The northern Canadian snow may have fallen hard this past Friday night, but it never cooled the proverbial “House of Fire” as American rock-macabre legend ALICE COOPER melted the walls of Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw. Not a sold-out crowd, but nonetheless ready to roar, Cooper blazed those in attendance with a straightjacket escape, larger-than-life monster, & electrocuting himself in one epic “NIGHT OF FEAR”. Showing an ever-prevalent influence from mid-sixties British bands, his six-piece powered out more than just the rock‘n’roll image, but the precision to back it…with choral sublimity, staggering solos, & consummate professionalism…which only comes from working with a frontman harboring over FORTY YEARS of touring experience.
Taking the stage since the early 1960’s – Cooper has long since been cited as one of the most energetic & heartfelt performers in rock‘n’roll history. His Vaudeville-type productions became a signature background to his brazen classic-rock inspired songs, & he’s influenced countless performers that teeter on the brink of “Shock Rock” – including Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Ozzy Osbourne, even Kiss. But the Alice Cooper fever is much more than just stage theatrics & stellar showmanship. The legacy behind the music tells a story all of its own, & Furnier’s personality (both on & off the stage) represent rock valour for generations to come. A born-again Christian, his show never utters vulgarity…nudity…or the satanic rituals that he’s often been accused of. It’s a straight-up serving of distorted guitars, thundering drums, & a sixty-four year old veteran that has not lost his vocal edge or sense of humor.
Opening act GEOFF TATE, of Queensryche fame, pelted fans with a short & alluring array of former hits mixed with singles from his new album “Kings & Thieves” (InsideOut Music). From Ryche tracks Sacred Ground, Disconnected, & The Thin Line…Tate jumped brilliantly into new material like the attitude-spun “Take A Bullet”, “Say U Luv It” (a naughty little song about sex), & “In The Dirt” where he commented on learning all of his nasty little secrets from a past New Orleans voodoo ritual. His alternative-based, rhythmic swagger may be new for fans expecting to hear the progressively metal-driven four octave range, but listeners were impressed with his soulful grooves & six-piece enclave of dedicated musicians. Tate is still very much a vocal anomaly, as he hits ultra-phenomenal long notes wrought with the dramatic presence that garners him one of the “TOP MALE VOCALISTS” of all time. In a trendy duel between sax & guitar, Geoff’s strength not only marks itself through his Herculean voice…but in the towering notes he plays on a horned instrument, albeit battling a cold. Finishing with “Eyes of a Stranger”, from 80’s mega-concept album “Operation: mindcrime”, Tate bowed to cheers for plugging the main event…in a territory where he’s not seen often enough.
Starting with the Judy Collins cover “Hello Hooray” from 1973 album Billion Dollar Babies, Cooper resurrected an era gone by – adorned in the classic red & black pinstriped suit & “black magic” cane he’s known for. The legend strutted, playfully hobbled, & grimaced through a spark-filled opener that had fans shouting & singing through House of Fire, No More Mr. Nice Guy, & into the ultimate hardrock resume. With twenty-six albums under foot, several televised cameo appearances, & an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2010), Alice Cooper has set an unprecedented standard for what rock‘n’roll stardom ought to be…yet, he remains genuinely welcoming through it all. He is the epicentre of the storm, with a keen sense of delivery, meant to lure the audience into his world of brisk musical hedonism. Hey Stoopid, Welcome to My Nightmare, Go To Hell, Man Behind The Mask, & Feed My Frankenstein were only some of the catalog offered up before heading into a “Graveyard Tribute” to some of Coop’s predecessors.
With the viciously orchestrated Ryan Roxie on guitar, Chuck Garric on bass, Tommy Henriksen (guitar), Jonathan Mover (drums), & starkly “beautiful & deadly” Orianthi Panagaris shredding out electrifying solos…Cooper’s well-illustrated ensemble set the stage alight with cohesiveness, virility, & commercial appeal that ranks far above the rest. Orianthi shot arrows straight into the hearts of many men in the front row, while gloriously defining “HER RIGHT” to be standing amongst the all-star male cast…continually reminding spectators of the power of female shredders, like Nancy Wilson. Roxie & Garric chimed together several times in an echelon of rhythm & bass, with smiles & guitar picks flying out to the crowd – adding joviality to the well-rehearsed spread of resonating guitar. With covers of Break On Through (To the Other Side) – The Doors, Revolution – The Beatles, Foxy Lady – Jimi Hendrix, & My Generation – The Who…the audience grooved, cheered, & stomped in a rock‘n’roll frenzy that simply should’ve woke the dead…while Cooper’s unmistakably gritty, growling, & gargantuan expressions hammered EVERY NOTE word-for-word. Leaving all bodies screaming “Under HIS Wheels”, Cooper sounded off with a closeout of “Poison” & “School’s Out” while unleashing super-balloons & blasts of confetti on the unrivaled hardrock fantasy.
Brace yourself when “THE COOP” comes into your nightmares, cause you’ll never want to wake up. Coming off the “Maiden England World Tour” with British metal lords Iron Maiden during July of this year, & headlining “Bloodstock Open Air” this past August, Fernier has shown us that his drive is relentless & his creativity never falters…making him a true ROCK IMMORTAL. Through personal struggles, drug & alcohol recovery, accepting new-found faith, & a love of golf…he reminds us of what it’s like to be human, while dazzling us with SUPER-HUMAN performance. A generous reception of his 26th studio album “Welcome 2 My Nightmare” – a gutsy sequel to the original, in which he recruited former & new bandmates in 2011 – Cooper really has nothing left to prove. Leaving a trademark impact on four & a half decades worth of fans, he’s stamped his existence into the “Hollywood Walk of Fame” (2003), & painted the world RED numerous times over…with fake blood from the stage & the love people feel for him in their hearts.
Undefined…unrefined…& never outshined – thus is the legacy of ALICE COOPER.
For more information on Geoff Tate, please visit: WWW.GEOFFTATE.COM
For more information on Alice Cooper, please visit: WWW.ALICECOOPER.COM
BPatoine – November, 2012