While this is written on your day it will likely get posted a tad late.
This story is about the aforementioned birthday boy/Godfather of Shock Rock, my first show ever(rrrrrr!) I added those extra “r”s for some youthful vibe and some other gagglybits. Bits being info.
Alice Cooper was my first ever big concert if we omit Ice Capades and such kid ilk from the 70’s and 80’s.
I was a very late bloomer getting to shows so it was for the Trashes Canada Tour in 1989 I finally bought my first tickets. I would be going with my friend Jay. He and I had spent years listening to the Coop as Jay called him, arguing endlessly what period of Alice trumped others. He was more of a hippie 60’s guy so he preferred the eclectic and earlier Alice. I liked the early period rockin’ classics of course but some of the strange stuff was too out there for me. That said I love Flush The Fashion! I really went for the mid-80’s Alice. Especially with Kane Roberts on guitar. I was, and still am into the 80’s hair metal rock so this reinvented Alice was perfect. Constrictor and Raise Your Fist and Yell are still some of my favorite listens. Trash blew me away when I bought it on the first day of release. The entire record is so solid for me. So here we are Jay and I arguing how good/bad Trash is for months awaiting the Jan 5th date at the legendary Montreal Forum. Opening would be Great White.
Just a line here about Great White, I knew of them from my older cousin who was into them since their beginning. While I don’t groove on their bluesy side of songs I love their Once Bitten…Twice Shy stuff. They were very good on that night.
Onto Alice, but before we must talk about the journey of a young teen hopping the bus from the suburbs to go downtown Montreal. No fear, lots of excitement. We actually met a friend of mine Kevin when we boarded the bus who was also attending the show. I remember this because the following week he would be gone, taking his own life.
I had never attended a hockey game at the Forum up to this point either so this was really my first foray into the building I can recall. It was amazing. Seeing a stage setup so massive, the lighting rig, the speakers holy wow can I mount those in a house? Perhaps if I lived in a very large studio…Alas, the lights went down and a single spotlight centered stage middle. Music begins and up pops a massive trash can center stage. Massive! A blast of noise erupts as does the can and out comes Alice Cooper.
If you want to know how the rest of an Alice Cooper show unfolds go see one. It is because of this first show I am so very much into the theatricality of a performance. I have been set for life from that moment on what I like to see and hear. Hence, I would latch onto KISS as well; I already had in fact just not seen them live yet. That would come a few months later and shows would become a regularity in my life. As a side note Eric Singer was the drummer that night, other notable band member: Al Pitrelli. I would like to say thanks to my Mother and Father for trusting this boy back then in going to that infamous Alice Cooper concert. I am sure sometimes you wished I hadn’t because it just kept leading to more loud music. Then again, you taught me loud music is a good thing and never once made me feel otherwise.
Alice, your show was a gift for a lifetime to me, thank you. I hope this story is in some way, shape or fashion a gift back. Happy Birthday!
In case you’re curious here is the amazing setlist from that night, I loved that they played so many songs from Trash especially with a massive back catalog. If you are also curious about my friend, he liked the show aspect, but not the song selection as very few of what he preferred was played. For me, other than “Desperado” and “I Love The Dead”, every tune was perfectly chosen. I was so optimistic that some of the G’n’R’ guys would come out for the final song, but alas this would not happen. If you have never heard the amazing redo of “Under My Wheels” by Alice & G’n’R’ look it up. I have it on a purple cassette somewhere!
• “Billion Dollar Babies”
• “I’m Eighteen”
• “I’m Your Gun”
• “House of Fire”
• “No More Mr. Nice Guy”
• “This Maniac’s In Love With You”
• “Welcome to My Nightmare”
• “Ballad of Dwight Fry”
• “Gutter Cat vs. the Jets”
• “Only Women Bleed”
• “I Love the Dead”
• “Spark in the Dark”
• “Only My Heart Talkin’”
• “Bed of Nails”
• “School’s Out”
• “Under My Wheels”
Blair De Abreu