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Alice Cooper tricks, treats at Halloween show

Over-the-top theatrics and classic hits entertain crowd

Written By Amanda Myers, A&E Editor

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Welcome to my nightmare, more like, welcome to the fun fair.

Alice Cooper set that tone the minute he appeared on stage for DVE’s Halloween Party at Stage AE last Friday night. And there was no one better to headline the evening than the father of shock rock himself.

Nestled in a black vampire cape with sparks flying overhead, his band was ready to fight at the flick of his finger as soon as the heavy chords to opener “Brutal Planet” rolled in. Cooper’s leathery form moved back and forth across the stage before honing in on a lady in the audience with some flowers. He accepted the lovely gesture before whacking them across his knee, petals sent flying.

He further proved those vengeful intentions with the first big hit of the night, “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” An evil glare splattered across his face as he hit the high notes to the song with glee, staring down members of the audience one by one.

The charging “Under My Wheels” felt like a playground setting for the guitar players strewn across the stage, leaving Cooper on the back burner. It was the first moment that guitarist Nita Strauss got her time to shine. Throughout the night, she would dart across the stage like a bullet, and at times, cradle her head with one hand while nonchalantly shredding chords with
the other.

Tommy Henriksen played it cool, hiding behind jet black hair and letting it flip when needed. On the opposite side of the stage, Ryan Roxie held court looking like a modern Keith Richards, while bassist Chuck Garric let out the beast within, wagging his tongue and feeling the groove.

That groove was double-teamed effectively on deeper cuts “Grim Facts” and “Lost in America” – the latter a downright sarcastic look at violence and hostility in Middle America that feels even more tangible now.

Cooper dove back into the theatrics of the show by making a costume change and appearing to heavy chords on the erotic “Poison.”  He waved his riding crop like a ringmaster in a psycho circus before handing it to a lucky fan in the audience.

“You’re all poison tonight,” he shouted to roaring applause.

Drummer Glen Sobel got his time in the light when he teamed with Garric for a bombastic drum solo at the end of “Halo of Flies.” Normally, drum solos at shows are a chance for a bathroom break or time to grab a drink, but Sobel wasn’t having that, spinning the sticks through his hands in a fury that forced the audience’s attention.

As if the crowd wasn’t already reveling in the spooky Halloween aesthetic, Cooper upped the ante with “Feed My Frankenstein.” In classic vaudeville style, he was tied down to a machine to be experimented on before emerging as a staggering, oversized Frankenstein figure.

The showman continued with the necrophilia-tinged “Cold Ethyl,” setting off a tango with a stuffed doll, throwing her around and dragging her across the floor. From here on out, it was a nonstop string of hits and over the top theatrics.

Cooper showed his tender side on ballad “Only Women Bleed” as his wife, Sheryl Cooper, danced around him like a possessed ballerina. Her sweetness turned into insanity moments later when she morphed into the ultimate Nurse Ratched while Cooper was tied into a straightjacket for the epic “Ballad of
Dwight Fry.” 

The frantic “I gotta get out of here” line was palpable and led to the climax of all Alice Cooper shows: the guillotine.

Everyone was standing on their tiptoes to get a peak of the action. It happened in a flash, the masked beheader quickly raising a dummy Alice head and holding it up to a mic to “sing” a section of “I Love the Dead.”

A resurrected Cooper rose out of the back of the stage for the rallying cry of “I’m Eighteen” before the final bell rang for encore “School’s Out.” A bubble machine made the scene feel like an apocalyptic fairy tale as dedicated fans shouted out the lyrics with fists in the air.

Cooper made the hours of waiting outside in the cold rain worth it and then some, bringing the heat and, most of all, fearful fun.

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