When I heard that Alice Cooper was playing in Hamilton on my birthday I called up a friend who I listened to Alice with back in the 70’s, bought a pair of tickets, and didn’t give it much more thought.
I spent most of my birthday day working, fine tuning the magazine for the printer. At 7 o’clock I pulled myself away from the computer and we hit the road.
I hadn’t had time to check on the venue, I had no idea what to expect. I have been to my share of concerts over the years, and I assumed it was an arena style show, 40 or 50 thousand people, and a chance to see one of my idols who I had never caught live.
If nothing else, I could have fun writing a column about geriatric rockers. Sponsored by Geritol and Depends. With song titles like as ‘I’m Eighteen,’ ‘Teenage Lament,’ ‘Generation Landslide’ and Schools Out, the 63 year old Alice was giving me lots to work with. How about ‘Muscle of Love’ sponsored by Viagra? The column was writing itself, the lines were just laying there.
It’s hard to watch your idols get old, you just hope they do it with dignity. He wouldn’t be the first washed up rocker I had seen make a fool of himself. Oh well, if that happened I could write off my ticket as a business expense and have a good night out with an old friend.
Was I ever off base. First of all, the venue. It wasn’t an arena, but a theatre. No long lineups, we were inside within 5 minutes. We walked through the entrance into a carpeted foyer with a comfortable lounge.
The lineup for the bar wasn’t overly long, just long enough to get filled in on the details. Alice is doing a world wide tour, with only 5 Canadian shows. He is currently working with Bob Ezrin, who produced Welcome to my Nightmare, on a follow up to that album. Hamilton Place, where we were, only held 2,000 people. Rumour had it the show was being filmed for later use.
I just hoped that they would do some old stuff, classic Alice.
We took our seats. We had a great view of the stage, but so did everyone else. There wasn’t a bad seat in the place.
After the taped Vincent Price intro, there was Alice in his 8 armed glory, warning us of the dangers of the black widow. He came down from his pedestal to tell us that it’s a “Brutal Planet,” one of his songs from recent years that I actually know.
By the time he started singing “I’m Eighteen,” we didn’t care that he was 63, he was Alice.
For the next two hours he held us enraptured. We got the snake, the guillotine, the ten foot tall Frankenstein wanting to be fed. It was the Alice of old. He sang hit after hit, running around the stage, his energy never flagging, giving us what we came for. The exception was a single new song “I’ll bite your face off,” but as the title suggests, it’s new but it’s old school Alice. Check out this video of it from the show. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEWW7e9gtCg
By the time he did his second encore, a rousing rendition of Fire by Jimi Hendrix, any questions I had about geriatric rock were long forgotten. Alice might not be 18 anymore but he can still rock with the best of them.
Video of Under My wheels May 17th Hamilton Place
Song List May 17th Hamilton Place
Vincent Price intro The Black Widow
Under My Wheels
Billion Dollar Babies
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Is It My Body
Halo of Flies
I’ll Bite Your Face Off (New Song)
Muscle of Love
Only Women Bleed
Feed My Frankenstein
Clones (We’re All)
Wicked Young Man
I Love the Dead (including Killer segment)
School’s Out (/ Another Brick in the Wall)
Fire (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)