By Fred Peth
Alice Cooper – Genesee Theatre Waukegan IL – 09.22.16
The shock-rock legend and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer kicked off his ”Spend The Night With Alice Cooper” tour at The Genesee Theatre with another outstanding performance of songs I have not seen (and I’ve seen more than a few) performed live before with the combination of crowd pleasers and covers. Once the curtain dropped revealing Alice’s band and the stage design, I knew I was in store for a new special nightmare. His band consists of three excellent guitarists by anyone’s standards: Nita Strauss, Tommy Henriksen and Ryan Roxie, bassist Chuck Garric and Glen Sobel on drums round out a solid backbeat.
As Alice stepped onto the stage cloaked in a black robe under a waterfall of sparklers, the crowd roared to a thunderous cheer. After opening with ’The Black Widow’, they did not waste anytime and jumped into the very well known ’No More Mister Nice Guy’, which got the crowd singing and moving along.
Throughout the night each song drew the crowd and myself into his chaotic and creative life. Being at a number of his shows in the past, it was great to hear a mix of different songs live and see how they were going to be executed. One of these songs was ’Cold Ethyl’. Alice threw, swung and danced from side-to-side of the stage with ”Ethyl” a life-sized stuffed doll. The doll comes alive in the following song ‘Only Women Bleed’. Sheryl, Alice’s wife, played the wind-up doll. Stepping out of the toy box she gracefully did her ballet routine while the band performed. Unfortunately, she met her fictional demise at the end of the song by the hands of the shock legend and the tip of his dagger.
Killing it on stage in another way, Nita performed an incredible guitar solo that got many to capture it on their cameras and phones. During her solo the crowd cheered as she periodically whipped her long blonde hair and gave infectious smiles to the crowd proving that she definitely loves what she does. Not to be outdone, Glen and Chuck also had their time onstage together playing back and forth off each other, giving their bandmates a little break while they kept the crowd on their feet and had us enjoying their excitement.
The show would not be complete without all the other horrifying props and characters that come along with the show. Like the demented child’s room set pieces, spiders, snakes and monsters. ’Feed My Frankenstein‘ had Igor and a handler strapping our gracious host onto an electric pillar that goes haywire causing him to disappear and turn into the monstrous, 10 foot tall, Frankenstein’s monster that roams the stage singing the rest of the song.
The second time we see Sheryl, playing a demented nurse, and one of my favorite songs performed live is ’The Ballard of Dwight Fry’. It is a dramatic piece about an inmate of an insane asylum. Watching the performance you can feel the emotion and put yourself in this imaginary person‘s mind. Trying to break out of his situation but stabbing the nurse does not bode well for Alice. He gets thrown into the guillotine with another deafening round of applause.
The show ends with a grand finale that brings the final curtain call. Alice and Co. adorn a Stars And Strips themed stage where Alice is decked out in his best politician suit proclaiming what many of us would mind seeing happen as he cries out, I Wanna Be Elected, as a tattered, fictional Trump and Clinton battle it out only to leave Mr. Cooper in command.
For more on Alice Cooper, including current tour, click here
For photos from the Alice Cooper show at the Genesee Theatre, click here
Alice Cooper Setlist – Waukegan, IL – Genesee Theatre – September 22, 2016
Nita Strauss (guitar solo)
Chuck Garric (bassist)/Glen Sobel (drums) duo into band performance without Alice