By JOE LUETKEHANS – The room is pitch black, with only two dim spotlights illuminating the desolate stage. A mysterious and terrifying voice over telling stories of black widow mating rituals is the only sound to be heard aside from the ragged, excited breathing of the crowd. Suddenly, onstage, the horrifically decorated curtain drops and black-clad minions march it offstage, revealing a demonically-staged band setup complete with bloodied doll heads and malicious, torturous toy boxes. The roaring guitars and bone-shaking drums immediately take over the audience and the captivating show begins.
When a titan of rock and roll history comes to your town, it would be blasphemy to not see him perform. On Saturday, September 24, thousands of Indiana residents gathered at the KCAC to witness one of shock-rock’s greats: Alice Cooper, perform his greatest hits live as a part of his “Make America Sick Again” tour, complete with stunning pyrotechnics, astounding theatrics, and a musical showing that will be remembered for a lifetime.
From beginning to end, the show rocked its audience to the core. Something about Cooper’s music awakens a thrill in everybody, making the polo-and-khaki wearing accountants don leather jackets and face paint as they bow down to the calls of the rock & roll gods. He and his band show off an unmatchable stage presence as they stand at attention at the front of the stage for several songs, appearing as six horsemen of the musical apocalypse.
Cooper is currently touring with several world renowned artists who make up his band on tour: Chuck Garric on bass, Ryan Roxie on guitar along with Tommy Henriksen and the ever-beautiful Nita Strauss, as well as the unbelievably talented Glen Sobel on drums. His voice is every bit as shriekish, growly, and powerful as it was “in his prime”, proving that he has done nothing to dampen his performing chops over the years.
Junior student Tanner Bush, a self-proclaimed fan of Cooper’s who attended the show, shared these positive feelings, “Alice Cooper performed a very lively and head banging concert”. Bush, along with many others who attended the concert, were very impressed with the agility and energy shown by the almost elderly performer. “He outperformed any 68-year-old I know.”
The legendary performer, who is only two years shy of the ripe old age of seventy, looks like a shambling, possessed skeleton draped in a thin sheet of wrinkly skin, yet still retains the stage presence and charisma that he has had since his youth.
He does not utter a word out of his mouth that isn’t a note until the very end of the show, going from song to song with a level of stamina surprising for someone of his age.
Throughout the concert, appearances were made by an enormous boa constrictor draped across his shoulders, an electric chair which Cooper is strapped to and escapes from, a 10-foot tall Frankenstein that terrifies the audience, and a full-size, 20 foot tall guillotine that spurted blood across the audience after it takes off Cooper’s head.
As the show slowly winds down to an end, Alice and his band eulogize several of Rock’s greats. Enormous gravestones marked with the names of Keith Moon, David Bowie, and Lemmy Kilmister are shown across the back of the stage. After leaving the stage for only moments, Cooper and his band return for an extremely powerful and just-as-shocking encore of “I want to be Elected”, which returns the show to its presidential themes and roots.
Alice Cooper’s “Make America Sick Again” show will be an event that anybody there will never forget, and rightfully shouldn’t. If ever given the chance to go, do not miss out on the concert opportunity of a lifetime by seeing Cooper and his band. His unmatchable stage presence and bone-rattling performances are unreal, and make for a completely unforgettable experience.
[Photo by Joe Leutkehans]