LIVE: Alice Cooper @ the Palace Theatre, 9/28/16
Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Kirsten Ferguson, Gene Sennes
“And playing the role of Alice Cooper tonight…” he explained, flashing his trademark sneer ‘n’ leer at the end of the night, “me!”
Vincent Furnier may be 68 years old, but his onstage alter-ego is ageless, which fortunately allows Alice Cooper free rein to unleash such angsty, adolescent anthems as “I’m Eighteen” and “School’s Out,” which closed out his recent concert at the Palace Theatre with a double-barreled one-two punch, without making them sound – or look – utterly ridiculous.
An Alice Cooper show has always boasted as much humor as horror, and the rock vaudevillian carried on that legacy at the Palace. After all, just about every Alice Cooper fan knows exactly what they’re going to get, so the shock factor is nil these days.
There’s the Burmese python wrapped around his neck for “Is It My Body?” “Feed My Frankenstein” featured Alice (in a “blood” splattered white lab coat) transformed into a 12-foot tall monster puppet. There’s the rag doll of “Cold Ethyl” who came to life during “Only Women Bleed,” while Alice serenaded her from atop a battered trash can. Alice got all suited up in a straitjacket for “The Ballad of Dwight Fry,” while a zombie nurse danced around him. And, of course, then the henchmen wheeled out the guillotine, and, well, Alice lost his head.
Yes, the shtick was thick, but that’s what everyone came for, and precious few could have been disappointed.
Surprisingly enough, however, the theatrics didn’t overpower the music, which was hard-edged and gritty, featuring a three-army attack led by the blond Nita Strauss. The musical highlight of the night, “Halo of Flies,” was especially potent, Alice in top hat and tails, conducting the band during the epic performance that included an extended drum solo by Glen Sobel.
“I Love the Dead” led into a tribute segment to rockers who have met their demise – The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” dedicated to Keith Moon, David Bowie’s “Suffragette City” and Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” in honor of Lemmy Kilmister.
“School’s Out” was the perfect show-closer. The stage was filled with bubbles and giant balloons filled with confetti, as the band morphed into Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”
But it’s an election year, so for an encore, a red, white, blue and black leather-clad Alice romped through “Elected,” as “Donald Trump” and “Hillary Clinton” exchanged punches (and kisses) amid Alice’s campaign promises.
“Thank you, Albany,” Alice said at the end of the night, “and don’t forget to vote.”
This review was originally published in The Times Union.
ALICE COOPER SET LIST
The Black Widow
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Public Animal #9
Billion Dollar Babies
Long Way to Go
Is It My Body
The World Needs Guts
Woman of Mass Destruction
Halo of Flies
Feed My Frankenstein
Only Women Bleed
Balled of Dwight Fry
I Love the Dead
Pinball Wizard (The Who)
Suffragette City (David Bowie)
Ace of Spades (Motorhead)