Alice Cooper – Chumash Casino Resort, Santa Ynez, CA 11/21/13

Alice Cooper, the Detroit rock inspired reigning godfather of Shock Rock, brought his impish antics to a full house Thursday night at the Chumash Casino Resort, Santa Ynez. The iconic singer, who, always tours with top rock musicians in his band, has assembled one of his best groups since the original line up disbanded back in the mid 1970’s. Fronted by Australian Greek guitar goddess Orianthi, the five piece band played an explosive hard rock backing tract for Cooper’s stage antics, punctuated with relentless solos throughout the set.

The show began amid pyrotechnics and bombastic rock chords with, “Hello Hooray,” the lead track off Cooper’s biggest selling 1973 album, Billion Dollar Babies. Cooper, sauntered onstage wearing a red and black striped suit and his signature black eye makeup, and had a cane and a massive belt buckle. The concert unfolded as three separate acts: “Glam Alice,” “Nightmare Alice” and a tribute to Cooper’s “dead, drunk friends.”

The Billion Dollar Babies album was represented in short order with one of Cooper’s best-known songs, “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” and later with the title track for which Cooper shook a stack of fake hundred dollar bills from the blade of a sword into the showroom. Then Cooper played other songs from the original bands’ period, including their hardest rock hit “Under My Wheels”.

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Led by the alluring Orininthi all three guitarists played searing solos on the signature song. Cooper also played a few songs from his glam metal resurgence period, “House of Fire” and “Hey Stoopid”, before moving into some recent hard rockers like “I’ll Bite Your Face Off,” “Caffeine,” which had an amusing giant coffee cup prop, and “Dirty Diamonds” during which Cooper teased a fans with necklaces that he was throwing out into the crowd. About this time, like at most every show at the Samala showroom, the front of the stage was opened to eager fans and the crowd swarmed as close to the stage as possible..

The “Nightmare Alice” portion of the show started with a simulated thunderstorm from which Cooper emerged wearing a super-tall top hat reminiscent of “Alice In Wonderland”, and with hi trademark snake wrapped around his neck, to sing “Welcome to My Nightmare.” This was followed by “Go to Hell,” which had Cooper superstitiously swinging a whip at his guitarists.

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The night became even more fanciful with the introduction to “Feed My Frankenstein,” during which Cooper put on a gas mask and was strapped down and transformed into a giant Frankenstein puppet who pranced around the stage to the crowd’s delight.

The next few songs continued the macabre madness that has marked an Alice Cooper show since the 1970’s. Two zombie like nurses, put Cooper in a straightjacket, brought out a dead baby doll, and after an attempted escape, culminated with Cooper at the sharp end of a guillotine blade that came crashing down. While “I Love the Dead” played, Cooper’s severed head was held up to confirm he was dead. The guillotine and other stage effects were originally designed for the band way back in 1973, by magician James Randi.

The third part of the show was a brand new tribute to, according to Alice, “his old drinking buddies” that all had untimely deaths The tribute included; Jim Morrison(with a cover of The Doors’“Break On Through (to the Other Side)”), John Lennon (with a cover of The Beatles’“Revolution”), Jimi Hendrix (with a cover of “Foxey Lady” featuring an awesome guitar solo from Orianthi, and Keith Moon (with a cover of The Who’s “My Generation”). Orianthi is fast becoming the go to rock guitarist for many of the most elite rock stars looking for someone to join their tour. A regular in Dave Stewart’s’ (Eurythmics), latest band, she first came to worldwide attention as the guitarist in the videos of Michael Jackson’s ill fated final “This Is It” tour.

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The evening climaxed with three of Cooper’s biggest songs: “I’m Eighteen,” “Poison” and the encore “School’s Out,” which had bubbles shooting onto the stage, Cooper spinning a cane, streamers descending from the ceiling and giant balloons that Cooper popped with a sword to release the confetti inside. This song nicely morphed into the chorus of Pink Floyd’s like-minded song “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” — think “We don’t need no education.” This was in tribute to the influence that Pink Floyd had on the original band in the early 1970’s, especially original guitarist, Glen Buxton.

Setlist

Hello Hooray (Judy Collins cover)
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
Welcome to My Nightmare
Go to Hell
He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)
Feed My Frankenstein
Ballad of Dwight Fry
Killer
I Love the Dead
Break On Through (to the Other Side) (Doors cover)
Revolution (Beatles cover)
Foxey Lady (Jimi Hendrix cover)
My Generation (Who cover)
I’m Eighteen
Poison
Encore:
School’s Out

 

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