Alice Cooper / Myrtle Beach, SC / 09-17-2007

On an off night from his opening slot on the Heaven and Hell tour, Alice Cooper brought his full set of theatrics to the intimate confines of Myrtle Beach’s House of Blues. Billed as “An Evening With Alice Cooper,” the master of shock rock promptly started at 8:00 and led his band of ringers through an hour and forty minute set that was filled with the classic rock radio staples that made him famous in the 70’s. Appearing in silloutte behind a huge curtain in a spotlight, the trademark outline of Cooper in tophat with a cane was visible to the rowdy crowd. Moments later, the real Cooper comes out and kills the imposter who lies on the stage through the first 5 songs before being hauled off on a stretcher by evil henchmen. Despite the opening, the show was mostly devoid of theatrics until the final act. Granted, you don’t need the theatrics when you come out with the combined punch of “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Under My Wheels,” “I’m Eighteen” and “Is It My Body.” Even the newer tracks from Cooper’s most recent disc Dirty Diamonds fit right in with the classics.

In addition, Cooper treated the his hardcore fans to the rarely performed “Raped and Freezin'” and “Muscle of Love.” He also showcased his stellar band on the epic “Halo of Flies” that included a killer drum solo from a facepaint-less Eric Singer who was joined by guitarists Keri Kelli and Jason Hook on additional snare drums while bassist Chuck Garric held down the groove.

Following “Halo of Flies,” the morality play that is an Alice Cooper show took place. Cooper emerged from a cloud of smoke to the opening strains of 1975’s “Welcome to My Nightmare” that saw strange creatures roaming the stage. One of the creatures was unmasked to reveal a lovely lady whom Cooper chased off the stage only to drag back on and throw around during “Cold Ethyl.” The old switcheroo of replacing the woman with a doll and then replacing the doll with the woman worked beautifully and you really never saw the switch. It actually looked like seamless. Of course, after beating the lady senseless and driving a stake through the heart of a vampire baby, Cooper was locked into a straight jacket to sing “Ballad of Dwight Fry.” At the end, as usual, he escaped the jacket and ran off stage. When the henchmen came back out and noticed Cooper missing, they chased him off stage and reapplied the jacket before wheeling out the gallows. I have to admit, the hanging is a more convincing death than the beheading. It’s more realistic and played out beautifully. Of course, since the Coop won’t stay dead, it’s only a matter of time before he’s back on the prowl and declaring that “School’s Out.”

For the encores, Cooper threw out the money during “Billion Dollar Babies.” 1989’s “Poison” seemed rather lackluster and just didn’t seem to work. Of course, since there’s a presidential election coming up, Alice closed the show with his declaration of political aspirations with “Elected.” There were campaign posters being waved around before Hilary Clinton and George W. Bush came out onstage and started fighting. Soon, they were making out with Alice demanding they get off his stage.

Alice looks better now than he did in his heyday. He sounds better as well. One thing you know that you’ll get at an Alice Cooper show is a damn good time. He puts his all into it and isn’t afraid to drop trademark pieces, such as the guillotine. Other classic rock acts could learn a lesson from Alice. Remember the Coop, eh? How could we forget you?