Thursday, May 4, 2017

Alice Cooper at Robinson Center: Review and Slideshow

Posted By on Thu, May 4, 2017 at 5:37 PM

click to enlarge BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson

He’s still got it, and his message may be as relevant as it’s been since ‘73. Anyone who’s been in the business for a half-century could be called a nostalgia act, but Alice Cooper kept the old band hits only to the required minimum Wednesday night (“Under My Wheels,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Eighteen,” “School’s Out,” “Billion Dollar Babies”).


He and a five-piece band (three guitars, all with shred set to 11 — including one Tommy Henriksen, who Alice alleged is from Little Rock. True? Call home, Tommy!) played to a near full house at Robinson Center Performance Hall, its new renovations seemingly ripe for the spectacle of this iteration of the Alice Cooper Show, Shocking America’s Parents Since the Seventies™. He brought it all: the pyro, the confetti, the streamers, the fog machine, even a bubble machine, employed during “School’s Out.” The onstage focal point was Alice’s toy chest, painted a demented pepto-pink. From this visual representation of Alice’s sick mind emanated new wardrobe choices, his snake, of course, and a scabbard filled with Alice cash which his shook over his subjects during “Billion Dollar Babies” to make it rain like a pirate might. (Next song, he argued by pantomime that he was broke, sitcom dad-style.)


Cold Ethyl, from Alice’s titular tune, also emerged from his toy chest; a life-sized rag doll gone heroin goth for Alice to drag around onstage to the hoots of the crowd. Here would be the time to insert concern over the imagery, as so many have over the decades. But, fear not, for in Alice’s world, the guilty must pay for their crimes. And Alice was guilty even before a real-life Ethyl emerged from the toy box to pirouette during “Only Women Bleed,” her broken chains swinging. It was during this song that the 69-year old Alice finally sat down for a minute - appropriately, on a Grouch-worthy trash can - and the first time the relentless crunch of the triple-guitar assault slowed enough to remind us of the breadth of songcraft that Alice, one of the true innovators of American popular music, has given us.


He’s in the victory lap phase of his career, a living musical pioneer up there with a Willie Nelson or a Paul McCartney. But Alice has never allowed us to take him as seriously as, say, Prince or Bowie, because Alice has never taken himself seriously. How can someone who is zapped to become a gargantuan Frankenstein’s monster, is straight-jacketed and locked up, and guillotined onstage be taken seriously? Alice is a cautionary tale, someone who dies for his (our?) sins, night after night, only to then rise from the dead in a gold suit, “Eighteen” again.

“Elected,” Alice’s Nixonian victory song, wasn’t on the Little Rock set list, but “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Alice” t-shirts were available at the merch table. Lustily cheering on the execution of so-called sickos in Trumperica? There’s a little Alice in all of us.




From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Stephen Koch

  • "Dream Land: Little Rock's West 9th Street" premieres on AETN tonight

    "Dream Land: Little Rock's West 9th Street," an hour-long documentary on the storied street by the Arkansas Education Television Network, premieres tonight at 7 p.m.
    • Apr 6, 2017
  • Gladys Knight at Robinson Center

    Also, Paul Rucker at Inverse Performance Art Festival, Funkanites kick off Jazz in the Park, Kate Campbell, Sad Daddy and more
    • Mar 30, 2017
  • Green Day at Verizon Arena

    Also, Dropkick Murphys, Captured! By Robots, Terrance Simien, Hot Springs Gallery Walk, Son Volt, Scott Kelly, Valley Queen, CeDell Davis, 'Phantom of the Opera'
    • Mar 2, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Live Review: The Polyphonic Spree at Stickyz

    This fall The Polyphonic Spree is celebrating the 15th anniversary of their debut, "The Beginning Stages of ...", with a tour of Europe and North America. The Dallas, Texas band formed in July 2000, born from the sparkling mind of lead vocalist Tim DeLaughter. Tim and his band — a group of about 20 musicians — are currently on tour and performing their entire debut along with other originals and a few surprises. Returning from their stint in Europe, they came through Little Rock with a blazing performance at Stickyz Tuesday night.,
    • Oct 23, 2015
  • Federal judge wants John Goodson to explain class action maneuvering

    A show-cause order filed Monday by federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith indicates class action attorney John Goodson has some explaining to do about the move of a class action complaint against an insurance company from federal to state court with an instant pre-packaged settlement that has been criticized as a windfall for Goodson.
    • Dec 22, 2015
  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016

Most Shared

  • Conspiracy theorists

    Back in 2000, I interviewed Rev. Jerry Falwell on camera in connection with a documentary film of "The Hunting of the President," which Joe Conason and I wrote.
  • Virgil, quick come see

    There goes the Robert E. Lee. But the sentiment that built the monument? It's far from gone.
  • Real reform

    Arkansas voters, once perversely skeptical of complicated ballot issues like constitutional amendments, have become almost comical Pollyannas, ratifying the most shocking laws.
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.

Visit Arkansas

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Underutilized waterway is a hidden gem in urban Little Rock

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation