Boston Globe

Originally Published: October 10, 2000

Alice Cooper Still Basks In Mock Decadence

Author: Jim Sullivan

No one protests or pickets Alice Cooper anymore. The angry hordes have moved on to the other concerns - death metal, hip-hop, violent Hollywood movies. This leaves old Alice right where he should be: at center stage, gleefully wallowing in mock decadence. There he is, gathering up bones and putting them in a pillow sack ("Pick Up the Bones"), skewering baby dolls ("Dead Babies"), being strapped into a straitjacket ("The Ballad of Dwight Fry"), escaping, killing a nurse, and being hauled off - without trial! - to the guillotine (strains of "I Love the Dead"). Chop! The executioner prances around with his bloody head, tosses it in the giant reanimator machine at stage right ("Feed My Frankenstein"), and with a puff of smoke and flash of bright lights Alice is back in white tails, singing "No More Mr. Nice Guy."

And we're off to the races again.

Alice Cooper, accompanied by a backing quintet that included former Kiss drummer Eric Singer, played the sold-out Orpheum Sunday night and gave the faithful 100 minutes of big smiley-face fun, the semicorruptive nature of yesteryear yielding to a celebration of hook-laced hard rock, metal, and pop.

What's both cool and strange is singing along with Alice as he does "Eighteen," an early hit about the confusion of impending adulthood. Where once I looked up at the age, now I look back - a ways. As does Alice, even more so, but without a nod or wink. When you're Alice, in leather and eyeliner, looking virtually identical to your old bad self, you're always whatever age you want to be.

Alice Cooper, 52, remains the real "Rocky Horror Picture Show." And humor is a part of it. Unlike many oh-so-serious shock-rockers who have come in his wake, Cooper embraces life as he laughs at death. He closed the show with "Elected," once again running for president on the Wild Party ticket and proclaiming he's "your top prime cut of meat/I'm your choice/A Yankee Doodle dandy in a gold Rolls-Royce." Joining him onstage were Bill and Hillary Clinton - all right, people in Clinton masks - who squabbled and fought as Cooper cavorted.

What's nice to report this time is that Cooper's got a good new CD out there, ''Brutal Planet,'' and played several songs from it.

His character on this album is a nasty, manipulative ruler who lords over a ''Road Warrior''-cum-''Blade Runner'' world and who, in "Wicked Young Man," wants to ''purify the race, turn up the heat.'' These crimes, of course, help set up the mid-set climax: his execution. This Alice is a bad man who deserves to die, regardless of your views on capital punishment.

His death coming halfway through the show allows for the poppier side of Alice to come out after his resurrection - ''Poison,'' ''Caught in a Dream,'' ''Only Women (Bleed).'' Then a couple of ripsnorters from the classic ''Killer'' album, ''You Drive Me Nervous,'' ''Under My Wheels,'' and ''School's Out,'' creating penultimate pandemonium with big confetti-filled balloons floating about. The first encore was ''Billion Dollar Babies,'' with Alice sporting a ''Britney Wants Me'' T-shirt, which revealed the word ''Dead'' when he turned his back. Alice tossed out phony dollar bills, the song mutated into The Who's ''My Generation,'' and then the campaign pledge of ''Elected.''

Sang-spoke Alice: ''I know we've all got problems - in Boston, Cape Cod - and personally I don't care.'' Delivered with the greatest sneer in rock.