Billion Dollar Babies 1973 - 1974

Billion Dollar Babies Tour 1973

Plans for, or the overriding theme for, the Billion Dollar Babies tour really took shape during the latter part of 1972 when Michael Bennett (West Side Story, The Follies) was hired to choreography a production called "Alice At The Palace". Hot off the heels of an album heavily influenced by Broadway (School's Out), the plan was to do Broadway type production at one venue, New York City's Palace Theate. But when plans fell through due to union contracts, or excessive ticket demand - it really depends on what you are reading - what would have been a first in rock and roll for this type of production died an early death. But not entirely. Undeterred, the band soldiered on and it was decided to do a full scale traveling tour, taking its inspiration from Broadway and lathering the production in theatrical excess.

Joe Gannon designed the large opulent set which featured an Egyptian statue overlooking the set, strategically placed behind Neal Smith's drum set. There was a raised area on the stage, with steps on either side leading up to the second level, then on into a hollow metal framed entrance littered with statues and manikins - like a gateway to heaven, or would that be hell? The chrome looking set was glitzy and excessive, screaming money. But then Alice would grace the stage dressed in a white leotard which looked like it had never been washed - it was torn and stained - stomping around the stage with thigh high leopard skin boots. The Billion Dollar Babies tour was the mother of all tours. The stage was excessive, the violence perpetrated by Alice was excessive, and the show was sexually excessive. It was all about excess, and there hasn't been a tour like it since.

Baby dolls were put to death at the sword wielding hands of Alice. Alice simulated oral sex with manikins, even captured his own spittle which had travelled down between the breasts of a silver manikin body. Cleaned the dancing teeth in particularly erotic fashion after being drilled by a mad dentist (The Amazing Randy). And finally, beheaded on a guillotine only to return to the stage so he and the band could beat the crap out of a Nixon impersonator. What more could you want, seriously?

What is often forgotten and overlooked about the Alice Cooper group is just how popular they were. Billion Dollar Babies saw the group at the height of their success, the tour was on the back of a No. 1 album and a top ten single. The band didn't take this lightly, instead of taking a break from constant touring for the past 5 years they hit the road - hard. In a little over three months the band had played about 60 dates across the US, traveling from city to city in a private jet. The Billion Dollar Babies tour was the highest grossing tour to hit the stage up to this point.

Thankfully, the Billion Dollar Babies tour was professionally documented. It is unfortunate to say that no previous tour had been graced with such a privilege for commercial release. The tour was filmed in two locations, and the result is Good To See You Again, Alice Cooper. Filmed in 16mm, it was blown up to 32mm which gave the film it's dark appearance. The filmed wasn't as successful as was expected, there wasn't really a market for concert films at this point, and the final film was hampered by 'comedy' skits featuring the band that were insertion between the live material. Unfotunately the skits were funnier on paper than they were on film. Still, Good To See You Again is a good documentation of a remarkable, ground breaking tour.

Songs Performed

Love It To Death (1971):

I'm Eighteen

Killer (1971):

Dead Babies / Under My Wheels

School's Out (1972):

School's Out / My Stars

Billion Dollar Babies (1973):

Hello Hurray / Billion Dollar Babies / Elected / No More Mr. Nice Guy / I Love The Dead / Raped and Freezin / Unfinished Sweet / Sick Things

Cover:

A Hard Day's Night (The Beatles)

1973 February

27: USA - Capitol Theatre, Portchester, New York
Dress rehearsal only, no audience.

