Rolling Stone

Originally Published: January 31, 1974

Alice Bombed in Toledo

Toledo - Pelted by fireworks and debris, Alice Cooper recently walked off their "Holiday Show" at the Toledo Sports Arena. According to Ashley Pandel, Cooper's publicist, "Alice felt if they continued, there could be another Altamont."

Guitarist Michael Bruce was reportedly cut on the face after fireworks thrown from the audience shattered an overhead light bar. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where a particle of metal was removed from an eye. He suffered no serious injuries.

Alice and the rest of the band left the arena shortly after their walkoff. During a half-hour wait - while the audience lingered, waiting for resumption of the show - seven carloads of police were summoned to join 20 off-duty cops at the auditorium to control the near sell-out crowd of 8,000.

"Security at the concert was non-existent," charged James Randi, who plays the executioner in the band's "I Love Dead Things" (sic) act. "There was only a two-foot barrier to separate the crowd from the stage."

Trouble began to develop even before Cooper appeared. Fireworks, including Roman candles, were set off during Z.Z. Top's opening set. Then, according to Mark Scheerer, newsman at WIOT-FM Toledo, "Alice got the first bars of 'Hello Hooray' out and got hit in the chest with either an egg or vegetables. He did a mock stagger and went on. Then people started throwing a variety of missiles at a fairly steady pace. Alice did the second number, 'Billion Dollar Babies,' and the lights went down. Alice told the people, 'We came to play, and we don't appreciate being targets.'"

A cherry bomb, as Scheerer described it - arena manger Gerald Francis said it was an M-80, equal in power to one-eighth of a stick of dynamite - went off, shattered the light, and Bruce was hit and led offstage. Alice then decided to cancel, Pandel said, "before someone got killed."

The band - and most witnesses - were unable to explain the violence. Pandel said the crowd seemed more "bewildered" than angry at anything. A crush of people directly in front of the stage, he said, began pushing forward, shoving matches began "and then things were being thrown." Scheerer said Toledo rock fans had no history of violence. "It was just a handful of malcontents. I think they just felt it was obligatory. You know, to match his violence."

Pandel disagreed. "Alice is only trying to relieve tension in kids. When they leave an Alice Cooper show, ther sure won't get into violence. They've seen it already."

Ironically enough, the night before in Ann Arbor, Dennis Dunaway said before the concert, "We get off more on a Detroit-type crowd - crowds that physically get into a concert."

After an hour's wait, the crowd was finally dispersed, according to police. No arrests or refunds were made.