May 16, 2011
Ottawa Civic Centre
Taped by: bootlegottawa
H2 Zoom > Audacity >Traders Little Helper > Torrent
01. Black Widow
02. Brutal Planet
03. I'm Eighteen
04. Under My Wheels
05. Billion Dollar Babies
06. No More Mr. Nice Guy
07. Is It My Body?
08. Halo Of Flies
09. I'll Bite Your Face off
10. Muscle of Love
11. Only Women Bleed
12. Cold Ethyl
13. Feed My Frankenstein
14. Clones (We're All)
16. Wicked Young Man
17. Killer / I Love the Dead
18. School's Out
20. Fire (Jimi Hendrix Experience)
Ottawa Civic Centre
Reviewed Monday, May 16
Rock legend Alice Cooper gave his fans exactly what they wanted Monday at the Ottawa Civic Centre: An entertaining concert packed with his greatest hits.
In a long black overcoat adorned with six extra “arms,” the eyeliner-sporting rocker kicked off the spectacle from the top of a tower, his band blazing away on the Nightmare-era song Black Widow. Ditching the coat, one of the few newer tracks in the set followed, the hard-edged Brutal Planet, an indulgence that was quickly forgiven during the next string of vintage anthems.
“I’m 18 and I know what I want,” growled the 63-year-old golf aficionado, born Vincent Furnier, using a crutch as a prop as he sailed into one of his biggest hits, Eighteen. The crutch was replaced by a riding crop for Under My Wheels, then a sword adorned with fake money for Billion Dollar Babies.
No matter what the prop, Cooper sang with gusto, and his band was terrific. Having original guitarist Steve Hunter in the lineup ensured the proper licks were deployed in the proper spots, but the veteran’s work was bolstered by the muscle power of two young, hotshot guitarists (Tommy Henriksen and Damon Johnson), as well as hardcore bassist Chuck Garric and monster drummer Glen Sobel.
The crowd sang along to all the old hits, raising their voices in gleeful abandon for No More Mr. Nice Guy and Is It My Body, during which Cooper’s prop was a live snake. From the Killer album, an extended version of Halo of Flies gave the boss a chance to put the snake to bed and change outfits while the band hammed it up for the audience.
A blood-splattered white shirt was the uniform for the next stretch of the show, which included a brand-new song, apparently titled I’ll Bite Your Face Off, although it was not nearly as much fun as the old stuff.
From there, the production became more theatrical. Several of Cooper’s usual tricks were revived, including a guillotine, a larger-than-life monster for Feed My Frankenstein and a female mannequin that was alternately serenaded (Only Women Bleed, the sole ballad of the night), embraced and then flung around the stage (Cold Ethyl).
It was a testament to the depth of Cooper’s catalogue that he still had a couple of hits up his sleeve. The ultimate end-of-school song, School’s Out, was expanded with segments of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in The Wall, while Elected provided an opportunity for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer to drape himself in a Canadian flag. Finally, in honour of bassist Garric’s birthday, they closed out the show with one additional tune, a sizzling version of Fire, and the muscular, tattooed birthday boy doffed his shirt.
The concert opened with a half-hour set by the Toronto-based ’80s-metal band Anvil, who were lured out of oblivion a couple of years ago by the success of a fan-produced documentary. Anvil! The Story of Anvil was a surprise hit at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, which created enough interest in the band to send them on the road and record a new album.
So how did they sound? Between the lightning-quick lead guitar riffs of singer-guitarist Steve “Lips” Kudrow and the rapid-fire drumming of Robb Reiner, the two original members, the decades melted away. Although Kudrow is beginning to show a bald spot at the top of his frizzy mane and Reiner has more of a paunch, age has not dulled their playing. There was a flurry of notes in each phrase, and heads were banging just like they would have at Roxanne’s back in the day.
Still, there was a Spinal Tap-like sense of parody to the proceedings. In white runners and black jeans, Kudrow whipped his hair around and bent over backward to scream the lyrics to songs like Juggernaut of Justice, the title track to their newest album, and the anthemic fave Metal on Metal. The band members are probably in their 50s, but they played like they were teenagers making noise in their parents’ garage, complete with rivulets of lead guitar and a torrential drum solo.
In all, it was a fun night.
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
The world clearly needs more Alice Cooper.
The original Detroit-city shock-rocker has horrified and delighted generations of teens with his gruesome vaudeville antics, including everything from boa constrictors and guillotines to buckets of stage blood.
He played the Civic Centre Monday night and I have to tell you, more than 40 years since he first donned the black mascara and eyeliner, Alice Cooper, a.k.a. Vincent Furnier, is a theatrical rock franchise whose concerts are true experiences.
They are like a rock version of a scary roller-coaster ride.
At the Civic Centre, Cooper showed he has ambitions bigger than covering old hits Love It to Death through to his first solo album Welcome to My Nightmare on the nostalgia curcuit.
He’s about to release a new album of new songs co-written with his original producer, Bob Ezrin, called Welcome 2 My Nightmare that expands on Steven, the fictional psychotic character of the first album’s nightmares.
Apparently, they’ve only gotten worse. We’ll find out soon enough.
It seems that the prospect of a new album has Alice performing with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
Cooper, known for his big opening numbers, opened Ottawa’s show perched high above the stage holding sparklers for Black Widow, but predictably, the house, made up mostly of older fans, came to life with the classics I’m Eighteen, Under My Wheels and Billion Dollar Babies.
My first impression of this Cooper gig is that it might be the best show of the five I’ve seen him do since 1972. Something’s happened to light a fire under him. Though he will be 63, he hasn’t lost much off his voice, his playfulness or his over-the-top, too-much-is-never-enough show-stopping theatrics.
How can you not love a guy who sings No More Mr. Nice Guy to himself, and Is It My Body to a boa?
The only thing more impressive than Cooper’s shocking yet playful antics was the band he brought along.
Halo of Flies turned out to be a full frontal assault of three masterful guitarists who effectively duplicated the original Cooper sound, with raging guitar and drum solos that had fans deliriously happy by song’s end.
A new song, I’ll Bite Your Face Off, hinted at new things to come from Cooper this summer, but frankly, that wasn’t what the 5,000 fans came for Monday night. And happily for them, Cooper never strayed far from his mandate, returning to the classics with Muscle of Love and Only Women Bleed.
There wasn’t any dead weight in Cooper’s setlist.
The encore of Elected, while waving the Canadian flag, came complete with confetti cannons bursting in air.
Even at his most predictable, there’s no one in rock more entertaining than Alice Cooper.