Alice Cooper Knows His Niche

One night I caught the last few songs of an Alice Cooper concert on Palladia.

I believe is was from Halloween 2013 and recorded in London, England.

When I first started watching it I was a bit skeptical and excepted to flip to something else within a few minutes.

When I was in my early and mid teens Alice Cooper was pretty big and I did like some of the music.  There was the “School’s Out” album followed by the “Billion Dollar Babies” album.  I know there were some big selling albums prior to those two but I wasn’t really old enough to go out and buy the albums and no way were my parents buying them for me.

Being into hard rock at the time and the fact that most adults saw him as the anti Christ, I thought he was pretty cool.  I also liked the theatrics that were part of the show, that was pretty novel back then.

After “Billion Dollar Babies” my tastes started to change a bit.  I guess I thought I was getting more sophisticated in my musical tastes.  I stopped listening to Alice Cooper.

I’m not exactly sure why I went out and bought his “Welcome To My Nightmare” album but I remember I liked it and played it a lot of times.  I even went to see the movie and I went to that because growing up where I did it would be my only chance to see Alice Cooper.

After that I never bought another Alice Cooper product and really didn’t pay any attention to him or his music.

My tastes were changing into rock and roll and blues.  Blue jeans, a tee shirt and just playing on stage with some cool lights and maybe a background piece or some set designs but the music that’s what I was looking for.

Other than watching pieces of a documentary on Alice Cooper, this night as I tuned into his concert on Palladia was the first time in years that I saw him perform.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Now I know and you know he is not this superb singer with an amazing voice.  No he is Alice Cooper with his own unique style.

As I started watching I first thought, wow this guy is in his late sixties (67 right now but was 65 when the show was filmed) and he yells a lot, this is going to sound old.  I thought even the best band in the world isn’t going to make up for how bad he is probably going to sound.

LA QUINTA, CA - JANUARY 16:  Singer Alice Cooper watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the 49th Bob Hope Chrysler Classic at the Silverrock Resort on January 16, 2008 in La Quinta, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

This was the Alice I expected to hear.

But it sounded great.

I can’t explain it other than to say it worked.  Everything fit in, Alice, his voice and the band were as one.  They were an entity.

His voice didn’t make me cringe like I thought it would.  It made me want to watch and listen.

The band was smokin’, Alice was on top of his performance and the theatrics weren’t over the top as if trying to make up for a subpar listening experience.

Then I realized why it worked so well.

Alice Cooper knows his niche.

He knows right where to work and what works and he doesn’t venture away from it.

The last three songs that I caught were “No More Mister Nice Guy”, “School’s Out”, and “Elected”.  All three reminded me of why I listened to Alice Cooper when I was a kid.

It was simple, hard driving, hard rock.

Simple, interesting and well crafted, that’s all it takes.

I have to watch for that show again and make sure I record it.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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