Alice Cooper Rocks Indy

Legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Alice Cooper graced Indianapolis this past Wednesday, Oct. 5 as he stopped by for the second leg of his 2016 “Spend The Night With Alice Cooper” Tour.

Downtown Indy was a sight to see as Cooper fans of all ages swarmed the entrances of the Old National Centre and gathered to witness the master of madness put on one of his live performances. Coopers shows are well known for their vaudeville stagecraft and have been widely recognized as one of rock 'n' roll’s greatest spectacles.

I was stoked. I had seen the YouTube videos and countless documentaries, but had never experienced Alice Cooper first hand. Until Now.

The show began at 7 p.m., and without skipping a beat, the theatre grew dark and we found ourselves being welcomed into Alice’s nightmare.

The eery “Vincent Price Intro” began echoing through the theatre as the crowd of people rose to their feet. A spotlight focused on the center of the stage and there appeared Cooper in a black-and-white-striped suit ready to kick off the show with “The Black Widow.”

The crowd went wild for Cooper and his band of talented misfits; guitarists Nita Strauss, Ryan Roxie, and Tommy Henriksen, long-time bassist Chuck Garric, and drummer Glen Sobel.

As the show progressed, the audience was introduced to a number of hits such as “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Under My Wheels,” and “Billion Dollar Babies.” All were performed in an orderly Alice Cooper fashion which included bizarre outfit changes, a large toy chest full of creepy props, and a demonic two-headed baby.    

Cooper onstage with a boa constrictor during a performance of "It It My Body."

Cooper onstage with a boa constrictor during a performance of "It It My Body."

It was no surprise that “The Coop” still had it. His energy was electric and his presence on stage was still as impressive as it had been back in ‘75. All eyes were on Cooper as he ruled the stage, proving to be the king of ‘shock rock’ as he began performing “Is It My Body” with a 5-foot boa constrictor wrapped around his neck.

The show played on with some more theatrical classics like “The World Needs Guts” and “Woman Of Mass Destruction.”

Fittingly, after “Woman of Mass Destruction” concluded, Cooper and the other male members disappeared from our sight, leaving Nita Strauss on stage to show off her killer chops. With this golden opportunity, Strauss performed what I would call a life-changing guitar solo. This girl can SHRED, and the crowd stood in astoundment. Clapping and cheering boomed through the theatre, applauding Strauss and welcoming Alice as he reappeared on stage, this time, sporting a blood-splattered straitjacket.

At this point in the concert, Cooper formally introduced Strauss and the rest of the band, breaking character only for a brief moment to add, “And playing the role of Alice Cooper...ME!”

Cooper and his band went on to perform crowd favorites such as “Halo Of Flies,” which was accompanied by an extended drum-solo by Sobel, “Feed My Frankenstein,” complete with a 12-foot tall frankenstein monster who was set loose on stage, and “Cold Ethyl,” where Cooper waltzed and flung around his life-sized ‘Ethyl doll.’

“Only Women Bleed” changed the pace of the concert for a brief but beautiful window. This song was much slower and somber than the rest of the setlist, and this seemed to be the only point of the concert where Cooper’s persona was changed from a ravenous lunatic to a gentle, rock ballad God. It was evident that this song resonated with the crowd. We had all taken a quick break from rocking out, and began slowly swaying along to the hymn.

After “Only Women Bleed” concluded, the tone of the concert was switched back to a heavy dose of madness where “I Love The Dead” was performed in correspondence to Cooper getting beheaded on stage by a large guillotine.

As “I Love The Dead” chimed on, three giant tombstone banners were lit up to reveal the names: Keith Moon, David Bowie, and Lemmy Kilmister. Cooper and his band theatrically covered the songs “Pinball Wizard,” “Suffragette City,” and “Ace Of Spades” to show love and respect for the fallen rockers.

At this point, it was almost two hours into the concert and I felt like things had to be winding down soon… and then, the opening guitar riff for “I’m Eighteen” pierced through the speakers as Cooper sang his heart out and thrusted a bloody crutch into the air.

“I’m Eighteen” was immediately followed by one of rock's favorite anthems “School’s Out,” to which the crowd sang every word as bubbles flew overhead and giant confetti-filled balloons were thrown out into the audience. Confetti dispersed itself throughout the crowd as Cooper made sure to slice open every balloon with his sword as he yelled, “SCHOOL’S OUT, INDIANA!”  

I expected this to be the final song of the show wondering how they could ever top “School’s Out,” when all of a sudden the intro to “Elected” came blasting through the speakers.

Alice Cooper performing "Elected."

Alice Cooper performing "Elected."

Cooper came dashing out onto the stage in an American flag tuxedo with a top hat to match. Along with his loud patriotism came two actors wearing masks that were meant to resemble the faces of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Cooper quarrelled with ‘Clinton’ and ‘Trump’ and pushed them off the stage as red, white, and blue streamers fell from overhead. Cooper exclaimed “Don’t forget to vote!” and walked off stage concluding the show.

It was the concert of a lifetime and truly a legendary spectacle to witness. Cooper’s memorable performances mixed with his raw talent was worth every penny.  It’s no wonder this Godfather of shock rock is still kicking it after almost 45 years.