I wouldn’t have called myself a huge Alice Cooper fan, though I’ve always enjoyed both the music and man behind the makeup. Tonight, I became a fan.
I was first acquainted with his work in 1993’s "Dazed and Confused," and that soundtrack warmed me up to this ‘70s hard rock icon. I really do like classic rock, and Cooper has always seemed like a cool guy to me – his radio show, restaurant in Phoenix and decidedly unrocking love for golf, made me always want to see the legend in person.
Now, of course, I’m buddies with his bassist, Chuck Garric, who is the husband of OnMilwaukee.com blogger and my childhood friend, Lindsay Garric, so Sunday night’s Summerfest show made for perfect timing to see Cooper live.
Against the background of the beautiful BMO Harris Pavilion, Cooper and crew turned it up for a wind-blown crowd ready to hear his hits. It’s funny to think that in the ‘70s, Cooper – aka Vincent Damon Furnier – was considered scary. Funny, because he didn’t seem scary to me. Just good. And way ahead of his time.
Tonight, Cooper looked great for a guy who's ready to collect Social Security. The show was as theatrical as it was loud, too. I laughed when he wielded a sword, throwing money around during "Billion Dollar Baby," and when he busted out a giant coffee mug during "Caffeine."
But that was just the beginning.
Cooper brought out a live snake for "Devil's Food." He went into some sort of electric chair during "Frankenstein" and emerged as a giant monster. Then there was a straight jacket and a scary nurse and a guillotine. And a severed head.
I wish I remembered the '70s a little more. It must’ve been a lot of fun.
Of course, Cooper’s stage presence was backed by solid music, too. He surrounded himself with top-notch musicians who rocked out to an extended break down. His guitarist, 28-year-old Australian phenom, Orianthi, really shredded.
Cooper wrapped with "School's Out" that morphed into "Another Brick In The Wall." Nice.
A couple pyrotechnics led to a faux bloody crutched "Eighteen" for a one-song encore. And he did thank "Mily-wauk-ay," in reference to "Wayne’s World." Party on, Garth.
So, sure, this music sounded dated, because it is. But consider that "Welcome To My Nightmare" came out in 1975. It actually sounded a little '80s, but think about it: Cooper was a good 10 years before his time. And he's still going strong.
In the end, Cooper brought a super high energy, loud, pseudo gory and fun show. The crowd ate it up ... and so did I.
House of Fire
No More Nice Guy
Billion Dollar Babies
I’ll Bite Your Face Off
Is It My Body
Under My Wheels
Welcome to my Nightmare
Go To Hell
Feed My Frankenstein
Ballad of Dwight Fry
Killer School's Out
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published July 29, 2015
If you've never heard of floating and sensory deprivation tanks, let us answer this question for you: it's not a form of torture. Rather, some consider it the ultimate form of relaxation, injury recovery and meditation, and it's coming to Milwaukee very soon.
Published July 28, 2015
When you've visited the same place well over 20 times, sometimes you have to look at it a different way. Whether that means taking a bird's eye view from the treetops, or a fisheye perspective from just a atop the water, Wisconsin's crowing jewel that is Door County still looks spectacular from any angle. Even if it's one you have bend a little to see just right.
Published July 15, 2015
Though Liz Lincoln, who writes under the nom de plume of Eliza Madison, just published her first erotic novella, the Milwaukee writer isn't new to penning books about romance. "I've been writing romance forever, really," says Lincoln, who debuted "Fast, Fresh & Hot" this summer on Amazon. " I wrote romance stories when I was in middle school."
Published July 12, 2015
A decade ago, I took a spin around the Milwaukee Mile in a special two-seat IndyCar. I did it again this morning, and it was even better.
Published July 8, 2015
While I only passively care about what happens on the court, I nonetheless passionately, urgently and desperately request Milwaukee and Wisconsin to get its act together and build the Bucks a new arena before it's too late. Just like I preached in the mid '90s when the Brewers were semi-genuinely eying Charlotte as their new home, I'll say it again: Build it now.
Published July 3, 2015
It's a long-standing tradition at Summerfest - and at plenty of other festivals - to use radio station DJs to introduce a headlining band. It may seem like a five-minute formality, but as usual, there's a back story to most of what the public sees while standing on the Summerfest bleachers.
Published June 29, 2015
It hasn't been a good month for the Stars and Bars. Only 150 years after it should've disappeared for good, national online and brick and mortar retailers have yanked the Confederate battle flag from their shelves and their sites. In other words, you will no longer find Confederate beach towels, belt buckles or even the General Lee (I'm bummed about that, actually) at Wal-Mart, Amazon, Etsy, eBay or many other stores around America. Fortunately, you won't find them at Summerfest, either, in the state that lost 12,216 men to the Civil War.
Published June 25, 2015
To me, the Kings Of Leon were supposed to save rock music. When I saw them for a second time at Summerfest in 2006, this time at the Miller Lite Oasis, something felt wrong. KOL seemed slow. Plaintive. Quiet? Turns out that was the direction this band would head in, and it's what made them extremely popular. But I came into tonight's show with an open mind and was rewarded with old Kings, and even lulled a little with new Leon.
Published June 22, 2015
"Summertime" is a great song - so great that it's been covered 25,000 times since George Gershwin wrote it in 1934. One of the more enchanting - and special - versions of the jazz standard has just dropped from Nineteen Thirteen, an enigma of a Milwaukee band. Featuring Victor DeLorenzo on percussion and Janet Schiff on cello as its two permanent members, you almost have to see this group to believe it.
Published June 18, 2015
Even though Summerfest gets passed over by lots of national media - at some point, let's put the onus on getting the word out better, OK? - there's no doubt that this gigantic musical festival is Milwaukee's crowning annual achievement. Here are the annual picks from OnMilwaukee.com Publisher Andy Tarnoff.