Independent

Originally Published: October 03, 2000

Cooper's still rockin', still theatrical and still contemporary

Author: David Lindquist

Alice Cooper presented a full, fantastic rock show Sunday night at the Murat Theatre.

To show gratitude, every person in the sold-out audience of 2,450 should buy a copy of Cooper's current album.

Without the songs of Brutal Planet -- a criminally overlooked recording -- the original shock rock star can throw a mildly enjoyable oldies revue.

He's fully armed, however, with hard-charging vignettes of contemporary misery.

Brutal Planet's message: This world, regardless of superficial beauty and civility, may be too far gone.

Cooper was at his most theatrical when singing Pick Up the Bones -- a chilling ditty inspired by genocide in Kosovo.

No punches were pulled during the portrayal of the album's Wicked Young Man, a character who reads Mein Kampf daily to keep his hatred fed.

Cooper took a winking swipe at irritants during Little Things, which reserves extreme malice for people who talk during movies.

On the spot, he taunted a girl for wearing a Marilyn Manson shirt to an Alice Cooper concert. After the offensive garment was thrown onstage, he wiped himself with it.

A pre-arranged gag? There's no need. Cooper must see at least one such knucklehead in every city.

And while quality drum solos are as rare as the Chicago Cubs in postseason play, Eric Singer (ex-Kiss) surprised with a truly enjoyable one. It featured flaming sticks and everything.

Of beloved Cooper oldies, Under My Wheels matched Little Things for rollicking thrills.

Credit the Detroit native for managing a straight, passionate version of Eighteen -- a song he's performed for decades.

On the other hand, Hot Tonight was a dated imperfection of boogie rock, and late-'80s comeback hit Poison revealed unflattering hair-metal roots.

Obviously a quick study of whatever aggressive music is in fashion, Cooper should be rewarded for putting a thoughtful spin on Y2K metal.

His visual presentation was a mixed bag.

Effective lighting enhanced the stage's "City of the Dead," where the trunk of a junkyard car made a nifty depository for the show's hard-luck nurse character.

Cooper also was quite generous about tossing props into the audience.

Regrettably, his long-running guillotine bit disappointed. Cooper's head (and body) fell out of view a good half-second before the "blade" descended.