#707: Alice Cooper…Live!

GETTING MORE TALE #707: Alice Cooper…Live!

I’ve seen Alice Cooper twice.  Unfortunately, I didn’t write a review either time.  I certainly should have.  Both shows were special and perhaps unique in unexpected ways.  I have a couple stories to tell you.

The first time I witnessed the Alice Cooper show was on his Rock N’ Roll Carnival tour (no opening act), August 28 1998.  We were lucky enough to get the lineup with Reb Beach (Winger) and Eric Singer (Kiss), who had recently rejoined the band.  It was the now legendary Lulu’s Roadhouse featuring the world’s longest bar.  Thanks to the internet, we know the entire setlist.

  • Hello Hooray
  • Sideshow
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Public Animal #9
  • Be My Lover
  • Lost in America
  • I’m Eighteen
  • From the Inside
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Steven
  • Halo of Flies
  • Nothing’s Free
  • Cleansed by Fire
  • Poison
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Unfinished Sweet
  • School’s Out


  • Jailhouse Rock
  • Under My Wheels

I went with Lyne (one of our store managers) and her husband. A little while later Lyne was bullied right out of the organisation and went to work for HMV instead.  (I used to call her “Lynie Lynie Boing Boing” for some reason.)  We had an amazing time and I remember being impressed that Alice was still playing material from 1994’s The Last Temptation.  “Sideshow”, “Nothing’s Free” and “Cleansed By Fire” were unexpected treats.  It was also a pleasure to hear so many Nightmare-era songs.

At the end, as per usual, Alice introduced his band, and then himself.  He tore open the front of his jacket to reveal a T-shirt that said “Alice Spice”.  Yes, 1998 was the time of Girl Power and Spice Girls were the biggest thing in the world.  It got the required laughs.

One weird memory stands out.  A few tables ahead of us was a girl who was missing an arm below the elbow.  But that didn’t stop her from getting into the show, air guitar and all.  The missing arm was her strumming arm and she was just pumping it and going for it.  It was an unusual thing to see but she had a great time and that’s all that matters.  An unforgettable night.

The thing about the late 90s period of Alice Cooper:  It was a remarkably unproductive time as far as new material.  From 1994’s The Last Temptation to 1999’s A Fistful of Alice (a live album), there was nothing new.  In 2000, Alice cranked the machine again for a rapid-fire series of new albums starting with Brutal Planet.  The live setlist had changed dramatically too.  When I saw Cooper in 2006 with my new girlfriend (now known as Mrs. LeBrain), we got a very different show.

My mom had early access to tickets at the Center in the Square and surprised us with second row seats. On May 9, Alice rolled into town with his new band and new show. On drums once more: Eric Singer of Kiss. Opening act: Helix! Another favourite of mine in a hometown setting! Alice’s latest album was the excellent Dirty Diamonds and we got to hear the title track plus “Woman of Mass Distraction”.  In addition Alice rolled out a few forgotten oldies like “You Drive Me Nervous”, and “Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills” which was dedicated to Paris Hilton.

  • Department of Youth
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Dirty Diamonds
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • Be My Lover
  • Lost in America
  • I Never Cry
  • Woman of Mass Distraction
  • I’m Eighteen
  • You Drive Me Nervous
  • Is It My Body
  • Go to Hell
  • Black Widow Jam
  • Feed My Frankenstein
  • Welcome to My Nightmare


  • The Awakening
  • Steven
  • Only Women Bleed (with Steven reprise)
  • Ballad of Dwight Fry
  • Killer
  • I Love the Dead
  • School’s Out


  • Poison
  • Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills
  • Under My Wheels

There’s no record of Helix’s setlist, but they were able to play a number of songs including a brand new one: “Get Up“.  I was sad to see that a few people in the front row didn’t bother coming early enough to see Helix, but that made it easier for Brian Vollmer to see me in the second.  I pumped my first and sang along to every song — including the new one, once I got the hang of the chorus.  Vollmer obviously noticed the one guy singing every song, and came down to shake my hand.  Vollmer is one of the most fan-friendly artists in rock, bar none.   This was only the first of several times he’d shake my hand.

(Back) Brent “Ned” Niemi, Alice Cooper, Brian Vollmer, Rainer Wiechmann
(Front) Jim Lawson, Jeff “Stan” Fountain, Cindy Wiechmann – May 9 2006

From Planet Helix


As good as Helix were that night, nobody puts on a show like Alice Cooper.  Kitchener was no exception.  Mrs. LeBrain found herself swooning over guitarist Damon Johnson.  (I thought bassist Chuck Garric would be more her style, based on a previous Tommy Lee crush.)  Guitarist Eric Dover and the aforementioned Eric Singer rounded out the band, with Alice’s daughter Calico playing numerous roles as stage dancer!  (“Put some clothes on!” said her dad after introducing her.)

I remember two things about the show very clearly.  At one point, right in the middle of a song, a woman walked up to the front of the stage and held up a CD for Alice to sign.  I didn’t get it…you expect him to sign your CD while he’s performing?  While he’s in character as Alice Cooper?  Who did she think she was?

