Original shock rocker Alice Cooper took his unique brand of theatrical rock on the road once again this past summer in order to promote his recent live album, A Fistful of Alice. Recorded at Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo Cantina in Mexico in front of an audience of 300, the live album includes old hits and new songs.
For the tour, three bands (Dokken, Warrant, and Slaughter) opened for Cooper, but all used LD Ralph Ferreri's lighting rig. "We basically had PAR cans and 12 [Vari*Lite(R)] VL6(TM) [automated luminaires], as well as floor lights, cyc lights, two truss spots, and two front-of-house spots," Ferreri says. "There was nothing really intricate--it's just a basic, straight-ahead rock show. We did it as simply as possible, because there were so many other bands that we needed to get it up and down really quickly."
Ferreri has worked with Cooper on and off since 1990. "This year the whole vibe was supposed to be like a defunct circus carnival that hasn't been working for a few years," Ferreri explains. "We had a lot of the guys dressed up in clown outfits, and they would torment Alice through the whole show--throw things at him, just constantly annoy him. The best place to see his show is in a theatre; the audience should be up close because there's so much going on. But all in all, everything worked out pretty well."
The LD hung rope lights that extended across the front, middle, and rear truss to add to the carnival look. Tour prop master Bob Phaup and production manager Tom Hamlin designed the set. "We also had different colored bulbs draped out into the audience," Ferreri says. "There was a little podium that Alice came out to sing from and the backdrop had a carnival theme."
Concert Production Lighting and Vari-Lite, Inc. supplied the tour's lighting. Ferreri's lighting crew included lighting crew chief Steve "Creech" Anderson and Vari*Lite programmer/operator Jim Fitzpatrick. "I ran a Celco Gold 90-channel, and Jim ran a mini-Artisan(R) console," Ferreri says. "It worked out really well. About two weeks into the tour we were both really in synch together. We complemented each other really well."
Cooper is now back in the studio working on a new record. "No one knows how long Alice will keep going. He's like the Energizer Bunny," Ferreri says. "We're hoping that maybe he'll get a hit or two on the charts, and then we can go out again next summer with a full-on show, and a lot more theatrical props."