Alice Cooper, Tesla at Common Ground Festival, Lansing


Common Ground Festival, Lansing, MI, July 2010

Ok, this is going to be a hard review to write… so it won’t be a review. I am going to write this as the mega fan that I am. Let’s be honest, I have six Alice Cooper tattoos so objectivity is out the window.

The sun was out and the heat was up. If I had to guess there were a few thousand fans at the Common Ground Festival for Alice Cooper, it was just a bonus that Tesla would be performing as well. My first stop was the merch booth. I had to get an Alice shirt. My friend’s first stop was at the beer booth. Both items were over-priced but I don’t think either of us cared (he did later when the hangover and loud music gave him a splitting headache).

As Tesla started their set we began to move like Ninjas, creeping ever closer to the front. There was no way I wasn’t going to be up front when Alice took the stage. Tesla played a great set, peppered with all of their hits like “Modernday Cowboy” and “Love Song”. I think everyone sang along with the band when they played “Signs” but then again, who doesn’t sing along when that song is played, live or over the air-waves.

By the end of Tesla’s set, we had been able to make our way all the way to the fourth row. Not good enough for me. Damn it all, I had to be closer. I figured that with the announcement that Tesla was at the merch booth for a meet n’ greet that the crowd may thin enough to move closer. I’m guessing that is what everyone else was thinking.

I swear, as Alice took the stage I felt like it was my Birthday and Christmas all rolled in one. I don’t even remember what song he opened with. We had to be closer. Undaunted by the crowd, we moved forward finally making it to the second row. Next to us was a family. The youngest had to be, maybe, 2 years old. They were all wearing the make-up. Alice and company played all of the staples flawlessly. “18”, “Poison”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, “Under My Wheels”, “Only Women Bleed” and “Cold Ethel”. What made this such a special night wasn’t the hits, everyone would have just been happy with those. It was that he played songs off of From the Inside, his 1978 album about his stay in an asylum when he was fighting alcoholism. He played the title track and “Nurse Rozetta”.

During all of this he impaled a hooded figure on stage with a mic stand, cut off his head, hung himself while in drag, and was finally himself impaled in a large box, blood spraying everywhere. During “Feed My Frankenstein” a large beast came out, attacked Alice and stole the girl.

The show ended with Alice bringing out an American flag to perform “Elected”. I’m pretty sure he could win. The final song was the great anthem, “Schools Out”. Large balloons were released over he first few rows as Alice took his sword and popped them, sending confetti all over. By far, the best Alice Cooper show I have ever seen.

If you still haven’t seen an Alice Cooper show then for the love of god man, go see him. Still, after 40 some years, Alice Cooper does it better than anyone else and you can tell that he and his band love every minute of it. As I looked on I could see a smile on drummer Jimmy Degrasso’s (Megadeth) face. Bass player Chuck Garric, who has played for Alice for four albums, was tearing it up and Damon Johnson (Brother Cane, Slave to the System) who has played for Alice on several tours, was running from one side of the stage to the next, stopping from time to time to trade words with Jimmy. I guess the fans weren’t the only ones having fun.

Most fun for your concert dollar.