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Originally Published: January 19, 1990
Pacific Coliseum January 18
Alice Cooper Grandmaster of Shock Rock is dead, long live the Sultan of Schlock.
Cooper, ghoulish pioneer and practitioner of nightmare rock, is now sadly just another middle aged wanna be wallowing in a sea of self parody.
Cooper's brash, gutteral anthems and twisted stage persona may have been urgent and entertaining in the '70s, but in 1990 the 44 year-old's bag of tricks is gratingly cliche.
Alice the erstwhile nihilist dropped by the Pacific Coliseum Thursday clad in leather neo-biker wear and spent about 90 minutes ranting about sex, insanity, necrophilia and other tender topics.
The days of yore Alice practically invented rock theatre, conjuring up more boggling images and special effects than Houdini and Pink Floyd conbined.
Nowadays Cooper's idea of spectacle rock is sleazy stage chic littered with chains, jumbo trash cans and psycho totem poles that look nicked from the set of a z-grade slasher flick.
Between jousting with replicants of Freddie Krueger and Jason (of Friday The 13th fame), the boney, droop shouldered singer mock-strangled two women, engaged some street hoods and was carted off to the loony bin by a trio of doctors and nurses.
Songs such as Poison, Bed Of Nails and House Of Fire from his latest LP Trash, came across as a little more than sophomoric stabs at recapturing the past glories.
Even his classic mega-hit, which Alice wheeled out in droves (I'm Eighteen, Ballad Of Dwight Fry, School's Out, Billion Dollar Babies, Welcome To My Nightmare) seemed to lack spark.
Alice himself, whose music, image and taboo-defying lyrics were a frightening but vital part of early hard rock culture, is today about as shocking as an episode of the Flintstones.