I just want to take a moment and talk about a concert I went to. No, this is not a concert review, nor will I spend any time talking about the songs played or putting in a plug for you all to go see this show (although you should). What does this have to do with horror? Trust me, my friends. Trust me.
I went and saw the unmistakeable Alice Cooper. Yes the show was amazing. Yes, he somehow still sound amazing at 69 years old. Yes, he is heavy and energetic enough to match up to any current rock show. However, none of that is what I want to talk about. The dude lives and breathes horror! His whole show is built around him being in an asylum and within those rubber walls he dances like a ghoul, and screams like a banshee while nurses inject him with goliathian needles, attack him with whips, and restrain him in strait jackets. The whole show is a scene of agony and terror. He literally brought the perfect mixture of a horror film to a live show. This was macabre vaudeville at its absolute finest.
Many bands have come after and copied Cooper’s gimmicks – like the visually fantastic show Rob Zombie puts on – but Alice Cooper is horror. I wasn’t around in his heyday and I am sure he was quite the scene being all strung out and hammered as he loomed around the stage with snakes and bloodied corpses, but he has surely not lost a step in his sobriety. The best part was that he was the opening act of the show yet he had each soul of the 20,000 person audience in the palm of his gnarled hand as he dragged each of us down and welcomed us to his nightmare.
After being beaten by a 15 foot robot, succumbing to electroshock therapy, and getting cooked in a violently brilliant electric chair, the biggest pop was when the unmistakable guillotine was wheeled out mid stage and a drumroll led up to Alice Cooper getting the Marie Antoinette treatment. Then, as if that wasn’t good enough, his decapitated head was taken out from the basket and started singing the necrophiliac’s anthem I Love the Dead with blood still dripping from the iconically make-uped face. It was surreal and stunning all at the same time. For those 90 minutes horror was reality and the music highlighted the grotesque. Alice Cooper and horror are one and he is still proving that after 53 years of terrifying audiences with living and live horror.
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