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Alice Cooper Topeka

Overall Concert Score: *Speechless*


And I have my hearing back, too! It wasn't looking good after the next couple of days, but my hearing totally resumed in full!

...I'm actually a very busy man at the moment, and I simply don't have time to dabble in all those irrelevancies that plagued my previous live concert reviews. That's right, there's a test somewhere that I'm not studying for. And, I'm listening to Joan Baez (I'm not lying, either), so those little irrelevancies don't seem very important. Besides, there's nothing much irrelevant to report! I left for the Alice Cooper concert right after my Paleoclimatology class got out. ... So, I didn't really have time to do anything irrelevant...

Although, there are a few very useful things I learned by attending this Alice Cooper/Cheap Trick concert in Topeka, Kansas on that very fateful September 7, 2005 evening.

1. 6'5'' long-white-haired men with goatees, a few missing teeth, who wear sleeveless shirts don't actually smell that much. In fact, 80 percent of male teenagers (e.g. the one sitting near me) smell much worse.

2. You'd think that being at a chair in front of really short people on the floor seating would be a good thing because you can see over their heads. But, nope. Their genetic misfortune and a digital camera gives them a good excuse to stand on the chairs.

3. Not all that odd people attend Alice Cooper concerts. I met my demographic with this one. The audience consisted of 30 percent geeks/nerds, 20 percent "regular cool people," 20 percent hayseed farm people, 15 percent elderly-I-have-no-idea-what-they're-doing-at-this-concert people, 10 percent people with baffling haircuts, and (to my uttermost shock despite Alice Cooper's costumes) only 5 percent people with that "goth" fetish. So, my demographic (geeks/nerds) was best represented at this concert, which is a first. (For reference, I was outnumbered by office employees at the David Bowie concerts, cowboys at the Bob Dylan concert, maybe-lesbians at the Sarah McLachlan concert, and total dorks at the Brian Wilson concert.)

4. Actually, Cheap Trick doesn't suck.

There was a local Topeka band that opened the show ... 30 minutes before it was supposed to start. They sucked, but not that much. They were "hard core heavy metal" ... which ... um ... I don't like that much. They did two songs and then, as the lead singer was building himself a great introduction to a third song (saying something about how great a guitar was) and then consequently being forced off the stage. (HAAAAHHH!!!!!)

And then, there was a big pause.

And then CHEAP TRICK CAME OUT!!!!!!!

... Actually, I owned the first Cheap Trick album for quite some time, and ... I don't listen to it ... ever. But the band totally didn't suck. I mean, if you didn't enjoy the music, you were at least entertained by the fact that each one of the guitar players changed guitars from one very peculiar guitar to an extremely peculiar guitar upon the advent of a new song! And a six-neck guitar, which gave me the impression that I should start using my mortality. And Cheap Trick really loves themselves ... or at least the lead guitarist (who I can accurately describe as a California raisin in a baseball cap) loves Cheap Trick. He kept on screaming "WHO ARE WE? ... WHO ARE WE? ... WE ARE CHEAP TRICK!" in the microphone, or some variant of that. And he threw about 126 guitar picks at members of the audience. I guess he figured that these Kansas people at home were wearing their fingers raw by plucking their guitars with their bare fingers. ... Anyway, he didn't throw one at me! I WANTED A CHEAP TRICK GUITAR PICK!!!!!!! BOOOTOTOTOTOTO!!!

But, I actually enjoyed the songs! They had that one song that I heard of once ... The one with the intellectual lyrics that goes "I want you to want me ... I need you to need me ..."

The lead singer is the only member of Cheap Trick who actually aged well. He still hasn't given up the hair-metal look (where the rest of the band members either went wrinkly or bald), but ... all the more power to you, blonde dude.


...After the intermission.

The stage was set up with a weird skeletal angel thing on the side (which would later be revealed as a guillotine), a coffin, and ... I forgot what else. What's widely considered Alice Cooper's greatest song (Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera") started playing and a very very frightening demonic scream was heard as Alice Cooper appeared on that Topekan stage. (Actually, I would discover later that the demonic scream was not produced by anyone associated with the stage act, but the woman standing behind me.)

Then, Alice Cooper started to sing ... a song ... (I honestly forgot what it was. I think it was "Department of Youth") and he was strutting around a ... showman's stick...

Overall, Alice Cooper's stage antics were most delightful. It was not only delightful because it was exactly what I expected out of an Alice Cooper concert (lots of weird B-grade horror movie props, snakes, coffins, violence, etc.) but ... IT WAS FREAKING HILARIOUS!!! ... I mean, I saw Alice Cooper doing things on Wayne's World and stuff, but ... whoah. Whenever he'd smack a guitarist or his daughter (who'd dance around on stage frequently wearing just enough clothes to not be considered totally indecent), he had his head chopped off via a guillotine and re-emerged in a coffin at one point ... it MADE ME LAUGH! ... Because, as we all know, violence is funny.

I was more amazed at Alice Cooper's personality. He didn't come across as a human being. Rather he was more of an actor who was sent from the netherworld to play with snakes, conduct fake violence, and deliver a rock concert. He didn't actually "talk" until the encore. It was all dancing, singing, and playing with props--

Oh yeah, Alice Cooper sang songs! ... Not only was Alice Cooper's stage antics meant to be unabashedly crowd-pleasing, but so was his set list! ... Very very few songs were actually from his latest album. (I know for sure that there was one, "Dirty Diamonds," but I think there might have been another.) Most of them were from his most beloved period between 1971 and 1975, including nearly every song from Welcome to My Nightmare. Seriously, I think he did every bloody song on that album except for one or two! (He even did that weird suite that appears at the end of it!)

I also don't think "Feed My Frankenstein" isn't that bad of a song ... Well, it is a bad song, but at least ... at least it's better than Joan Baez! (That's right, I'm a sexist Republican.) Also, seeing the song performed in PERSON and not on the radio or on Wayne's World is kinduva thrill.

That brings me to my last and final point. ALICE COOPER IS AWESOME!!! ... This was seriously an utterly phenomenal concert experience and anyone in the world who ever consciously forwent attending an Alice Cooper has their life devalued accordingly. Going to this concert seriously made me reconsider demoting the January 2004 David Bowie concert as the best concert I've ever attended. Anything doing that is seriously worth considering a mention in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Do you have any comments about this concert thingy? Leave them here! (dave) received Oct. 4, 2005

i just saw him in orlando ( my 10th cooper concert) he just keeps getting better! i had the plantinum package where you got the backstage tour, front row seats and a photo with alice after the show! he was very cordiall, and down to earth - no attitude or anything. (denice) received Oct. 7, 2005

alice cooper put on the best concert yet, at soaring eagle. he sang,rocked and acted his heart out and I will be forever gratefull.

All reviews are copyrighted by Michael Lawrence. Global warming is happening in his brain.