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Originally Published: August 08, 2009
Author: Stephanie De Pasquale
Alice Cooper's Theatre of Death is hands down the best concert I have ever seen.
Cooper's appearence at the Mississippi Valley Fair Saturday even tops Kanye West's Glow in the Dark Tour. And that's coming from someone who was less than thrilled to review a guy her dad listens to.
Theatre of Death is like "Sweeney Todd" meets rock and roll. There are intricate costumes, evil villains, larger-than-life props and sets. Cooper is beheaded, poisoned with a giant syringe, hung and impaled throughout a performance that weaves 28 of the rocker's hits into a story line of an evil nurse set on killing Cooper again and again.
The presentation of the show was seriously on par with a broadway musical production, which is no surprise as it was directed by Rob Roth, whose credits include Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."
But there's nothing that Disney would approve about Theatre of Death, which begins with a shortened version of "School's Out," then moves on to "Department of Youth," "I'm Eighteen" and "Wicked Young Men." At the end of the song Cooper is caught by ghouls, placed in a straight jacket and eventually beheaded via a guillotine.
Then Cooper is sent to hell where he appropriately sings "Go to Hell," "Guilty," "Welcome to My Nightmare" and "Cold Ethyl," where we first meet one of the women intent on doing Cooper in. Then continuing with the love gone wrong theme, Cooper sings "Poison" and is given a lethal injection by a red-headed nurse who is the main villain of the story.
The band then played one heck of an interlude and the nurse brings Cooper out in a wheelchair, and he's wearing hospital clothes. The nurse then appears to seduce Cooper while he sings "Be My Lover" until she appears to be electrocuted. Cue in "Only Women Bleed."
The nemesis of course is not dead and returns to do in Cooper two more times inspiring a medley of "Vengeance is Mine," "Dirty Diamonds," "I Love the Dead" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy."
The 61-year-old moves around stage for the 90-minute set with the vigour of a man half his age and his voice didn't falter once despite his high energy performance. Between Cooper's energy and the driving music that never stops, Theatre of Death is one fast ride from beginning to end. It left the crowd of 12,000 screaming for more and Cooper delivered with a new costume of a sparkling silver ring leader and a full version of "School's Out."
The show was just amazing.
(Originally appeared on Quad-City Times website on August 8th, 2009.