Originally Published: January 18, 1988
Author: David Surkamp
EVERY ROCK fan's favorite nightmare, Alice Cooper, brought his theatrical brand of rock to Kiel Auditorium on Saturday evening. The singer's program was a fast-paced visual orgy of the gruesome, fueled by the metal-powered onslaught of Cooper's crack five-piece backing group.
When rock maestro Frank Zappa released Cooper's debut album "Pretties For You" in 1969 on his own Straight records, few would have imagined that the master of shock-rock would still be thrilling audiences nearly two decades later. However, with his "Raise Your Fist and Yell" tour in full swing, Cooper has captured an entirely new generation of rock ghoul watchers.
Cooper's stage set is a multileveled collection of gallows, mad-scientist operating tables and other oddities. With ample assistance from a party of monsters, ghouls, a giant spider and his live boa constrictor, rock's answer to Rod Serling dished up mock horrors while he sang favorites, including "I'm Eighteen" and "Only Women Bleed."
Heads were decapitated, the front rows were sprayed with gushing blood, helpless females were slashed, and Cooper was left swinging from the gallows. While this goes on, Cooper gets expert musical muscle from his powerhouse band led by a rock Rambo named Kane Roberts. With a body builder's physique and a treasure-trove of hot guitar flash and burn, Roberts comes across like Conan the Barbarian and Eddie Van Halen rolled into one.
Although it is nearly impossible to blink without missing something outrageous on stage, the highlights of the concert nightmare included "Billion Dollar Babies," "Schools Out" and a pulverizing encore version of "Under My Wheels."
St. Louis rock group Boyfriend tried its best to capture the crowd with a tight set of the group's heavier original material. Whether it was because the concert started more than a half-hour late or because a few in the crowd were expecting Motorhead to be the opening act (that was canceled), Boyfriend endured more than its share of catcalls. However, thanks to the group's seasoned professionalism, the band came off looking and sounding like winners.