Spending the Night With Alice Cooper

By on August 19, 2016

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Not many musicians reach Rock Star status, and even fewer reach the level of “Legend.”  But Vincent Furnier has done just that.  Some may recognize the musician’s birth name, but most will know him by his stage name and original band’s name, Alice Cooper. He is the creator of a genre and at 68 years old, Alice is still at the top of his game.  On Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, a sold out crowd was invited to “Spend The Night With Alice Cooper.”

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The band took the stage promptly at 8 pm as the Vincent Price theme song played.  Alice and the band started with “The Black Widow” as a huge banner hung from the ceiling of the stage that had two eyes with spiders in them. This graphic is used as a reference to Alice’s first band name from the early 60’s “The Spiders.”

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The opening track was just the beginning of a performance that included all the bells, snakes and guillotine that Alice is known to bring on tour with him throughout his career.

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After the “Black Widow” concluded, all the fans in the stands rose to their feet as the next two hits were played, “No More Mister Nice Guy,” and “Under My Wheels.” Alice wasn’t afraid to include lesser known songs throughout the 23 song set, but he also knew when to include solos and to come back to his well known hits. Speaking of solos, Alice’s new guitarist, Nita Strauss from The Iron Maidens, was amazing, and she fits in perfectly replacing their previous guitarist, Orianti (Panagaris).

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The solos, including drum and bass solos performed by Chuck Garric and Glen Sobel were short but effective. With a catalogue as extensive as Cooper’s, long solos aren’t needed as fans, especially this one, want to hear the songs they love, not solos.

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Alice broke out his trademark boa constrictor during “Public Animal Number 9” and some of the men and women in the crowd were very happy when the snake left the stage.

Alice changed his jackets several time throughout the show with a little help from a clown in a pink dumpster. You would think at his age Alice would need to take breaks, but the fountain of youth continues for the ageless “Godfather of Shock.”

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The set also included Alice’s biggest hit during the hair band era, “Poison.” This song was the only one of the night that really lacked punch due to the harmonies seeming a bit flat.

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There were many highlights of the show including a transformation of Alice Cooper into a giant “FrankenAlice” during “Feed My Frankestein” and of course during “I love the Dead,” Alice getting decapitated by the guillotine.

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We also witnessed a special tribute to 4 of Alice’s friends who reside in the cemetery of the Hollywood Vampires. They performed tributes to Keith Moon (“Pinball Wizard”), David Bowie (“Suffragette City”), Jimi Hendrix (“Fire”) and Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister.

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During the tribute to Lemmy, the band played their cover of “Ace of Spades” and it was beyond amazing. I’ve heard this song done by dozens of different bands throughout the years, but tonight’s version was second only to the original, due to a combination of the musicianship and the quality sound that Ruth Eckerd Hall provides.

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An Alice Cooper show would not be complete without the song staples that have rocked our radios since we were kids and continue to do so as adults. “I’m 18” and “Schools Out” wouldn’t be the encore though as it’s an election year and Alice had a couple surprise guests come on stage during the finale “Elected.” Alice donned his “Uncle Sam” outfit as “The Donald” and “Hillary” brawled onstage until they kissed and “hugged it out” in grand Alice Cooper fashion.

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The packed Ruth Eckerd Hall witnessed a special performance on Saturday from Alice Cooper and his cast of characters. If you get the chance to “Spend The Night With Alice Cooper,” take the opportunity to do so. You never know when the Vampires of Hollywood may call your name.

For dates in your area:

http://www.alicecooper.com/tour-dates/

For the setlist:

http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/alice-cooper/2016/ruth-eckerd-hall-clearwater-fl-33fcf8a5.html

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