ALICE COOPER / CHEAP TRICK - September 7, 2005 at the Kansas Expocenter in Topeka, Kansas

From Aural Innovations #32 (November 2005)

First off, I wanted to mention that this gig was simply the one of the best concerts I've seen in a while now. Some say that CHEAP TRICK was better, but I want to make it clear they were not the opener. They were the co-headliner, playing fifteen songs in a hour plus set. The sound mix was crisp, clear and powerful. Their setlist included "Hello There", "Big Eyes", "If You Want My Love", "Southern Girls", "Best Friend", "I Want You To Want Me", "I Know What I Want", "Voices", "Never Had A Lot To Lose", "The Flame", the theme from "That '70's Show" (complete with a full-blown psychedelic backdrop projection) and "Surrender". The encore was "Dream Police", "California Man" and "Goodnight". A good time was had by all.

But wait, the evening isn't even half over. Next up was (as they used to introduce him) the one, the only, the legendary ALICE COOPER!! This was the tenth time I've seen the man who practically mastered and invented hard rock and metal as we know it today. The stage featured a huge backdrop of two eyes made up with (what else?) Cooper like make-up. Alice opened his hour-and-thirty-five minute set with "Department Of Youth", "No More Mr.Nice Guy" and the title track from his new CD "Dirty Diamonds", where he kept tossing out fake diamond necklaces to the crowd of about 4,000. Next up was "Billion Dollar Babies", "Be My Lover", "Lost In America", "I Never Cry" (never thought he'd play this song while out on tour anymore) and two other cuts off the new disc, "Woman Of Mass Distraction" and "Sunset Babies". Then we got to experience "Is It My Body", "Go To Hell" (actually a good version) with Cooper's daughter Calico portraying the part of the dancer, "Between High School And Old School" and "Feed My Frankenstein".

By this point in the show some fans were probably asking themselves, "Where are the theatrics?" As Alice would likely reply, "Be patient my children - they're coming".Well, the show went from good to better as Alice performed "Welcome To My Nightmare" while a large yellow snake wrapped itself around him, along with "Steven" and his only ballad I ever liked, "Only Women Bleed". Then he was tied up in a straight jacket for "Ballad Of Dwight Frye" (never get tired of seeing this cut played live). I could hardly believe my ears when I heard the first line of the song "Killer" - ' What did I do to deserve such a fate?', which was followed by an instrumental version of "I Love The Dead", only to have Alice grabbed by two masked henchmen as they took him to be beheaded on the infamous guillotine. Once again, Calico came out, this time dressed up as a voodoo witch while holding her father's fake head squirting fake blood onto patrons in the first few rows. I was in dead center in the second row so I got some on me. The stage goes black. Shortly thereafter Alice reappears in a white tail and hat for the rousing "School's Out", where I believe six giant-sized balloons came out filled with his own play money with his mug on it. Now that's class. Looks like Alice was having the time of his life while popping a couple of the balloons with his sword. Ever see him in concert without one? He bids the residents of Topeka a good night. A few minutes later the band comes back for an encore, which was "Poison", "Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills" (where Calico came out dressed as Paris Hilton being pursued by annoying newspaper photographers) and "Under My Wheels".You just gotta catch this tour if you get the chance. At 57 I can see Alice continuing to record and tour for still many years to come. Simply love his nightly radio show.He makes a great DJ.

Setlist: Department Of Youth / No More Mr.Nice Guy / Dirty Diamonds / Billion Dollar Babies / Be My Lover / Lost In America / I Never Cry / Woman Of Mass Distraction / Eighteen / Between High School And Old School / Sunset Babies / Is It My Body / Go To Hell / Black Widow(instr. with drum solo) / Gimme / Feed My Frankenstein / Welcome To My Nightmare / The Awakening / Steven / Only Women Bleed / Ballad Of Dwight Frye / Killer / I Love The Dead / School's Out
Encore: Poison / Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills / Under My Wheels

Reviewed by Mike Reed

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