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Alice is The Man
By David Lilly
Alice Cooper winked at Louisville (figuratively speaking) for nearly two hours at the Palace Theater on October 13, as he brought his "Brutal Planet-Descent into Dragontown" rock n roll circus to town. The show started promptly at 8:45 and Cooper and his crack band were in synch for the duration, indicating how well organized they and the show are.
As the lights went down, everybody that could stand up stood up cheering, as we were treated to the creepy horror-film music that accompanied the raising of the curtain. The musicians manned the stage and soon there was Cooper, atop the Dragontown set. With anticipation climaxing, the band plunged straight into a medley of "Sex, Death and Money," "Brutal Planet," and "Dragontown."
I overheard someone whose "glass" was half-empty, complaining that Cooper played only a couple of songs from the Dragontown CD (personally, I was hoping to hear "Disgraceland" and "I Just Wanna Be God"). I wasn't counting, but the Coop delivered an impressive variety of well-written, well played and entertaining music. In fact, he covered every area worth covering of a 35-year career in a business that chews up and spits out far more talent than we ever hear of. Every song played, including anthems like "I'm Eighteen," "School's Out," and "Department of Youth"; the ballads "Only Women Bleed" and "I Never Cry"; and rockers "Go To Hell," "Lost in America," "Under My Wheels," "Fantasy Man," and "Poison," was vital. Think about that - nearly two hours of music without one clunker or lame moment.
The familiar props like the guillotine, the straitjacket, the Frankenstein machine and the two-headed baby were all there. Among the other highlights of an Alice Cooper show is the presence of his daughter, Calico; first as a whip- and sword-wielding warrior and thereafter as a nurse. It's more than just nepotism. She clearly has talent and adds a touch of sexuality and more humor to the already tongue-in-cheek show. An added highlight for local fans was that Cooper's bass player, Chuck Wright, is a graduate of the Louisville Academy of Music.
As Alice exited the stage after the finale, I had the impression he had the stamina to turn around and do it all over again right then and there. The "scariest" man in rock n roll is at the top of his theatrical game after 35 years in the business.
Clockwise opened for Alice and is a band for listen and watch for. They rock hard and the lead singer is good. He's also observant, as he mentioned the nude statues adorning the walls at the Palace. Clockwise was warmly received and they did thank Alice for helping them out. Keep your ears open and use grease paint that doesn't run. Need help finding it? Go ask Alice.