Toronto Sun

Originally Published: July 31, 1996

Scorpions, Cooper hit hard

Author: Kieran Grant

Alice Cooper, rock's own Prince Of Darkness, hardly needs competition from the sunshine.

The veteran schlock rocker's sense of humor was intact as he introduced the 1975 tune Welcome To My Nightmare just before dusk at the Molson Amphitheatre last night.

"Does it ever get dark here?" Cooper asked.

Fair question.

After all, the guy did take his stage name directly from a 17th century witch - via a 1960s Ouija board.

Cooper's early start made room for Scorpions, who topped the bill last night with a show that, despite being inferior to Cooper's, seemed to dazzle the crowd of 7,500 all the same.

Cooper cut back on his trademark theatrics and props and concentrated instead on his strong rock 'n' roll history.

Backed by a five-man solid band, he gave '70s hits like Under My Wheels, Billion Dollar Babies, and the more recent Poison a heavy treatment and impressed some fist-pumping die-hard fans up front with Clones.

The band brought most of the vintage material up to date, while classics like Eighteen, No More Mr. Nice Guy, and School's Out needed no dusting off.

The notoriously golf-crazed singer couldn't keep his ghoulish alter ego down for long.

Cooper stage a street fight - complete with cheap, WWF-style choreography and West Side Story music - for Guttercat.

He wound up in a straightjacket for The Ballad Of Dwight Fry.

It was during the encore version of Elected that Cooper put the whole thing into perspective:

"Whatever you do," he called, "Don't vote for me."

German heavy metal veterans Scorpions could have used some of Cooper's humor, not to mention his sideshow antics.

Scorpions deserve credit for using nothing but a few flashpots and lights.

Unfortunately, the group lacked both Cooper's staying power and his stronger repertoire.

Fans responded favorably to songs like Wild Child and Stone In My Shoe from Scorpion's new disc, Pure Instinct.

The Teutonic rockers eased back a bit for the acoustic ballad Holiday and the anthemic Wind Of Change, effortlessly inspiring a crowd sing-along.

But when the band raged at full blast, singer Klaus Meine's wail was all-too-frequently stamped out by Rudolf Schenker's overpowering guitar.

A band that drowns out its own chief noisemaker should probably work out a new technique.

But when that band's greatest legacy is a 12-year-old song called Rock You Like A Hurricane, you can't blame them for still trying.

Paradise By The Dog Leg Right: Meat Loaf is a golf nut. So's Alice Cooper. In fact the only place he'll conduct business with record weasels is on the links.

So who should run into each other in seperate foursomes at the local Angus Glen course Monday but Coop and Mr. Loaf. They kibbitized, compared handicaps, and Alice invited Meat to his show last night at the Molson Amphitheatre. Meat Loaf plays the same venue tonight.

Finally, as if this wasn't surreal enough, a fox ran off with Coop's golf ball. They only do that on the good shots.