Alice Cooper delivers stellar set, intricate stage show at F.M. Kirby Center
WILKES-BARRE — A disjointed skeleton, a menacing looking porcelain doll, spiders and seeing eyes decorated the stage as the father of the psycho-rock drama, Alice Cooper, took the the stage at the F.M. Kirby Center on Friday the 13th.
Cooper’s performance delivered hit after hit, a stage show full of gruesome props and evil characters and a few covers in tribute to fallen rockers, keeping the sold-out theater audience screaming bloody murder from start to finish.
Cooper stepped out in a body-length black cloak and started off with “Black Widow,” taking the crowd to its feet where they stayed for the duration as the band pushed through 22 songs with barely a minute between.
“No More Mr. Nice Guy” was the evening’s first hard-rock, sing-a-long, with fans belting the chorus and Cooper showing he hasn’t lost a step in the vocal department as he ditched his cloak for a black and white pinstripe suit as stark as his stage presence.
His three skilled guitar players traded solos on “Under My Heels” before slithering into “Is It My Body,” which Cooper sang with a live boa constrictor draped around his neck.
“Woman of Mass Destruction” featured a searing classical metal guitar solo, which landed somewhere between Beethoven and Tony Iommi, by ax-woman Nita Strauss.
The theatrics kicked up a notch on “Feed My Frankenstein.” Cooper emerged from a sort of demonic toy box wearing a bloody lab coat. A surgical table connected to Tesla coils was rolled out on stage, and after an electrical shortage, a 15-foot Frankenstein’s monster pranced around the stage.
The slower ballad “Only Women Bleed” saw a female wind-up doll come to life to torment Cooper, who killed the doll with his dagger by the end of the tune.
The staged murder launched the band into “Guilty,” which included Cooper being forced into a straight jacket by masked accusers, and “The Ballad of Dwight Fry,” found Cooper in an insane asylum being tortured by a dead-looking nurse.
As the stage show escalated, Cooper broke free and strangled the nurse, bringing crowd noise to a crescendo.
During “Killer” Cooper was brought to the guillotine, and he sang “I Love the Dead” from beyond as his severed head was paraded around the stage.
A trio of covers followed with banners commemorating Keith Moon, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie hanging behind the band as they flawlessly performed “Pinball Wizard,” “Fire,” and “Suffragette City.”
Two of Cooper’s own tunes rounded out the set. “I’m Eighteen” had the crowd singing so loud, it was difficult to hear Cooper through the microphone, and “School’s Out” was delivered with a seamless slide into Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall.”
The encore, “Elected,” added satire to the show as caricatures of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton joined the ensemble cast while Cooper sang, “I wanna be elected.”
Robin Grimshaw and Daulton Renninger travelled from Lancaster to see Cooper.
“This is my fourth time seeing him,” Grimshaw said. “It was awesome.”
Mark Vohar, of Shavertown, attended with his daughter Carrie Perreto. He said seeing Cooper brought him back to his youth.
“It’s the essence of rock and roll with theatrics,” Vohar said.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts