song was cut short and the band went into “House of Fire” from Cooper’s hit album Trashed. From the start it was clear this was going to be a fun night.
The stage was small, as this is an old theater, but there was plenty of extra debris scattered about for use later in the set. The band was fired-up and energetic, just as they are paid to be. They understand who is boss, who signs the paycheck and they play and act accordingly. Alice is by far the oldest man on stage.
Old school fans were treated to two classic tunes “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Under My Wheels” before getting a song off Coop’s latest studio effort, 2011’s Welcome to My Nightmare 2’s “I’ll Bite Your Face Off.” Next up was another classic in “Billion Dollar Babies” and another newbie in “Caffeine” which brought out the first prop of the set, a giant coffee cup in which Alice drank with a furrowed brow and look of desperation on his face.
By this point, the crowd and band were into the set. Alice and Band have been touring the nation as opening support for Motley Crue on the Crue’s Final Tour, so here at the Brady Theater, being the only act on the bill, they were able to stretch out and enjoy themselves. New guitarist, Nita Strauss (from The Iron Maidens), competed with Cooper for the audience’s attention. Though she shared solos with the other two guys in the band, suffice it to say they do not look like her.
It may be sexist to say, but this girl is damn pretty. She looks good, has awesome blonde locks and can handle the six string just fine. Having a pretty lady on stage next to the maniacal and scary Alice Cooper is smart move. The rest of the tribe looks like rock stars, with Ryan Roxie leading the way. He is a sexy dude himself, I must admit… don’t get any ideas Ryan, the blonde is more my type.
Bassist Chuck Garric is big and frightening and adds great stage presence, while third guitarist Tommy Henriksen has a punky sorta look and adds some cool licks when called upon. Drummer Glen Sobel is a hell of a talent, and he did everything right on this night. One may question his hard rock street-cred as he does not sell ‘the look’ like the rest of the band… but as a hired-gun, he plays his parts perfectly.
Cooper, of course, is the Master of Ceremonies and whether he is just singing a song, getting his head chopped off, being electrocuted, put in straight jacket or popping giant balloons with a sword he is that scary, creepy, evil, cruel and sadistic character which he has made famous. During the day, he is a gentle soul, golfing at a local country club and being such a sweet, sweet thing. Once the moon rises however, so does his evil twin, lurking in the shadows until he can find a rock and roll stage to conquer. Once onstage, he takes his place in front of his faithful minions demanding their worship; Tulsa was no exception.
Cooper performed “Lost in America,” a song released on his 1994 album Last Temptation. The song’s lyrics ring more true with every year that passes. The punky/metal rocker is a high energy song that was welcomed in the set.
Cooper made sure he took the stage for “Welcome to My Nightmare” wearing a boa… constrictor. No matter how many he times he does this, it always works. The crowd eats it up, and when the snake slithers its head into Cooper’s mouth everyone but Alice recoils in disgust.
The band played a couple of his ‘80s comeback hits, “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” and “Feed My Frankenstein” which saw people in their late 30s and early 40s enjoying more than the upper 40s and beyond crowd, who would have preferred more of the early material. The giant Rob Zombie inspired Frankenstein joining the band on-stage and singing the last of the song was, however, pretty fun and cool, no matter what age group one is in.
Patience rewarded the older fans, as “The Ballad of Dwight Fry” was performed complete with Alice being put in straight jacket by a zombie looking creepy nurse (kinda sexy in a horrifying sort of way, I might add.) Cooper ended up being led to the guillotine and having his head lopped off by the time the chorus of “I Love the Dead” filled the hall.
Of late, Cooper has been recording a new album of cover tunes from rockers that he liked to listen to as he was coming-up in the Rock ‘n’ Roll ranks. Tonight, Tulsa was treated to four covers tunes, each accompanied by a tombstone showing the birth and death date of the rock star they were paying homage to.
The Doors “Break on through (to the Other Side)” was first. Next was the Beatles “Revolution” followed by Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” and finally the Who’s “My Generation.” The crowd loved the surprise and spontaneity. The band followed these up with Cooper’s first hit “I’m Eighteen” and his big comeback hit “Poison”; the crowd sang along with every word. The band came back for an encore with the classic “School’s Out,” the song ended incorporating a bit of the Pink Floyd classic “Another Brick in the Wall.”
The show in Tulsa was great for many reasons: First, the crowd was amazing. No one was rushing the stage for Selfie shots, no one was fighting, singing along out-of-key or being rude. Everyone on the floor was on their feet and this night had the feeling of a good old fashioned rock concert. Next, the band was amazing, each player performing their parts to perfection and looking amazing as they did it. Finally, there was Alice, who turned 67 only a few days before. Age just makes his weathered look that much creepier, which at a Cooper concert is what one wants. Alice was not as spooky and evil as in years past, the evil son-of-a-bitch may be mellowing with age… but fear not, or maybe in this case just fear, he still sneers, snarls and demands the attention of his audience.
Consider this… the concert performed in Tulsa was great despite the following songs NOT being in the set list: There was no “Only Woman Bleed,” “Killer,” “Cold Ethyl,” “Elected,” “Sick Things,” “Black Widow,” “Is It My Body,” “Be My Lover,” “Desperado,” “Muscle of Love,” “Department of Youth,” “I Never Cry,” “You and Me,” “How You Gonna See Me Now,” “From the Inside,” “Nurse Rozetta” or “Clones” among others. Wow, Alice. Next time around you might wanna book two nights… a different set each night!
It says a lot about the band, and Cooper himself to have that many songs the fans would love to hear that there wasn’t enough time to play, and the crowd still getting an amazing show. The bottom line here is that Alice Cooper is still putting on a theatrical display, and he still shows up, band in tow, every night to cast his tongue-in-cheek evilness upon his fans, who lap it up with smiles on their face and fists in the air.
Tulsa was just another stop in a long line of cities still falling to their knees in ‘we’re not worthiness.’