There was a time in the early ’70s, between the Rolling Stones at their peak and the dawn of punk, that the Alice Cooper Group was the most threatening, anti-establishment band around. A trashy, long-haired rock & roll outfit that scared the hell out of parents with their look and violent stage show. In the process of creating the genre known as “shock rock,” they released a string of great albums, steeped in hard, gritty, psychedelic-garage rock and filled with instantly recognizable teen-angst anthems.
By 1974, the stage show was getting to be less “Clockwork Orange” street-punk and more Hollywood B-horror movie and that great original lineup soon dissolved leaving Alice to soldier on with a long running, if at times spotty, solo career. It seems like he spent a lot of time trying to convince people he was just an average Budweiser-swilling, golf-playing, regular kind of guy, appearing on “Hollywood Squares” and any variety show that would have him. Some of his post-Alice Cooper Group albums had some good songs – most notably his first solo outing “Welcome to My Nightmare” – but many failed to capture the magic of those early Bob Ezrin-produced albums.
Fortunately, when Alice Cooper brought his “No More Mr. Nice Guy” tour to Albany last week, he leaned heavy on the past, offering up hit after hit with a set list that drew mostly from his “Love It to Death” thru “Billion Dollar Babies”-era recordings, while also touching on the best known songs of his solo work. And the fans loved it! Even after all these years, Alice, with his snarl intact, still puts on a “Killer” show!
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