Circus

Originally Published: May 1973

Alice Tours With Monster Tooth

Author: Barbara Graustark

"And now, America's own Billion Dollar Baby... the legendary Alice Cooper," screamed the intro tape as the curtain lifted on the most amazing show in the history of rock 'n roll wizardry.

From the moment Alice's eighty passanger Electra jet with the painted dollar sign on the wing, the black jack table, the well-stocked bar and the cushioned floors streaked its way into Rochester, New York's local airport on the first leg of a grueling three-month tour, the faces of the motley crew appeared alternately hopeful and worried. Would the magic tricks work? Would the special props like the guillotine leave Alice's real head intact? Would the flash paper successfully ignite its spark - or fizzle into a ball of ashes? Could the Amazing Randi saw Alice's slender body in half... and successfully join him together? And what about those tricky laser beams? Said one member of the troupe before the show, struggling with a prop handkerchief that refused to convert into a black cane, "It's anybody's guess!"

Several hours later, worried frowns turned into gleeful grins. From the moment a mummified Alice, swathed loosely from head to toe in sequined bandages waddled across the plexiglass mirrored stage to warble the opening verse of "Hello, Hurray," then shouted, "Let the show begin... now!" Alice presented his most theatrical, most memorable, most magical fiesta. Of course, there was still a bit of the old Cooper bloodletting, as the screaming multitudes watched Alice's head (the plaster one) roll from the guillotine to the tune of "I Love The Dead," while the members of the band brandish Cooper-look-alike plaster masks. But fun was a more fitting name of the game.

Alias The Colgate Kid: While the unnerving whine of a dentist's drill droned from a prerecorded tape, the band began their musical assualt on "Unfinished Sweet." Alice plopped himself into a dentist's chair as the Amazing Randi prepared to execute Alice's bum tooth with a mammoth prop drill (courtesy of Warner Brothers) and Cindy Smith (Neal's sister) gaily frolicked onstage in the guise of a giant dancing tooth capped by a flashing gold cavity. In a fitting climax, Alice leaped from the chair brandishing a giant toothbrush with which he cleaned the dancing molar.

But there was more to come, folks. From "Unfinished Sweet," the band zipped into Mussorsky's classical composition, "Night On Bald Mountain," a horror-movie track that prepared a fitting entrance for a three-minute laser beam show. It lit the theater with static sparks of color and light and gave the band time to make a rapid-fire change from their all white costumes into all black garb for the second segment of the festive extravaganza. "Sick Things," "Dead Babies," and "I Love The Dead" followed, with the band furiously bashing and flashing in the glow of over one hundred beaming lights hidden high above the stage in a twenty-foot superstructure that also concealed the plexiglass stars that rained upon the stage during the permormance of "My Stars."

Alice's new glow: Utilizing the same portable sound stage that New York's Broadway Theater had rejected last December, Alice seemed determined to prove that if Broadway wouldn't take him, America's children would. The members of the group stood on their seperate elevated risers crooning old and new tunes from Billion Dollar Babies with gusto - and with the aid of two additional musicians. Bob Brown's eerie mellotron echoed around Mick Mashberg's wailing guitar. Both newcomers, who will be joining the tour at various times, are really old school chums from Alice's early Phoenix days, reunited during the band's stay in London last year.

But last year's European tour seemed light years away. Even comparatively old tunes like "Elected" took on a new glow this time around. An American flag appeared out of thin air, but, unlike their European performance, no posters were bitten, chewed or deposited into the frenzied crowd. "It's definately more Alice Cooper stylized than ever before," explains Alice with gleeful pride. "It's Alice Cooper theater at its most intense." And for those elders who were paralyzed by the gore of pervious Cooper trends - well, shades of the Colgate Kid! If this Cooper guy brushes his teeth, how bad can he be?