In Merrillville, IN, USA, July 15, 2006

Alice Cooper, still in support of his 2005 Dirty Diamonds release (at least loosely), has again hit North American shores in the summer of 2006. Merrillville, Indiana, and the Star Theater served as the host for the July 15th show.

The ageless Alice Cooper (Alice), now in Rock ‘N’ Roll for 40 years (more or less), continues to work harder than ever at a truly amazing pace. At this point, Alice works his daily syndicated 5-hour radio show (Nights With Alice Cooper) 5 nights per week, continues to put out a fairly steady stream of albums, and has been touring (nearly) non-stop for over a year. Throw in a daily 4 or 5 hour round of golf each morning, and Alice has totally dispelled the adage “Youth is wasted on the youth.” Energy, vigor, and enthusiasm at the forefront, Rock ‘N’ Roll needs Alice Cooper as much as Alice Cooper needs Rock ‘N’ Roll as his lifelong vocation.

For those who may have caught the Alice Cooper Show hot off the heels of the Dirty Diamonds release, there’s no need to hesitate when making your decision on whether or not it’s worth your while to see Alice again on the tour’s second North American leg. Alice has modified the set list just enough to make the entire show feel fresh and unique … and, of course, if you didn’t get a chance to witness this tour the first time around, by all means check it out, because Alice and his supporting band haven’t performed this well for at least 15 years.

The show was kicked off in powerful (perhaps surprising) fashion with the entire band coming out wearing plain white masks … an emotionless, eerie look that complemented Alice’s always majestically creepy entrance onto the stage … to the song “Wicked Young Man,” a song written by Alice in the wake of the Columbine High School Massacre. After this, other than 2 somewhat obligatory visits to the latest album in “Dirty Diamonds” and “Woman Of Mass Distraction,” Alice took the audience on a trip down memory lane by performing hit after hit after hit. A few classics that were resurrected included “You Drive Me Nervous” from 1972’s Killer, “Guilty” from Goes To Hell, and “Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills” from the underrated From The Inside album.

The enthusiastic audience, an interesting mix of gray-haired 50-somethings all the way down to their pre-teen offspring (and everything in-between), sat in the palm of Alice’s hand throughout the show. Alice Cooper has never lost his undeniable charisma on stage … his ability to engage the audience and keep them totally involved in the show has certainly been one of the main reasons behind his longevity. In fact, he may be the best ever at looping his concert worshippers into his performance – a nice development that is emerging now too is that Alice’s band is taking a more active role in the stage production, especially guitarist Damon Johnson, who is well on his way to developing a first-rate stage presence. Alice’s daughter, Calico Cooper, also appears to be gaining comfort (and importance) in the stage production, adding generous amounts of spice and pizzazz to the “darker” side of the Alice Cooper Show, yet maintaining elements of fun and artistic beauty in her performance.

The show was essentially divided into 2 parts, with the first section focused on cranking out the hits. A drum solo after the instrumental “Black Widow” wove the web, so to speak, for the second and theatrical section, where a very naughty Alice (Steven) — snake and all –- welcomes you to his psychotic nightmare, and eventually meets his horrific death via the edge of the Madame Guillotine blade, only to be resurrected to perform the audience favorite “School’s Out.”

All in all, this was a remarkably entertaining show with a superb set list by a true master of his trade, supported by a band that truly seems to be coming into its own. If you haven’t taken in the Alice Cooper Show before, or if it’s been a number of years since your last Alice concert, by all means, catch this tour if/when it makes its way to your area … and, even if you caught the 2005 leg of this tour, it’s worth seeing again due to the modified set list! Bravo, Alice … Bravo.


Wicked Young Man * No More Mr. Nice Guy * Dirty Diamonds * Billion Dollar Babies * Be My Lover * Lost In America * Guilty * I Never Cry * Woman Of Mass Distraction * I’m Eighteen * You Drive Me Nervous * Is It My Body? * Goes To Hell * Black Widow (instrumental followed by a drum solo) * Feed My Frankenstein * Welcome To My Nightmare * The Awakening * Steven * Only Women Bleed * Ballad Of Dwight Fry * Killer * I Love The Dead * School’s Out * Poison * I Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills * Under My Wheels

Opening Act

A late addition to the ticket for the evening was the band The Vacation, signed to American Records, from Los Angeles, California. Musically, the band had a cool sound similar to the aggressive side of The Doors, with a few modern Punk/Sleaze Rock elements. With a jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers look, the band further drove home the retro look by using no wireless technology … the microphones all were corded, as were the guitars to the amps. Interesting. The crowd tried to get into The Vacation throughout the show, but unfortunately front man Ben Tegel’s antics on stage were too over-the-top for this audience to handle, especially from a band that probably no one had heard of prior to this show. In a nutshell, Tegel just seemed to take himself too damn seriously, attempting to pull off moves, emotion, and demeanor on stage reminiscent of Jim Morrison and Iggy Pop. It just didn’t work and lacked credibility … too bad.


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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