Originally Published: September 2000
Author: Adam Capilouto
In a Summer packed with classic hard rock and metal comeback tours, master player ALICE COOPER refuses to be left behind. Not only has he released one of the strongest veteran albums of the year, but he has also added a special spark to his stage show and career as a whole.
For the first time since the Trash tour, ALICE COOPER appears to be on the rise again. While the Hey Stoopid and Last Temptation tours were solid Alice, Brutal Planet is much more cohesive and confidently built around a theme. Drawing on the apocalyptic elements from the new album, the back drop and set were aptly designed as a nuclear wasteland. Although the stage itself was smaller than many arenas, Alice managed to pack in all the glitter and guts you'd expect and more! Yep, the old baby doll returned, this time with two heads! A little too much radiation for mommy huh? Drummer Eric Singer lit his drum sticks on fire, while Alice maimed himself via guillotine. Yep, even in the new millennium, nothing beats a guillotine! The theatrics were fully realized by assisting actors and actresses, one of which was Alice's daughter Calico Cooper. The teenage actress played various roles, including that of Hillary Clinton!
Perhaps the biggest sign that the Coop is on the "comeback" trail is that he showcased more than half of his new album in the set. And the crowd response was quite receptive. In fact, the audience enthusiasm was up a notch compared to many veteran shows. Let's face it, 30 somethings need a special kick to start swinging their arms and bobbing their heads. And Alice gave them that. And what he gave them was a mix of old and new, with classics like "I'm Eighteen", "Under My Wheels", "No More Mr. Nice Guy", "Poison", "Only Women Bleed", "Go To Hell", and the almost forgotten "Dead Babies" effectively playing out alongside the metallic stomp of the newer material. He encored with a titanic version of "Billion Dollar Babies", in which the crowd almost went certifiably nuts. I think that's what the straightjackets were for...
Of special note, youth in the audience was a good sign and perhaps due in part to the more than adequate opening band The Donnas. Though much of their material sounded similar to the rest, they were pointing in the right direction. They rocked with spirit. The Knack were the second "opening" act and quite frankly, a poor choice. The bass player would probably agree, as he stumbled to the floor during their performance. But seriously, isn't "My Sharon" preceding "Dead Babies" a bit incongruous? Not pretty, but oddly, you get the feeling Alice wanted it that way. And maybe he is right. After all, its a "brutal planet, it's such an ugly world..."