Guess who Linda and I saw last week? Do you need a hint?
As a surprise to some, I actually have a slightly darker side when it comes to music. I say slightly, because it does NOT include any death-metal or “Look at me I’m so cool because I can act moody” crap. Nope, I prefer old school theater with smooth riffs and lyrics with a catch. At the heart of this genre is Alice Cooper (by definition I am referring to the band even though Vincent Furnier has since assumed this alter ego himself). Somewhat as a confession, this interest came about when I was in high school. I ran around with a slightly older crowd from work who used to drag me out to cruise the Springfield strip after work. One of these friends (ironically named the same as a famous comedian for those in the know) would always crank Alice as we drove around – we know all the lyrics and passed the time singing along. Ever since then, I’ll pull out a Cooper album and catch up on old memories. A few years back Linda and I actually saw them at the Peoria Civic Center Theater and totally enjoyed the performance. Surprisingly, my wife ended up enjoying it as well (her first time) but she is a huge people watcher as well so it was probably a natural fit. So when we heard he was going to be at the Mississippi Valley Fair (Davenport , IA) we jumped at the chance.
I need to explain something that made this night a little more intriguing that usual. This fair runs their concert tickets a little different that most places I have been at. The event goes on for about a week with a different band/singer each night. The acts tend to vary with a lot of country, a lame 80’s reject (this year it was Kenny Loggins filling this role) and then a rock band (we have seen Poison there twice now although some people would put them in the lame 80’s reject category). So you would expect the older crowd buys the tickets for the country, the George Michael fans gather for the lame act and the rockers hit the show geared for them. But this has a drawback in that the specific entertainment for that particular night is responsible for the draw/gate revenue. The clever men and women on this fair board figured you can charge everyone for a high priced fair card that gets you into all shows (actually the only way to get into the shows). This means no matter how much the act sucks or how bad weather is, the fair still has guaranteed money. Since Alice Cooper was the only band we wanted to see, we paid the full fair ticket price and just let friends and family use them when they wanted on the other days. All shows ticketing like this has an interesting side effect in that people tend to check out shows they normally would not attend because they basically paid for it anyway. Having experienced this from the Poison concerts, we were wondering what would happen at this particular concert because both my wife and I agreed Davenport was not ready for an AC performance. Sure enough, the gray hairs were standing in line when we got there along with a a number of families I am guessing did not do any Wiki searches before agreeing to take their kids. The goths were out along the usual mix of rockers making the lines a true mix of cultures. Linda and I were busy calling out numbers representing the amount of songs it would take for them to get disgusted and tear out of there.
I recommend catching an Alice show if you get the chance. Just be sure and keep an open mind and take the time to understand what is actually happening and more importantly why. If not, you will likely jump to some incorrect conclusions (especially if you are overly sensitive to the perceived improper treatment of the women on stage – for the curious fans out there, note the last time he was in Peoria his daughter was playing the role of the evil nurse which made it even creepier).
I did manage to take some crappy pictures during the concert. It was too much of a pain to take the expensive glass, but I had slipped the Stylus in my pocket to capture some stills – original thought is there would be interesting activity in the stands. Keeping with the more classic material theme, they opened the concert with shortened version of School’s Out. At 61, Vincent still sounds great and he is still sporting the leather.
He ripped through the songs building up the tortured soul storyline. Again, if you do not understand the songs, you will be struggling to understand the actions on the stage. Slowly you are brought into the nightmare playing out in his mind until the sanity starts to slip.
The fair stage did not leave much room for all his props and gadgets, but he did his best along with his ghoulish stagehands to bring out the required equipment on time and drive the show. They actually backed a semi truck up to the stage right before the show started to have an additional place to store the balloons and other contraptions.
Do to the number of pictures (yes, they are crap) you will need to take the jump to read on
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