Gig/Concert: The Gruesome Twosome tour featuring Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper
Venue: Stampede Corral, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Date: 29 April 2010
In One Word: Monstrous
I had seen Alice Cooper twice and I had seen Rob Zombie twice, never together, never had I fathomed such awesomeness to occur under one roof. I only heard legends of these two beasts meeting briefly, myths and old wives tales, I thought. But lo, I did not expect these legends and myths to rather be prophesies that would mark the day of reckoning in Calgary. April 29th, it happened, these rock gods came together to charge Calgary with horrific energy. Due to a confusion with one of the event coordinators, I was not able to photograph this, but I will do the best I can to describe the horror I saw.
To kick off this double feature horror show was Alice Copper. Starting with “School’s Out”, he sung all his greats, including “Poison” and “No More Mister Nice Guy”, each delivered with a sweet passion that sparked the audience to join in and beg for more. The transitions from one song to the next were smooth, and seemed well thought out. The musicians in Alice’s band were great and matched Alice’s performance, they were to Alice as hellhounds to Satan, viscously barking and snarling at the audience for obedience and respect for their leader.
As for his theatrics, he out did himself this time. He took the audience on a journey through his insanity (which, I might add, involved several swanky outfits) by featuring some of his mad cap antics. Fighting with the stage hands and a sexy nurse, there were multiple murders committed both by Alice (strangulation and impalement) and to Alice (guillotine, giant syringe, hanging, and impalement by giant spikes), the most deaths I had ever seen in an Alice Cooper show. He stabbed confetti filled balloons with a sword, threw out bead necklaces and faux money. The show was so dynamic and exciting that it felt as though if you looked away for a second you would miss something big.
Up next, Rob Zombie and his demonic military, featuring Joey Jordison of Slipknot. His show was a startling look into Americana, featuring visual clips from shows like “The Munsters” and “House of 1000 Corpses”, pyrotechnics and the giant robot from “The Phantom Creeps”. The scraggly and ragged looking Rob Zombie used creepy props like a giant clawed monster arm, a bone filled crucifix and deformed skeletons. These visuals emphasized elements and themes heard in his songs, things like death, freaks and his interpretation of the American way.
As for the quality of the performance, well, you can tell a Rob Zombie show is good when the floor audience becomes so packed to the front that you can lift up your feet and not fall (I quickly became second from the front of the standing crowd when the girls in front of me could not take the pressure and had to have security pull them out, totally awesome). Each song growled out of the band with a fierce, dark energy that they would not let die down. Rob Zombie egged and abused the crowd to be more energetic and when he came and visited the audience, John 5 beckoned forth dark and beautiful noises in a solo to keep the masses alive. Rob also encouraged girls to get on the shoulders of audience members to become more visible and to start a girl mosh pit.
This double feature was quite an experience. They complimented each other, for the most part, quite well. There was a bit of a gap in the kind of target audience that they reached, Alice Cooper aimed for a calmer audience who were more prepared to watch an insane play, while Rob Zombie aimed for a more energetic group, who he could verbally abuse. It was neat seeing these crowds together when I came into the building, and I could feel the difference when my ribs were crushed during Rob Zombie. I was a little surprised that they did not actually do anything together. However, with all this being said, they are both vicious, psychotic rock and roll monsters and I really enjoyed myself. If this two come to your town, either together or separately, see them… SEE THEM!!
© Lindsay Goodwin, Music Vice