Alice Cooper at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, WI - August 5th, 2008 - photo by Kristin Kizer
Before talking about the Alice Cooper show itself, it’s worth mentioning the venue. Often, hard rock shows can be made tense and uncomfortable by the obvious disdain that the staff has for such a crowd. It was a pleasant surprise not to have to deal with such issues. The Riverside Theater in downtown Milwaukee is a fantastic venue both in appearance and sound, and while it caters more often to slightly more “upscale” shows, the staff were quite polite and helpful to the rather colorful Cooper fans. The icing on the cake for me was that they had waitresses taking orders and serving drinks to patrons in their seats – good stuff! I hope more hard rock and heavy metal shows can find their way to this place.
Alice Cooper always puts on a show, and this night was no different. Not only did he go through all his most popular songs – “School’s Out,” “Eighteen,” “Poison,” “Elected,” and many more – but he has surrounded himself with a top-notch band. The twin-guitar attack works well for Cooper’s library of work, and the bandmembers were energetic, working the stage behind Alice as well as getting directly involved in his stage antics. There were also the usual gimmicks that some people find trite, but I found to be as fun as ever. Cooper included a cast of performance artists that joined him on stage at various points in the show. Many little skits were performed in conjunction with the theme of songs: he killed a baby; there were several stabbings; he was put in a straightjacket; and he was hung from a galllow’s pole.
Those sorts of antics aren’t for everyone, but if you like Alice Cooper and understand both his humor and social commentary, then this show (and the tour it is a part of) represents his shtick quite well. After almost forty years of performing, the shock value isn’t the same, but Alice Cooper still cranks out a fun and entertaining show.