In an era when nothing’s truly shocking, Alice Cooper doesn’t try to outdo the competition. He tried that once by touring with Marilyn Manson, and that unholy alliance came through Cleveland for a Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica Stop in 2013. It proved to be ill-conceived; in fact, by our estimates, a bigger crowd showed up to see an Evening with Alice Cooper last night at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica for an engaging 90-minute concert that featured the right amount of shock and schlock.
You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here
Playing on a multi-tiered stage that resembled a castle, Cooper and Co. opened with “Feed My Frankenstein,” a song that featured rousing call-and-response vocals. Twirling a baton, Cooper, who was dressed in black from head-to-toe, looked like the MC for a Gothic circus. “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” one of his biggest hits, followed. Even though he spoke more than he sang the song's lyrics, Cooper capably carried the tune and punctuated the chorus with a few well-timed fist pumps.
After the hard-edged “Bed of Nails,” Cooper took things down a notch with “Fallen in Love,” a bluesy ballad that began with a bit of harmonica. “Muscle of Love” dragged a bit mid-song, but Cooper got back on track with “I’m Eighteen,” the terrific anti-anthem that found him belting out the defiant refrain like he still really meant it.
A catapult appropriately shot fake dollar bills into the audience for “Billion Dollar Babies,” and a poppy rendition of “Poison” didn’t come off as very menacing when Cooper shook his hips as he sang the song’s last lines.
A somewhat tedious jam gave Cooper time to slip into a straitjacket for “Steven,” an eerie tune that found Cooper clutching the microphone with the one hand that wasn’t wrapped up. It segued nicely into grisly “Dead Babies,” during which Cooper clutched a toy doll that he then tried to behead. Instead of letting Cooper do the deed, a group of goons grabbed him and led him to a guillotine where they beheaded him.
Of course, it was all for show, and Cooper would return to sing “Escape” and “Teenage Frankenstein.”
The concert’s encore included the garage pop classic “Under My Wheels” and the rousing “School’s Out,” a tune that Dennis Dunaway, an original member of Alice Cooper, guested on. That over-the-top finale featured giant inflatable balloons filled with confetti and included a few snippets of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”
Throughout the entire show, guitarist Nita Strauss shredded on guitar as she effortlessly ran the length of the stage and delivered one nasty guitar solo after another.
Cooper might not have had any modern rockers with him as the openers for last night’s concert, but the 71-year-old showman did just fine without 'em.
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