Legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper to ‘Trash’ The Ryman

What can be said about Alice Cooper that hasn’t already been said?

Since 1970 the venerable shock rocker has produced a stunning 28 albums and two collections and some of the most recognizable hits of the past four decades and according to Cooper he’s just now hitting his stride and he’s hardly joking. With a touring schedule that is taking his band, his crew and himself cross-country and encompassing two separate tours—Cooper’s own and that of the Rolling Stones with whom Cooper is sharing the stage for a large number of the Stones’ dates—an average of one new album each year (Cooper has put out four out of the past five and plans on returning to the studio in January with a projected spring release of the new material) and a fiercely loyal fan base that obsessively follows the Great Showman’s every move Alice Cooper shows no signs of letting up for even the briefest of seconds.

“I'm in better shape now than I was when I was 28,” the now 58 year-old Cooper admitted in a phone interview with O&AN while taking a brief break from touring.

“I never smoked cigarettes so I feel like that is one big advantage I have in my life. I quit drinking 25 years ago. My lifestyle allows me to live pretty much stress free so when I get on stage and I'm able to go full speed through the full hour and 45 minutes and a lot of audiences are just blown away that I can do it.”

For most rockers of Cooper’s protracted experience that would be enough, but Alice Cooper has never been one to pass up the opportunity to up the ante when it presents itself. Anyone who has ever witnessed the spectacle that is a full-tilt Alice Cooper extravaganza will tell you that it is a visceral, thrill-a-minute ride-of-your-life theatric experience set to the hits and misses of the last thirty-plus years of Cooper’s career that will stick with you long after the show is ended.

The setting of the Ryman Auditorium for the show is genius on a couple of levels. First, Alice Cooper is a living legend and seeing him perform at the Ryman is something of a piece of history being made. More importantly, there is scarcely a bad seat in the house which perfectly suits an Alice Cooper show. There is an incredible amount of depth and detail in the presentation that would easily be lost in a larger venue like the GEC or AmSouth. That being the case, if you have seats in the first ten rows it’s advisable to leave your best clothes at home for the evening. As far as what Alice Cooper material will be used during the show expect to hear a mixture of all (that’s right, every one) of the hits as well as a few theatrical pieces and some newer material.

“There is not one bit of the show that does not have a theatrical element in it,” Cooper explained with excitement in his voice. He clearly enjoys what he does more than just a little. “As the show moves toward its end more and more theatrical elements are added one right after the other barely giving the audience a second to catch up before moving on to the next. By the end of the show everything has become full-on Vaudeville with balloons full of confetti exploding overhead after everyone is already covered in blood. Expect to see the guillotine and straightjackets make an appearance. There’s a lot to digest in the show. It could be described as a lunatic’s Halloween Party.”

Indeed, Cooper goes on to remind our readers that we are going into Halloween season and everyone is expected to show up for the show appropriately dressed.

“I try and remind people as much as possible that rock music is supposed to be fun,” Cooper elaborates, “If I have to use shock value, drama or comedy, it doesn't matter to me. I'll do whatever it takes to make sure that people have a great time and beg for more when it's over.”

Alice Cooper will be performing at the Ryman Auditorium on Saturday, September 30 with Crash Kelly opening the show. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 615.255.9600 or by visiting www.ryman.com

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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