There's a cool review over at the CelebrityAccess.com site but unfortunatly it's again one of those subscription sites so thanks to Tim for posting it through. You can read it below.
Alice Cooper At The Greek - By Bob Lefsetz
I don't do public nostalgia. Oh, I LOVE individual nostalgia. Just me in front of my computer, listening to the old tunes, surfing my old haunts. But when a group of people get together to relive the old days, to try and recapture their youth, it's just creepy.
I don't want to go see the Rolling Stones. Not even sure I want to see U2, having to endure barely fortysomethings remember when they were in college doing drugs and plotting an overthrow of the universe when now they're accountants and salesmen.
But I went to see Alice Cooper because of Toby.
Our values are all screwed up. We revere those with POWER! Even though, ESPECIALLY in the music business, so many of those with power are ASSHOLES! People you couldn't COUNT ON as a friend. Who, ironically, don't even have friends themselves.
Then there are others, who never made it to the top because their elbows are not sharp enough. Who are more concerned with living their lives than casting an image. THESE people you can count on. THESE people you jump through hoops for. Because you know these people will jump through hoops for you.
And for recent memory Toby Mamis has been Alice Cooper's go-to guy. The man who keeps the road open and clear. So when Toby asked if I wanted to come see his boss I said yes. He'd been on the road. It would be good to see a familiar face. And we could talk about his new home in Utah, and our annual trip to Aspen.
And the other reason I went was because of David.
David's thirteen. Three years ago he used to ask me about Blink-182. But shortly thereafter, he did a u-turn. He only wanted to talk about Led Zeppelin. And we're not talking Whole Lotta Love, he goes DEEP! Hell, on the drive to the venue he was pissed he couldn't call the radio station to win the contest by naming Down By The Seaside as the Zeppelin song they were spinning. Then again, he didn't understand it's not about being RIGHT, it's about being the fifteenth caller. You see he only listens to terrestrial radio when he's forced to. He's not schooled in its heinous ways. Normally, he's listening to iTunes and his iPod.
And it was on a trip with his family that I was stunned by the contents of said iPod. He not only had Pink Floyd, he had SYD BARRETT! And he had all of Killer. Alice Cooper's masterpiece.
So when I knew I was going to the Greek I asked David to come along. He didn't really believe it. He thought I would flake as the day approached. But you don't flake when it comes to rock and roll. Rock and roll's just too important.
Traffic was heavy. We missed the initial act. And although the Misfits were on just after we'd gotten our tickets, I ran into Mike Krebs, who books the Greek. So we hung out discussing the scene, the summer at the Greek. Turns out contrary to the national spin, the summer at the Greek was GREAT! We chuckled as to who was truly responsible for this, and then David told Mike he'd gone to the Warped Tour and the two of them started discussing punk drummers. I mean I know Bad Religion and NOFX, but not the individual PLAYERS!
And then, after a failed attempt to find Toby behind the stage, I started to hear the intro music. I don't need to catch every note. But I knew David did. So while Mike was engaged with Shep Gordon, we hightailed it out of there and rushed to our seats.
Now Alice Cooper just about invented rock spectacle. It's his blueprint that everybody's following. Not only Marilyn Manson, but Madonna even. They emphasize SHOW, which Alice PIONEERED!
So I expected movable sets. A ton of props. And tapes.
Yup, all the modern acts play to TAPE! Even Van Halen had the synths on tape. Or hard drive. Whatever they use today. Point is, it's not LIVE! And the audience doesn't even EXPECT IT to be live.
But Alice Cooper was straight out of 1972.
Sure, it wasn't Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce and the crew I knew from the old album covers, then again, these players were BETTER! They were just on the edge of VIRTUOSO! They missed no notes. It was pure guitar army assault. Enough to make KISS look like posers.
And the last time I saw Alice, he was flogging a new album.
But this time, he gave that up. It was pure greatest hits.
And what I didn't expect was to get caught up in it.
Because, you see, I was a HUGE Alice Cooper fan.
It was the initial track off Killer that hooked me, Under My Wheels. A great riff with a sense of humor.
And then the follow-up, Be My Lover, as great a straight-ahead rock song as any superstar ever cut.
And usually when I take a newbie concertgoer to a show I pay attention to THEM! Making sure they don't get lost, making sure they're having a good time.
But as Alice was running through those tracks from Killer I was tossed back to MY college years. Hearing that album in my dorm room every day of the winter of '72 and then needing to drive to Boston to SEE him. Needing to get CLOSER!
And that show is STILL in my Top Five. Along with Ziggy Stardust, the Who doing Tommy at the Fillmore and U2's indoor Zoo TV show. But, Alice is STILL doing a lot of the same shtick. He's still throwing cash into the audience, he's STILL puncturing giant balloons into smoke and glitter.
I'm thinking it's pure nostalgia, as I look around at the fiftysomethings and their children. (Yup, the U2 generation COMPLETELY missed Alice Cooper.)
