Alice Cooper at Centre in the Square

Photographs by Lee-Ann Richer. 

The past weekend all the ghosts, goblins, witches and ghouls were out for Halloween. Well not to be outdone, Kitchener’s Centre In The Square had the king of them all! Alice Cooper! 

Alice Cooper has been my favorite artist, band and show ever since I was exposed to “Love It To Death”.  Alice Cooper has said in the past that a lot of bands don’t give the audience anything to look at. Well he still gives his fans 300%.

His show has staples like guillotine beheadings, a psycho nurse, blood, dead babies and the odd electrocution. During the show you have necklaces hurled into the audience, gigantic balloons being bounced around until the king of the dead stabs them with his sword, unless a fan bursts it first. Finally we can also expect a visit from an enormous Frankenstein, terrorizing the band as they wail away during “Feed My Frankenstein”. 

The band, dressed in Halloween masks, opened the show with “Hello Hooray”.  Adding to the already visual show, each musician moved like they were the only one being watched. 

Alice Cooper is a master at putting a greatest hits show together with songs like, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, “Under My Wheels”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, “Hey Stoopid”, “Welcome To My Nightmare”, “Go To Hell”, “Ballad Of Dwight Fry” and “Killer”. Also spicing the set list with other deep cut favs to keep the hardcore Coop fan on his or her toes. 

The Coop is not just a pretty face, he is always changing and evolving with new ideas. He still has Chuck Garric hammering out the bass riffs as he has for the last 11 years. Guitarist Ryan Roxie is also a stage staple since 1996. Only having a few breaks to release his own albums and work with Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash. Tommy Henriksen who has worked with the like of Lady Gaga holds the guitar down on the other side of the stage. Backing the show is drummer Glen Sobel who is solid as rock and also a show unto himself twirling sticks, jumping around with facial expressions demanding to watch him too.

I noticed that Orianthi has had her place on stage replaced by Nita Strauss. Nita was recently ranked #1 on Guitar World’s list of “10 Female Guitar Players You Should Know”. When a musician does change Alice tells them three things: “You’re gonna see the world; You’re gonna get paid, and you’re gonna get stitches!” Alice Copper surrounds himself with a rotation of great musicians and show people. His show is like watching a horror version of Cirque Du Soleil. 

Another idea of Bob Ezrin’s (The Coop’s manager, as Alice calls him, his George Martin) was a way to introduce some cover tunes into the show. He suggested having a segment that is dedicated to “All My Dead Friends”. The Coop said if they saw it, they would have died laughing as they had the same sense of humour. This was integrated into the show. Tomb stones were introduced at the beginning of each song as they were dedicated. “Break On Through (to the other side)” / Jim Morrison, “Revolution” / John Lennon, “Foxy Lady” / Jimi Hendrix and My Generation / Keith Moon. 

They finished up with a couple more favorites, “Eighteen” and “Poison” and the returned for a “Schools Out” encore to end the show.

We were fortunate to meet up with Julius Squeezer and his handler backstage. He is the Coop’s Canadian snake for stage. There are border issues with animals crossing so having snakes in Canada and the US makes life a lot easier. 

As long as the 66 year old Coop doesn’t hang up his make-up I will continue to go to show after show! What a great Halloween! 

Thanks again to Karen for the experience of seeing the legend, Tony Bennett on Thursday and then a great viewing vantage point to review my favorite performer, Alice Cooper on the Friday night.  So different that my head spinning like Linda Blair! What a great week!

 

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