Live: Alice Cooper at Hard Rock Live, December 15

Alice Cooper
Hard Rock Live, Hollywood
Thursday, December 15, 2011

View a slideshow from the concert here.

Better than:
Mr. Nice Guy

​It's not an easy task for a shock rocker of decades yore to hold the attention of a crowd which has been exposed to far more advanced forms of shock -- advanced both in technological innovation and psychological darkness. Alice Cooper is a puppeteer in a world of CGI. Thursday at the Hard Rock though, the old man delivered. Maybe it helped that most of the Baby Boomer crowd probably missed Marilyn Manson completely, but a good show is a good show.

The stage set-up was very corny -- a spooky alley with a pile of garbage, zombies in dark corners, and the words "No More Mr. Nice Guy" graffitied across the front of the drum platform. In between each song the lights would go down and Cooper would switch up costume and props. The theatrics were borderline half-assed -- swords, a snake, a crutch -- until about the midway point when the band went into "Feed My Frankenstein."

For this number, Cooper appeared in a white lab coat and brought out his assistant Igor, who suited him up with gloves and goggles. He then went to his monster-making machine and began pushing flashing buttons and turning knobs as the band rocked on around him. Sparks began to fly and smoke filled the stage. Suddenly, magically, Cooper was gone and in his place a twelve foot tall monster version of him sang the rest of the song.

This visual was not topped by anything that followed, but the energy did not drop off. In remaining numbers, Cooper was beheaded by a guillotine, impaled a pestering photographer with a long metal pole, sent large, confetti filled balloons out into the crowd, and he may have announced his candidacy for President in 2012 -- he'll be running on the "Wild Party" ticket.

If he were to enter the presidential race, he would probably have the vote of many of those who rocked out in Hollywood with him last night, especially if he brings his band on the campaign trail -- the five players filled their roles well, theatrically and musically. He wouldn't need to speak much, just wear leather pants and be himself, or rather, be Alice Cooper. He ended the night by introducing himself: "Playing the role of Alice Cooper tonight has!" Bravo, you old golfer.

Critics Notebook:

Better Than: Marilyn Manson's Kenny Powers impression.

Random Detail: One of Cooper's guitar players actually looked way more like Kenny Powers than Manson does in the above photo.

By the Way: Thanks to the drunk dude in my section who provided amazing accompanying vocals to the ballad "Cold Ethyl," and to all of the other drunk people in the house for rocking out so hard.

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Travis Newbill