Funny as it may seem, the self-crowned Prince of Darkness is a huge West Side Story fan. Alice Cooper, (real name Vincent Damon Furnier), claims to have been absolutely blown away by seeing the musical performed on Broadway, and it inspired him to try to bring rock and theatre closer together. This explains his three-decade career using electric chairs, fake blood, actors dressed as scarecrows and severed corpses amongst other things. Alice Cooper’s recent concert in Kaplakriki was no exception. Accompanying Cooper on his 2005 Dirty Diamonds tour was his daughter, Calico Cooper, who first appeared on the stage as a vampire, before changing into an insane asylum nurse, a henchman and eventually – Paris Hilton. Calico started the show by intimidating Cooper with her impressive set of vampire fangs, before trying to kill him with a dagger, after which she was beaten and dragged by the hair by her father. A one-up on Ozzy Osbourne.
The August 13th concert was a mix of old hits, which pleased the crowd immensely, and new stuff fewer people had heard, but which was well received. I was by no means disappointed with the level of theatricality on stage. Alice Cooper first appeared in an all-black outfit, topped off with skin tight leather pants, before changing into a red satin, and finally into a white tux. Each song had tailored props. For example, in “Dirty Diamonds,” Cooper threw silvery bead necklaces to the eager crowd. In “Billon Dollar Babies,” fake money was distributed, and in “Lost in America,” Cooper put on a leather jacket with the American flag on the back. In “Feed My Frankenstein,” Cooper had fake, severed body parts, which he assembled to form a body in a freestanding coffin on the stage.
The show reached its peak in the “Ballad of Dwight Fry,” when henchmen appeared to put Cooper in a straight jacket before escorting him to a guillotine where he was beheaded. Afterwards, Calico, then in her nurse outfit, triumphantly dangled an imitation of Cooper’s head. The performance was very kitsch, with over-the-top acting and fake blood that was more pink than red. However, it was very entertaining to watch, and a certain degree of self-deprecating humour seemed to be involved.
I have been asked to write this partially because of my own involvement in the show. In the middle of the concert, Eric Singer, formerly of Kiss, presented a substantial drum solo. The crowd’s attention slowly waned, since not much was taking place on the stage. I was sure something interesting was coming up, and to get a better view, I climbed up on my boyfriend’s shoulders. Alice Cooper then returned after a costume change, wearing a top hat and carrying a little whip. Since I was located directly in front of the stage and only three metres away, sitting on someone’s shoulders, I was at level with Cooper, who looked me straight in the eye while singing. I felt a bit self-conscious, arguably because I was wearing only a sports bra as a top due to the heat, but I used my position to take a picture for a woman who eagerly handed me her camera and gestured for me to use it.
Overlooking the crowd made me notice that nobody else was shoulder-riding like me. After singing a few lines to me, probably because I stuck out of the crowd like a sore thumb, Cooper threw his whip my way. Amazingly enough, I actually caught it–with hundreds of envious eyes upon me and feeling more self-conscious than ever, I quickly climbed down with my newfound treasure.
After the concert, I was known as the “whip girl” and received congrats and pats on the back from other Cooper fans. As I ducked into the bathroom at Kaplakriki, my boyfriend held on to the famous whip. He was approached by a gang of boys who offered him two plectrums, a water bottle the band members had drunk from, a broken piece of bead string and half a bra in exchange for the whip. The offer was kindly turned down.
Since tons of bodily fluids were lost at the concert, I went to Bar 11 to rehydrate myself. The first person I noticed when walking into the bar was Alice Cooper’s guitarist, Ryan Roxie. I took my chances and approached the guy, apologizing for bothering him, but telling him the show rocked, deciding I would immediately disappear to make sure I wouldn’t come off like a star-struck groupie. The first thing he said was: “Oh, you’re the whip girl! I didn’t recognize you with your shirt on!”
Surprisingly enough, he was very talkative and told me to bother him by all means, after which he thanked me for coming to the show in the first place. A guy whose track record includes playing with Slash and the Scorpions has every reason to be a diva, but Roxie was not. He told me about his wife and two kids, whose pictures he proudly presented me with. He also told me that Madonna isn’t really that pretty in person, and that after living in Hollywood for 14 years, he was glad to move to Stockholm where he currently resides.
I felt cool as all hell when I got to introduce the guy to my friends, who quickly made room for him at our table and got him drinks. Finally, Roxie encouraged us to visit his website, whose address he wrote down in my notebook. He even posed for a picture with me and a friend. Meeting a rock star who is a down to earth gentleman made a rockin’ night unforgettable. If I’m ever in the neighbourhood again where Alice Cooper is playing, I’ll be the first in line for tickets. That’s for sure.
(Alice Cooper has sold 50 million albums. His recent concert was not sold out.
Ryan Roxie’s website is www.roxie77.com. It includes a link to Ground: Zorro, the only official Ryan Roxie fan club endorsed by Ryan Roxie himself.)