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Originally Published: 1977
Author: Vaughn Palmer
He's probably popped in front of a television set right now, ever-present Budweiser in hand while he waits for the people who run his life to tell him where he's going next. Alice Cooper, the fading king of shock rock, spends by all accounts, most of his waking hours in front of a TV.
Now he even performed in front of one. The act at the Pacific Coliseum Thursday night was framed by the front panel of a giant, illuminated wooden TV set.
It makes Cooper's audience very comfortable. The 16,000 fans, many of them so young that an early '70s star like Cooper must be an 'oldie but goldie', were born and raised in front of a TV set. Cooper's violent, theatrical act must fit their minds like a glove.
"I'm 18 and I like it." Alice sang. "School's out forever," he sang. And when adults asked why the singer's name was Alice, he replied "lissen baby, you really wouldn't understand."
Those songs and the best of Cooper current lineup are all products of the old Alice Cooper band. The old band recorded two fine albums, Love It To Death and Killer which combined gross out hrad rock concepts to a powerful end.
However, attentiuon was drawn to the band not for their clever and worthy music but because Alice was hanged on stage, flayed chickens and played with a boa constrictor.
The act caught on and eventually the band got in the way and so they had to go. Cooper and his managers split with the entire old group songwriting and instrumental talent be damned, and gambled that they could make it with Alice alone in a show done in the method of a broadway musical.
They've scored well economically, but nevertheless the show is a dud, one that they'll pay for in the long run.
Cooper is only a marginal talent, can sing only poorly, can't dance worth beans and is displaying an extra 15 pounds of paunch about his waist and hips.
The new band is a poor substitute for the old one and is often hidden behind the many backdrops which is where they belong. The sound system was a disgrace, a droning non-directional aural insult.
Of course, Alice did all those things you want to hear about. Like playing with a snake, or being guillotined, or battling with three spiders and later with three teeth, or singing a chorus in the arms of a 10 foot tall cyclops.
The TV fame included a removeable semi-transparent screen which as used to show some amusing and sharply produced films. During one sequence a close up of a woman's mouth, Cooper barged through the screen in time to be chewed up and swallowed.
Presumably the people resposible, can keep the slick visual action coming for years to come. But Alice himself isn't 18 any more and it is starting to show, in a tired act that listlessly embellishes the past.
Some day soon, there will be no one interested in interrupting the TV viewing of the man who's real name is Vincent Furnier.
Playing with Alice was the Atlaeta Rhythm Snction. The section amkes a rousing bar band and could burn the little roadhouse tavern down any day of the week. They were a bit over there heads in the cavernous Coliseum Thursday, largely because the sound system reduced their punchy southern boogie to mud.
They seemed to bored too, though the only thing that was boring were some of the songs and the lead singer's breathy drawl. The Runaways, the all girl punk band, was supposed to be on the bill but cancelled at the last moment because one member was injured in a car accident.