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Friday, August 26, 2005

rock on

When the schedule for wolf Trap Park for the performing arts came out back in the spring, my live music junkie buddy called and we reviewed the list of offerings as always..not much this year I wanted to see as opposed to years past when I would find myself there once or twice a month. As we went down the list, one unusual offering struck my eye and I agreed to go in on a block of tickets..Cheap trick and Alice Cooper two of the hardest rocking bands of my misspent youth. Seemed like a good idea at the time. As I sat on the beltway last evening,tired,a little grouchy in the stop and go traffic, trying to peer around the endless line if 7 story SUV’s to get some idea of when traffic would break. I silently ..Okay not so silently ,cursed myself for buying tickets to an aging rock star show. Over the past few years I ve been to several of these dinosaur reunions only to discover they just don’t have it anymore..cant hit the notes..beach boys,meatloaf,crosby stills and nash, or the only member of the original band is some dna from a hair caught in a guitar string..Ala skynard or little feat. I was stuck in traffic, out 200 bucks for tickets and had entirely too much blood in my alcohol system for the whole thing. Arrived at wolf trap( a world class summer venue offering a great variety of summer shows..everything from a cole prter review to ..well..Alice Cooper), secured a location in the super double top secret quick escape parking lot, popped a becks out of the cooler and begin to correct the chemical imbalance that had me snarling at the leather clad grandmas heading for the show with face painted grandkids, sniveling little brats done in coopers mascara and tears get up when they should be home listening to barney sing I love you. I waited for my fellow aging rocker buddy…one of the most musically aware guys I ve ever known, a walking rock and roll encyclopedia but at 46, fresh from a stent implant, overweight and starting to be follicly challenged he looked the part of a ex rocker trying to recapture the 70’s.The beer was helping but I cant say I was looking forward to the rest of the evening. Sometimes, I m just wrong. Cheap trick came out. They may be 50 but this is still the band you want playing your kegger. Rick Neilson no longer wears the beanie propeller hat and his trademark jumps are now only 6 inches instead of the two feet he used to leap while playing..But he can still play. In his familair suit and tennis shoes, he bantered with the crowd, flirted with women in the front row and hit some of the hottest guitar licks in rock and roll. Pederson on his patented 12 string bass still lays down a thundering back beat, bun e carlos still has licks and robin zanders voice hasn’t changed in 30 years. They were always one of the best live bands and they haven’t lost it at all. Surrender, want you to want me,flame..they hit them all and if I closed my eyes it could be the late 70s at the old Baltimore Civic Center..absent of curse the old familiar hemp scented cloud that was a trademark of live shows in the less regulated days of my yute. Okay, not bad as we filed up for the mandatory intermission beer refill, that was worth it. We ll suffer through whatever weak effort cooper puts up and the night will still be worth it. Sometimes Im wrong twice in one day. This cooper show was far better than the ones I saw 30 years ago. Although seeing a 57 yr old open the show with department of youth Aah ah we're the department of youth just me and youth We talk about this whole stupid world and still come out laughing ha ha Was a little disconcerting but his road band was young, played very tight licks and coopers voice is if anything stronger than ever grinding out his dark vocals.. This show was classic Alice Cooper..Wears a straight jacket during the ballad of Dwight fryer, is whipped and slashed during go to hell, hits the youth anthems of 18 and stuck between high school and old school I`m stuck somewhere between high school and old school I can`t decide between my rules and your rules Nails the raw powerfully dirty sexuality of feed my Frankenstein and lace and whiskey (something of a Chesapeake slim anthem and them song So I yell out for some kind of angel To come down and rescue me Be as soft as you can Put a drink in my hand I'm as scared as I ever could be Gimme lace and whiskey Mamas home remedy Double indemnity Fills me with ecstasy La-aa-aace and whiskey ) It was all there. Well played loud rock and roll. Themes of sex,violence and the dark side incarnate. He is guillotined to death at the end and emerges reincarnated in silks and top hat for the encore. The only sure way to tell he had aged was during band intros when he introduced the demon nymph that prowled the stage with whips and knives and very little clothing(god, I love rock and roll), at one point slashing alices throat with a disdainful sneering smile, we discovered it was his 20 something year old daughter. The us tour is just kicking off and all dates thought sept include both acts..the best tour schedule is on cheap trick .com. If you ve got a little rock and roll left in you.. Catch this one

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