Alice Cooper / Rob Zombie Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto ON May 21
Published May 24, 2010Over the course of his 40-something years in the music business, Alice Cooper has become known as the king of shock rock. From creating the genre with awe-inspiring live shows in the late 1960s and early 1970s through to his blood-soaked '80s, poppy '90s and shape-shifting, modestly retro 2000s, the Coop has always kept us guessing.
However, nothing since those genuine days of early provocation and tongue-in-cheek randiness has held as much inspiration, enthusiasm or power as his current extravaganza on the co-headlining Gruesome Twosome Tour with understudy Rob Zombie. Despite Zombie's less than enthralling set of half-missed lyrics and predictable LED images/pointless mechanical props, this was one of the most stunning Alice Cooper shows in decades, on many levels.
Overhauled by a new choreographer, the spectacle's visual side brought in both new and trademark aspects of the Coop's history. From a beheading to hanging strangulation to throwing dead bodies around and gargantuan needles pulling "Poison" out Cooper's body, this performance was an endless feast of physical theatrics.
More importantly, it was bolstered by one of the tightest bands Cooper has maintained to date, performing an onslaught of both fan favourites and diehard gems that ranged from tracks such as "Guilty" off of 1976 concept effort Goes to Hell, to From the Inside cuts such as the title tune and "Nurse Rozetta," and Welcome to My Nightmare rocker "Department Of Youth."
Fleshing things out with requisite numbers such as "School's Out," "Be My Lover" and "Under My Wheels," even the king himself seemed energized and adrenalized to be a part of something so explosive, which is no small feat at the ripe age of 62 hard years. While never breaking character, Cooper gave the crowd a tangible sense of pleasure and excitement, as his sordid live show titillated and stunned to the same degree it did so many moons ago.
At that, barring some historical album-specific jaunt, it will be difficult to see Alice Cooper topping himself in the future, but here's hoping.