Even the architect of shock rock himself could sustain a career for only so long if it were based solely on outrageous stage theatrics and gimmickry. Ultimately, it’s a catalog containing some of the greatest teenage anthems of all time that has kept Cooper entertaining audiences for more than 40 years.
Sure, there was plenty of macabre vaudeville and nightmarish spectacle during the tightly crafted show: A shower of sparks rained down across the stage for opener “Hello Hooray”; Cooper wielded a money-bearing sword during “Billion Dollar Babies,” was bound in a straitjacket before “Ballad of Dwight Fry,” had a boa constrictor draped around him for “Devil’s Food,” and was strapped to an operating table and “transformed” into a giant monstrosity in “Feed My Frankenstein.” The band’s three-guitar lineup was highlighted by Australian hottie Orianthi, who provided a perfect foil for Cooper during songs such as “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” and “Hey Stoopid” while also showing off her virtuosity.
This being the Raise the Dead tour, Cooper, 64, paid tribute to some of his fallen friends with sincere renditions of “Break on Through (to the Other Side),” “Revolution,” “Foxy Lady” and “My Generation” as tombstones for Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and Keith Moon were shown on the backdrop. Following the flurry of “I’m Eighteen,” “Under My Wheels” and “Poison,” Cooper closed with the timeless “School’s Out,” weaving a bit of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” into it. Unlike at most veteran bands’ concerts with a seated floor, the audience chose to stand for the entire 90-minute show, demonstrating that even on the verge of being eligible for Social Security, Cooper is still capable of instilling teenage rebellion and youthful spirit into his aging fan base. And that never gets old. ★★★★☆