05/19/2010

Gruesome Twosome Tour Review 1/3:  Alice Cooper

I have idolized Rob Zombie for many, many years, first hearing White Zombie play Black Sunshine on Headbanger’s Ball.  Then came La Sexorcisto – Devil Music Vol. 1 on cassette tape that was borrowed from a friend of mine.  While it was not my introduction to heavy metal, it certainly helped progress my interest in such a thing.  I think this was around the time I REALLY discovered MTV, who introduced me to White Zombie’s new track More Human Than Human from their follow up record (and next addition to my cassette collection), Astro Creep:  2000–Songs of Love, Destruction, and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head.  This goes on and on and on, up until the present day.

Rob Zombie, influencing my emotions and art for nearly ¾ of my life.

His music and videos really help give me some drive when I’m creating something, whether it was a video, a drawing, a graphic or a song.  His movies gave me the determination to be a videographer and writer even more than I was already.  Rob Zombie has had a huge impact on my life.  If you didn’t know already, I finally got to speak to him via an interview I did for the Knoxville Metro Pulse.  You can find it here: Rob Zombie Rises From the Grave with Hellbilly Deluxe 2

As a fan of metal since before I knew what music was (my parents had me listening to AC/DC so early that I didn’t even know there were other bands in the world.  To me, everything from the music on the radio to the jingles on the Burger King commercials was AC/DC to me), I’ve grown to appreciate all forms of metal, genres and eras.  A “true” metalhead can never REALLY appreciate that which is Rob (or White) Zombie without knowing and loving Alice Cooper.  The master of stage theatrics and a shock rock entrepreneur, Alice Cooper has left his mark on modern heavy metal, and is still rocking.  Rob Zombie is currently on tour with Alice Cooper in what they’re calling the “Gruesome Twosome Tour” and last night it stopped in Knoxville.

I went to that show.

First of all, I’ll start with a bit of a gripe.  Given what I’ve stated above, I don’t think it’s totally right that Alice Cooper opens for Rob Zombie on this tour.  I went mostly for Rob, but when you consider who he was touring with, the seniority and legend of the Coop supersedes the modern popularity of Rob Zombie, in my honest opinion.  I guess it probably wasn’t actually their decision to play in that order, but on the other hand Alice Cooper is 62 years old (I think) and playing a concert until 11:30 at night would be hard on anybody.  Moving on.

Alice’s show was supposed to start at 7:45, and unlike most other bands I’ve seen, he went on nearly on time (7:50, I think was when the lights went down).  I knew he was going to open with School’s Out, but was still about to explode with excitement when the school bell rang and the curtain fell during the opening guitar riff.  Alice stepped out wearing all leather, brandishing what appeared to be a cane and ended up being a sword by the end of the song.  What followed was a volley of big hits, following School’s Out with No More Mr. Nice Guy and I’m Eighteen.  The show went on for well over an hour with no banter between songs, just hard-hitting song after hard-hitting song.

Cooper didn’t disappoint in the area of stage theatrics either.  During the set he was hung, killed by lethal injection, had his head chopped off by a guillotine and was impaled by about 10 or 12 stakes in a magician-like box.   All of these feats were met with applause, cheering and laughter, which I took part in but thought about how terrible it would be if taken out of context.  Alice also condoned domestic violence against women (but that girl was crazy…shooting sparks off of her crotch early in the show) and cut a baby’s head off during Billion Dollar Babies, both of which were met with the same reaction.  Alice had no trouble bringing the shock and awe, even if they are the same stunts he’s been pulling for years.  I also enjoyed his roadies being dressed like executioners, often trying to murder him but being abused each time they came out onto the stage.  Alice’s band was also super talented, turning 1 of his classic songs, Black Widow, into an instrumental jam session.  After 80 minutes of back-to-back hard rock goodness, Alice closed the show with Under My Wheels, leaving the Knoxville crowd fired up, ready for more and daring someone to top that show.

Alice certainly showed why he is the master of the heavy metal macabre, and turned this guy into an even bigger fan.  I was sliiiiiiiightly disappointed they didn’t play Feed My Frankenstein, but I got to see Alice Cooper, who was on my list of people I need to see live before they croak, so I’m not complaining about a thing.

Enjoy today’s haiku:

I realize it’s May
But I just can’t help but think
Halloween is close!

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