1973 March

01: Canada - Memorial Auditorium, Kitchener, Ontario
02: Canada - London Arena, London, Ontario
03: Canada - Civic Centre, Ottawa, Ontario [Ticket]
04: Canada - MacMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
05: USA - War Memorial, Rochester, New York
Audio exists
08: USA - The Spectrum, Philadephia, Pennsylvania [Ticket]
09: USA - The Spectrum, Philadephia, Pennsylvania
10: USA - Civic Center, Roanoke, Virginia
with Earth, Wind and Fire
11: USA - William & Mary College Hall, Williamsburg, Virginia
15: USA - Civic Auditorium, Knoxville, Tennessee [CANCELLED]
16: USA - Cumberland City Memorial Auditorium, Fayetteville, North Carolina
17: USA - Clemson University, Clemons, South Carolina
18: USA - Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina [Ticket]
20: USA - Coliseum, Jackson, Mississippi
21: USA - Little Rock or Auburn, Alabama [CANCELLED]
22: USA - Savannah, Georgia [CANCELLED]
23: USA - Omni, Atlanta, Georgia
24: USA - Carolina Coliseum, Columbia, South Carolina
26: USA - Boston Gardens, Boston, Massachusetts [Poster]
Audio exists
27: USA - Sports Arena, Hershey, Pennsylvania
28: USA - Civic Center, Baltimore, Maryland
Audio exists
30: USA - Convention Center, Indianapolis, Indiana
31: USA - Public Hall, Cleveland, Ohio

1973 April

01: USA - Cincinnati Gardens, Cincinnati, Ohio
02: USA - Convention Center, Louisville, Kentucky [Ticket]
04: USA - Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan
05: USA - Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan
06: USA - Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Audio exists
08: USA - Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Indiana
09: USA - Amphitheater, Chicago, Illinois
10: USA - Amphitheater, Chicago, Illinois
12: USA - Pershing Auditorium, Lincoln, Nebraska [Ticket]
13: USA - Municipal Auditorium, St. Louis, Missouri
14: USA - Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee [Ticket]
15: USA - Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas City, Missouri [Ticket]
20: USA - Pirates World, Dania, Florida [Ticket]
with Flo & Eddie
21: USA - Pirates World, Dania, Florida
22: USA - Veterans Memorial, Jacksonville, Florida
25: USA - Municipal Auditorium, Mobile, Alabama
26: USA - Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana
Audio exists
27: USA - Hirsch Memorial Coliseum, Shreveport, Louisiana
28: USA - Memorial Auditorium, Dallas, Texas
Audio exists
29: USA - Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas [Ticket]
Audio exists

1973 May

01: USA - Fairgrounds Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
02: USA - Tulsa Assembly Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
03: USA - Will Rodgers Coliseum, Fort Worth, Texas
04: USA - University Of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
05: USA - Tucson Community Center Arena, Tucson, Arizona [Ticket]
06: USA - San Diego?
10: USA - Los Angeles Forum, Los Angeles, California
Audio exists
11: USA - Los Angeles Forum, Los Angeles, California [Ticket]
12: USA - Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino, California
Audio exists
13: USA - Sports Arena, San Diego, California [Ticket]
15: USA - Civic Center, Amarillo, Texas
16: USA - Wichita, Kansas?
17: USA - Denver Coliseum, Denver, Colorado
18: USA - Denver Coliseum, Denver, Colorado
19: USA - Salt Lake Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah
20: USA - Las Vegas, Nevada
24: USA - Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon [Poster]
25: USA - Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, Washington
26: Canada - Pacific National Exhibition Coliseum, Vancouver, British Columbia
30: USA - Metro Sports Arena, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Audio exists
31: USA - Milwaukee Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1973 June

01: USA - Sports Arena, Toledo, Ohio [CANCELLED]
02: USA - Boston Gardens, Boston, Massachusettes [CANCELLED]
03: USA - Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York [Ticket]
05: USA - Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, New York [Ticket]
Audio exists
07: USA - Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Audio exists

Billion Dollar Babies Holiday Tour 1973

It's not as if the band hadn't toured enough this year, or the years previous to this, but with the release of their second album of 1973 a short tour was announced for the end of the year. The Billion Dollar Babies Holiday Tour was basically the tour for Muscle of Love, but with the same structure and design as the previous Billion Dollar Babies tour.

