This was literally a jam-packed event which allowed plenty of time for virtuosic effects, audience interaction and major theatrics. Whilst it was expected that fans from across the U.S. would appear, the musicians were especially elated about those that came from “down under”.

But when else would we get to witness guitarist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway, drummer Neal Smith and lead vocalist Alice Cooper uniting for a rare performance, honouring tried and true selections from ‘Love It to Death’, ‘School’s Out’, ‘Killer’, ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ and more? In addition, we got to hear tributes to Bowie, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Who and The Doors, embellished with extended solos and related riffery.

There were, of course, many highlights. Nita Strauss is an expressive and confident electric guitarist, whose stage antics dazzle. Cooper’s lead guitarist, Ryan Roxie, aside from manning his own complex duties, did an impressive job filling in for the late Glen Buxton, also an original Alice Cooper band member, for the super-group mini-set.

Alice Cooper pulled out all the expected stops, including an intimate moment with his best reptilian mate and a moment of mania under a guillotine. His raspy voice sounded as strong and rebellious as ever.

Fans, of course, went berserk when the original lineup appeared, after a short, suspenseful break, when the stage went black. As the royals claimed their designated spots, the entire house stood up and broke out into deafening applause.

All were in excellent form. Bruce looked like he was having the time of his life, ringing out our favourite, rhythmic riffs. Smith was positioned upstage, so couldn’t participate in the downstage chemistry, but kept a consistent and compelling back beat. Dunaway’s bass lines sounded even more masculine and purposeful than back in the day. I don’t know how he does what he does, crafting those hefty, melodic changes, whilst making sure every fan feels like he or she is his lifelong friend.

Monday night was another jaw-dropping affair. The original team attended The Music Biz conference at the Renaissance Hotel in central Nashville. The event also included the return of the organization’s annual Industry Jam, which this year included killer performances by drummer Carl Palmer and his band, Chicago’s Cathy Richardson, whose voice resembles Grace Slick, but was chosen by Big Brother (Janis Joplin’s former band) to represent Joplin in a major musical; Felix Cavaliere (Rascals), who did an exciting “Summer of Love” medley and Mark Stein, formerly of Vanilla Fudge, who performed hit after hit and graciously filled in on keyboards throughout the night.

Emcee Richard Blade presented Outstanding Achievement awards to longtime Alice Cooper/Alice Cooper Band producer Bob Ezrin and to Toby Mamis, Alice Cooper’s manager and all-purpose visionary.

The original lineup also performed another miniset together. Fans were beside themselves, as the ballroom was intimate enough to allow for fantastic sightlines, superb acoustics and compelling camaraderie. And even without the benefit of guillotines, reptiles and other outlandish gimmickry, this shock rock reunion brought Nashville to its knees.

Set Lists:

Tennessee Performing Arts Center

Brutal Planet
Under My Wheels
Lost in America
Welcome to My Nightmare
TheWorld Needs Guts
Woman of Mass Distraction
Guitar Solo (Nita Strauss)
Halo of Flies
Feed My Frankenstein
Cold Ethyl
Only Women Bleed
Ballad of Dwight Fry
I Love the Dead

Original Band:

I'm Eighteen
Billion Dollar Babies
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Muscle of Love


School's Out
(with 'Another Brick in The Wall Part 2 excerpts)

Renaisssance Hotel

I’m Eighteen
Under My Wheels
Billion Dollar Babies
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Muscle of Love
School’s Out

Photos by Philamonjaro

Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce and Neal Smith will tour the UK with Alice Cooper in November 2017. They were last across the pond 46 years ago. 'Paranormal', Alice's forthcoming album, will include 'Genuine American Girl' and 'You and All of Your Friends,' which were written and recorded by Bruce, Dunaway and Smith. The official launch date will be July 28 (earMUSIC).

Related Links:

Commenting On: Tennessee Performing Arts Center and Renaisssance Hotel, Nashville, 14/5/2017 and 15/5/2017 - Alice Cooper

ie London, England

tick box before submitting comment

First Previous Next Last