Alice Cooper with Foghat and Edgar Winter at the Molson Amphitheatre, July 22. Tickets: $10-$52.40. Attendance: 8,000. Rating: NNNNRating: NNNN
You don't see Edgar Winter everyday. That's why it was so thrilling to watch him, decked out all in black, kick off a night of rock with hot performances of Free Ride, Frankenstein and Tobacco Road. He did quadruple duty, juggling percussion, a strap-on keyboard and horn while his high-pitched wail carried throughout the arena. He still rules after all these years. Even though they're probably more popular, I wish Foghat and Edgar Winter had switched places in the lineup. Foghat's brand of rock is heard often on Q107 (who sponsored the night's festivities), and watching them flawlessly perform their songs for driving, it felt like I should have been stuck in highway traffic with only Canada's Wonderland to look at. Instead, I was looking at the handsome enough but unexciting faces of Foghat. There was, however, both fog and a hat onstage, in the form of shoddy smoke-machine mist that appeared near the end of the night and a beret on the guitarist respectively.
But the night really belonged to Alice Cooper . This was evidenced by the sea of people in full makeup, even the many young children present made up to look like Alice, as well as what looked like a 100-year-old woman sporting his trademark eye makeup.
The strains of Black Juju, from his classic 1971 album, Love It To Death, opened the evening, but it was just a teaser. The Alice Cooper I enjoy is contained on that album as well as Killer, Easy Action and Billion Dollar Babies, and between theatrics that haven't really evolved but still amuse, he managed to play a lot of favourites, along with Desperado, which he performed in cowboy gear.
There was some kind of recurring theme of a Britneyesque lady trying to kick Alice's ass, getting her throat slit and returning to beat him up. It was far more entertaining when I discovered that the kung-fu lady was none other than Jessica Cooper , Alice's daughter.
His glammed-out band, featuring a Toronto native on drums, was tight, and Alice - who's starting to look like a healthy Bob Dylan - remains a pretty great showman. His new material was vaguely sketchy, mostly because it sounded like alternative rock and had references to Xboxes and DVDs, but an encore that included cheesily lovable 80s hit Poison made everybody happy. That encore was capped by two guys in suits with masks, representing Bush and Kerry, hugging. Alice just wants everybody to get along.