This time around the band performed in sailor suits, as depicted on the inner sleeve of the Muscle of Love album. At the shows conclusion Nixon was replaced with Santa Claus (played by writer Bob Greene who joined the guys on tour and would document his experiences in his Billion Dollar Baby book, released in 1974), who the band proceeded to beat the hell out of.

The Holiday Tour did not go as smoothly as expected. There were internal struggles within the band which were amplified by Glen's poor health and his failing ability to play - he would be supported by ghost players for this and the Billion Dollar Babies tour. There was a gas shortage during the tour as well, so the stage failed to show up for some of the shows. And worst of all, during a performance in Toledo, Ohio the band left the stage a few minutes after the show began when 'fans' started throwing bottle rocks on the stage.

Touring at this point was probably not a good idea, considering the amount of work the band had, and were doing. This tour was never filmed, but there are a few bootleg audio recordings that exist.

Songs Performed

Love It To Death (1971):

I'm Eighteen

Killer (1971):

Dead Babies

School's Out (1972):

School's Out / My Stars

Billion Dollar Babies (1973):

Hello Hurray / Billion Dollar Babies / Elected / Sick Things / Unfinished Sweet / I Love The Dead /

Muscle Of Love (1973):

Big Apple Dreamin / Muscle Of Love / Hard Hearted Alice / Working Up A Sweat

1973 December

08: USA - Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
with Stories
09: USA - Greensboro Coliseum, Greenboro, North Carolina
with ZZ Top
11: USA - Dane County Expo Center, Madison, Wisconsin
with ZZ Top
12: USA - Crisler Arena, University Of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
with ZZ Top
13: USA - Toledo Sports Arena, Toledo, Ohio

Alice Cooper only played a short set due to firecrackers being thrown on stage; with ZZ Top

14: Canada - Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario [Ticket]
with ZZ Top
Audio exists
15: USA - Onondaga County War Memorial, Syracuse, New York
with ZZ Top
16: USA - The Scope, Norfolk, New York
with ZZ Top
19: USA - Capital Center, Landover, Maryland [Ticket]
with ZZ Top
22: USA - Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida
26: USA - New Haven Coliseum, New Haven, Connecticut
with ZZ Top
Audio exists
27: Canada - Montréal Forum, Montréal, Québec
with ZZ Top
29: USA - Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, New York
with ZZ Top
Audio exists
31: USA - Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York [Poster]
with ZZ Top

Tour Materials

South American Billion Dollar Babies Tour 1974

There's nothing quite like flogging a dead horse! This would end up being the final time the band would ever perform live again in the same compacity. It would be surprising if any band could survive such a self-inflicted pace of constant touring, recording, excessive drinking and health problems.

This short tour of South America was almost like Beatlemania had hit, it was the first time a rock band had played the area. The band arrived and they were mauled by the massive crowds waiting for them, having to be escorted by armed police - armed with machine guns. The shows varied in size - from huge indoor arenas to smaller couple thousand seat venues. One concert actually set the record for the largest indoor attendance - 150,000!

Not much is known about the tour, but the show would have been the same as the previous Billion Dollar Babies Holiday Tour, with the removal of Santa Claus. Audio does exist from one show on the tour, possibly more.

Songs Performed

Love It To Death (1971):

I'm Eighteen

Killer (1971):

Dead Babies

School's Out (1972):

School's Out / My Stars

Billion Dollar Babies (1973):

Hello Hurray / Billion Dollar Babies / Elected / Sick Things / Unfinished Sweet / I Love The Dead /

Muscle Of Love (1973):

Big Apple Dreamin / Muscle Of Love / Hard Hearted Alice / Working Up A Sweat

1974 March

30: Brazil - Anhembi, Sao Paulo
150,000 in attendence (Circus Magazine, July 1974)
with Som Nosso de Cada Dia (translated as: Our Daily Sound)

1974 April

02: Brazil - Teatro, Sao Paulo
05: Brazil - Canecao, Rio de Janeiro
07: Brazil - Maracanacinho, Rio de Janeiro
08: Brazil - Maracanacinho, Rio de Janeiro