Alice ignored her until he was obviously fed up.  Swinging his cane in the air, he smashed the CD out of her hands.  The sour looking woman returned to her seat dejected.  You don’t interrupt Alice when he’s doing his show.  “What a self-centered idiot,” was all I could think.

Alice’s action with the autograph seeker was made all the more noteworthy later in the show.  Contrasting his attitude towards the previous woman, Alice paid special attention to a young girl in the front row.  Wearing proper ear protection, the young girl was with her dad, possibly seeing her first ever rock concert.  Recognising this, Alice personally handed her some of the fake Alice money lying on stage after “Billion Dollar Babies”, and some of the plastic pearls from “Dirty Diamonds”.  The little girl was the only person in the audience who got special attention from the performer.  Cooper, the consummate showman, plays for everyone not just the front row.  That girl will never forget Alice Cooper as long as she lives, and he made sure of it.  I couldn’t help but think Alice was also making a statement.  “Treat my show with respect and this kind of stuff happens.  Don’t interrupt me mid-song for an autograph.”

Whether I’m right or not, that’s one outsider’s impression of the events of the night.

Whatever I happen to think, there would be no argument that Alice Cooper puts on some of the best concerts in rock, and you should try to see him.  Make it a bucket list goal.  The lineups change, and the setlists evolve.  You’ll always get “School’s Out” but chances are you will also hear a smattering of special classics that don’t get rolled out very often.

Go see Cooper and come back with your own stories to tell.



        1. Yep, it’s strange, even though the originals aren’t the best recordings of the songs, I would have still chosen the Fistful of Alice stuff over Trashes the World stuff if I had to use live stuff


  1. Alice’s ability to do his songs justice has held up more than any other singer I know, although that likely has to do with his style of singing and not his efforts to increase vocal longevity. I’ve noticed that as singers get older, their singing voices either mellow out (Jeff Lynne, James Hetfield), or the midrange gets gravelly while the high notes stay relatively intact (Dio, Bruce Dickinson, Pat Benetar).

    As Alice’s singing is naturally gravelly it means he can sing them well at a far older age than other singers would be able to sing their own material.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All very valid points. But he still has to be given credit for being in great physical shape, as sharp as ever, and with all that youthful energy. It’s quite incredible when you think about it.

      I really genuinely like Alice Cooper, in that, I think he’s probably a really nice person too.


  2. I saw him on the Brutal Planet tour twice. Dio supporting and then… think it was Savatage? Then it was Dirty Diamonds (very similar set to your second one I think) with Twisted Sister. TS were on fire. The fact he could go on stage after that and not be a let down shows how good he is live!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m trying to think about this, but if you saw Savatage in and around 2000-2001, does that mean you saw them with Damond Jiniya on vocals?

      Fuck I bet TS were good though. Plus him and Alice are buds…I bet there was friendly competition between them. Like “I love Alice but I gotta try and blow him off the stage tonight!”


    1. You seeing Alice may or may not have been part of the reason I wrote this! You and Mitch Lafon. I was like, “I wanna tell these guys about the times I saw Alice…” and decided to just make it a post. So thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Deke seeing hime kinda help me decide to finally do it. I was thinking about it and then reading his review and chatting with him, I bit the bullet and so glad I did. Writing the review this morning.


      1. Kip had quit by the tour for that album, he’s not even in the videos. Which sucks, I like that guy. I just saw Alice in August, his first show back with Nita Strauss. Pretty good for a guy in his 70s.


  3. Great post, Mike – kinda made me wish I went to see him last year. I wonder how the Hollywood Vampires shows compare…

    (Also, hurrah for Eric Dover… best vocalist Slash worked with, in my opinion – in terms of voice suiting music).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d like to get me some Jellyfish on CD. I liked the one tune “The Ghost at #1”.

      I dunno about Hollywood Vampires, I imagine it’s a much less theatrical show. I would think Alice avoids the guillotine, etc. Just a guess.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. 22 years, man… been a favourite of mine all that time. Big power pop glam rocker. Dandelion is exceptional and Boy or a Girl is one of the finest songs I’ve ever heard, I reckon. Still love to play that one.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. All of this was awesome. Alice has class, he was right to ignore that moron wanting an autograph. But man, Helix and Alice in your town? Haha could they have made it a better Lebrain evening? Like fish in a barrel!


  5. He’s on my bucket list. Almost when to see him in 1999 at Massey Hall. A buddy of mine was getting married and the whole wedding party was supposed to go. We were all set to buy the tickets but the bride’s parents (who were paying for the wedding party gifts) had a huge problem with it. I think they thought he was Satan. I got a mug with my name and the word “groomsman” engraved on it instead. I still have it.


  6. Awesome reviews. I was at the Lulu show as well in ’98, and I saw him at the Center in the Square on Halloween night in 2014, although I did see the 2006 Dirty Diamonds show in Hamilton, ON. I bought a bootleg video of the Lulu’s show, and made an attempt to transfer the video at sometime to YouTube. I wasn’t able to transfer it all, but the first half hour is there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_izJPXHx20c&t=6s

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You were at the Lulu’s show too? COOL. I like when people find reviews of the shows they were at!

      I don’t remember them playing Hello Hooray, but there it is.

      I wonder if we used to buy from the same bootlegger. We had a guy named Ralph. He was at every damn show.


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