and Treats Fans to a Tricked Out Show in Morristown
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch
For a character as pervasively dark and overflowing with evil - the fact is that we have heard nothing but good things from friends and colleagues about Alice Cooper in concert. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer lived up to every grisly last drop of the superlative advance billing and then some when he and his band put on a thrilling pre-Halloween spooktacular at the Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) in Morristown, New Jersey on October 19, 2013.
The Alice Cooper Band performing at the Mayo PAC in Morristown, New Jersey in October, 2013.
The Godfather of shock rock has been haunting fans for over five decades with his concerts that are part horror movie, part theatrical and 100% rock 'n' roll. Musician Alice Cooper born Vincent Damon Furnier first fronted a band called Alice Cooper in the late 1960's. Later, Vincent would legally change his name to his stage personality. From their early days, Alice Cooper brewed live shows full of scares. The group enjoyed success in the early 1970's with what are now classic rock staples such as "Elected", "I'm Eighteen", "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and "School's Out".
In 1975, Alice released his first solo record Welcome to My Nightmare - a concept album based on the terrors of a young boy named Steven. Since then, Cooper has continued to be a source of nightmares. Alice who is also an actor, deejay and golfer still awes audiences with his rousing songs and stage presence. The concert at the MPAC was one of many stops on the "Raising The Dead" tour. In addition to performing his own tunes, Cooper also paid tribute to a number of dearly departed artists.
The stage looked like a dungeon. In red one could read the words "welcome to the nightmare express" and "raise the dead" written on the walls. Scattered among the musical gear was blood, body parts and skulls. Pyro rained down on Alice Cooper as he took center stage. He was sporting a striped suit a big skull belt and the signature eye make up. His talented and some what threatening looking team were on fire from the very first note as smoke engulfed the stage. A perfect set up as they raised hell with "House on Fire" a red hot rocker propelled by three dueling guitars, bass and drums.
Alice Cooper and Orianthi together onstage in Morristown.
A change in lighting altered the mood for the classic "No More Mr. Nice Guy". Cooper pointed his mike out into the audience to encourage fans to sing the hook. "Under My Wheels" was another hard driving tune that showcased short sinister solos from the band.
Alice Cooper was spellbinding and spirited. He often acted out the lyrics as he led the crowd to clap and sing along. Alice effectively used lighting and props throughout the show to add impact to his already animated presentation. During the bold "Billion Dollar Baby" Cooper armed with a fencing sword was flipping money out into the audience. We were not sure if the greenbacks were real. In the speedy "Caffeine" he drank from a large cup.
The climatic trick of the night was the gruesome guillotine that was wheeled out as part of "I Love the Dead". The band jammed and sang wickedly as Alice was executed. Next, Cooper found himself in a grave yard. There were headstones for Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Keith Moon and Jim Morrison. At one time Alice was friends with these four legends. They had a drinking club that they jokingly called the "Hollywood Vampires". As the only surviving member of this group Cooper paid his respects to each.
Australia's Orianthi is a solo artist in her own right and famous for her work on the last Michael Jackson production.
The quartet of covers was another example of the artistry that Alice brought to his show. For each tribute he incorporated something that reflected the performer. As Cooper sang "Break On Through (to the Other Side) he cupped the microphone the way Morrison used to do. For Hendrix, Alice was on his knees fanning the Monterey Pop Festival fire as his foxy female guitarist blazed on "Foxy Lady".
The attention to detail during the raising of the dead series reflected the care and craftsmanship that Alice and his able team put into the whole concert. Even on "I'm Eighteen" Alice was convincing in the role of a confident and confused young adult coming of age.
They closed with a potent "Poison" and the encore was "School's Out" that flowed in and out of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall". Balls and bubbles added to the wonderful feeling of freedom that the song conjured up. Alice Cooper is a scary, seasoned performer who treated his fans at the MPAC to a hit heavy show filled with rock, theater and lots of tricks.
Scenes from Alice Cooper's "Raise the Dead" tour.
The Mayo Performing Arts Center is in the heart of historic and perhaps haunted Morristown, New Jersey and is surrounded by restaurants and shops. The venue continues to host a diverse range of artists such as Alice Cooper. Upcoming events at the MPAC include Gregg Allman, Madeleine Peyroux, Piano Quartets, NJ Ballet, Steve Miller Band, Air Supply, Hello Dolly, Dan Zanes, Clint Black, Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, Itzhak Perlman, Tony Bennett and Ricky Skaggs with Bruce Hornsby.
Set List: The Underture / Hello Hooray / House of Fire / No More Mr. Nice Guy / Under My Wheels / I'll Bite Your Face Off / Billion Dollar Babies / Caffeine / Department of Youth / Hey Stoopid / Dirty Diamonds (including drum solo) / Welcome to My Nightmare / Go to Hell / He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask) / Feed My Frankenstein /Ballad of Dwight Fry /Killer (excerpt only) / I Love the Dead / Under the Bed / Break On Through (to the Other Side) / Revolution / Foxy Lady / My Generation / I'm Eighteen / Poison / Encore / School's Out (With "Another Brick in the Wall" snippet)
Alice Cooper Band: Alice Cooper - vocals / Chuck Garric - bass / Tommy Henriksen - producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist / Orianthi - guitar / Ryan Roxie - guitar / Glen Sobel - drums
More scenes from Alice Cooper's "Raise the Dead" tour.
(Originally Published on October 21, 2013)