But then Alice went into I'm Eighteen.
Lines form on my face and hands
Lines form from the ups and downs
I'm in the middle without any plans
I'm a boy and I'm a man
I started with Killer. And THAT was so good that I purchased its predecessor, Love It To Death. And I always took Alice with a grain of salt. An intelligent middle class denizen singing for the alienated working class. But then it occurred to me. I'd just turned NINETEEN! This was really MY life. I might have been going to a sophisticated college instead of haunting the streets. I might have been READING Creem instead of living it. But my attitude was the SAME!
I was going to college because I was SUPPOSED to. I just didn't have the COURAGE to follow not only my dreams, but my DESIRES! On the surface it looked like I had it together, but really I was in the middle without any plans. And to the outside, I was a man, but inside I was certainly a BOY!
I got a baby's brain and an old man's heart
Took eighteen years to get this far
Don't always know what I'm talkin' about
Feels like I'm livin' in the middle of doubt
Oh, I was wise. I felt EXPERIENCED!
But really, I was just a punk. Like every late teenager. And on one hand I KNEW IT! Hell, I was in college, not holding down a high-paying job. Then again, I FELT worldly!
I'm a boy and I'm a man
I'm eighteen and I LIKE IT
Oh, I had all the questions, and the doubt, both self and external. Then again, at moments I felt so ALIVE! And I lived in a world that adults couldn't even COMPREHEND! Invested in this rock music. Which wasn't just entertainment, but a trusted companion, that both pointed the way and got me through.
And as I'm standing there, thrusting my arm in the air, singing at the top of my lungs, I realized this wasn't nostalgia, this was the last vestige of something that used to EXIST!
Nobody does this anymore. Everything's safe.
Except maybe Eminem two and a half years back.
Then again, as brilliant as the lyrics were, do we really want to hear those beats TODAY?? They sound so PASSE! Whereas all that stuff from Killer' sounds classic, almost CONTEMPORARY!
I needed the record to understand life. I needed the record to get through. WE ALL DID!
That's not even what's being sold today.
Music used to drive the culture.
Don't talk to me about DVDs, or video games. It's not about the COMPETITION, it's about conceding the essence of the art form. Musicians used to be about EXPLORATION! CHALLENGE! Marketing was secondary. Hell, without catchy tunes, Alice Cooper is Marilyn Manson, a secondary character whom everybody has heard of, but whose music most people have never HEARD! Yes, Alice had a lot of trappings, but at the core was the music. GREAT MUSIC! Classic riffs. Classic concepts.
Oh, when I heard Elected I thought of how no act today, DESPITE THE VOTE FOR CHANGE TOUR, came up with a ditty satirizing something so positively scary we almost don't want to think about it. (And, believe me, the '72 election was seen as being just as important as today's, and was just as divisive.)
School's Out, although a cartoon, showed that kids were members of a secret club. PARENTS might be afraid they were going to destroy the school, but listeners were just too cool to do this, they LIKED that the parents were paranoid.
Maybe that's the problem. It's not as easy to freak out the parents today. They want to go to the show too.
Thirty years ago, as much of a showman as Alice Cooper was, his music had MEANING! We went not only to hear the hits, but to feel the SOLIDARITY!
Hell, today's kids are best friends with their parents. We were best friends with the music. Parents have an agenda. They're trying to steer you straight, turn you into little mini-mes. Whereas the music laid it down straight. Hell, if acts laid it down straight today the parents WOULD be freaked out. To find out that their kids don't want to be doctors or lawyers, don't want to get an MBA, but would rather sit around, smoke dope, and listen to records. Telling them society is messed up, and they want to drop out and follow this ragtag bag of leaders. Hell, that's what WE did. I don't know about you, but my parents didn't want me to be in the music business. A business you've got to STRUGGLE to stay in. One with no pension plan, just forced retirement WAY before your sunset years. But I had to. You had to. We had to get closer to the power, to the truth.
And that's why today's generation doesn't want to get into the music business. There's no power and truth LEFT! If you're a revolutionary, if you want to change society as an individual, if you want to change the course of history you go to work in the TECH industry. Where renegades are accepted. And REWARDED!
If you're a kid you can't even WORK YOUR WAY UP in the music business. There's no room for you. No, the baby boomers own the business, they don't care where YOU'RE AT!
So today's kids MESS with the baby boomers. By creating Napster, by trading P2P. Yup, today rock and roll is in the DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM! P2P is Alice Cooper. And the powers-that-be DON'T LIKE IT! And maybe some twentysomething entrepreneur will figure out a way to use this distribution system to break wholly new acts, that don't fit the baby boomers' mold. Who won't pose for Us, who won't go on Today, who will refuse to be on MTV because it CHEAPENS THE ART! And if you remove the art, all you're left with is product. It's commerce, not religion.
And make no mistake, the music of yore WAS religion.
I said not a word to David during the show.
But when it was all over, he could only utter one. WOW!