Introducing Alice Cooper at the Whisky A Go-Go last night, Rob Zombie quipped, "I feel like I've spent the last two years giving Alice Cooper awards." Cooper has received some special ones this year, topped by his long-overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Such career celebrations are often accompanied by journeys down memory lane, which has certainly been the case for Cooper this year. He's reteamed with his original band for a couple of special performances and created Welcome 2 My Nightmare, a sequel to his classic Welcome To My Nightmare album.
Last night Cooper turned on the way-back machine, returning to the Sunset Strip stage of the Whisky for the first time since 1969, when he opened for some "little band called Led Zeppelin," he joked.
Fans included an excited Tom Morello, who said six of his first ten shows were Alice Cooper concerts. Right from the start Cooper made it clear this was no ordinary show, opening with a cover of "Train Kept A-Rollin'." The singer and his superb band, which included Australian guitarist Orianthi for most of the show, played five covers in all, including the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" and a version of the Animals' "We Gotta Get Out of This Place." Two Doors covers, "Break On Through" and "Back Door Man," featured guitarist Robby Krieger, who recalled how Cooper was blown off by Jim Morrison when the two crossed paths at the Whisky.
Cooper also celebrated his own rich musical history, reaching back for songs like "Under My Wheels," "Muscle Of Love" and "Cold Ethyl" in addition to standout versions of requisite hits such as "No More Mr. Nice Guy," "Billion Dollar Babies" and the closer, "Elected."
Cooper's massive influence is once again being celebrated by younger artists, like Ke$ha, who appears on Welcome 2 My Nightmare as the devil. "Typecasting," Cooper quipped when the singer joined him on stage for a celebratory "School's Out."
Interestingly, Cooper and his band played only one track from his new album, "I'll Bite Your Face Off." After finishing the song to great applause, Cooper joked that if it sounded like the Stones, that was intentional. On this night, though, Cooper didn't need to sound like anybody else. He was the legend of the hour.