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Alice Cooper still rules

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Alice Cooper AP CROP

Alice Cooper performs on the Masters of Madness Tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Monday, June 17, 2013, in Columbia, Md. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)

Alice Cooper and Halloween go together like Bing Crosby and that other big holiday. But while Mr. White Christmas has been gone for decades, No More Mr. Nice Guy continues to electrify large venues worldwide and; really, it doesn't get much better than witnessing the original ghouls-gone-wild rocker perform in late October. So, yeah, here's why you should go see Cooper this weekend at MidFlorida Amphitheatre in Tampa.

Before KISS, the New York Dolls, Marilyn Manson or even Black Sabbath shocked and rocked U.S. audiences, there was Alice Cooper, who at age 65 should still have no problem out-entertaining any of the other acts on the lineup Saturday at the latest 98ROCK Halloweenie Roast. Not only is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Cooper one of the most important and influential figures to ever sing over screaming guitars while wearing makeup, he maintains a sterling live show reputation. Plus, two years ago Cooper released the sequel to his 1975 solo debut "Welcome to My Nightmare," aptly titled "Welcome 2 My Nightmare," which pretty much everyone agrees is his best album since 1991's "Hey Stoopid."

And then there's that stage show. Cooper became a super star with killer songs that were soon augmented with a house of horrors stage presentation replete with a guillotines, electric chairs, boa constrictors, baby dolls and fake blood that actually frightened. By the time of the landmark 1973 "Billion Dollar Babies" tour in support of the classic album of the same name, the Alice Cooper band, as it was known back then, put on the scariest show in rock 'n' roll.

Spooky, violent, awesome-sounding songs such as "Sick Things," "Dead Babies" and "I Love the Dead" were performed alongside the relatively tamer "Hello Hooray," "Elected" and "Eighteen." Cooper worked the crowd all the while like a prima divo in a spectacularly deranged opera. There was nothing else like it.

The Alice Cooper band broke-up shortly after "Billion Dollar Babies" and the singer adopted the group's name. While writing and recording songs that could've been hits for Sinatra (seriously, check out 1977's "You and Me"), Cooper retained his shock rock crown by maintaining the menacing live show that still thrills audiences today. Credit plenty of props, dark drama, and, most important, an underrated catalog of great, timeless, hard rock songs. Also, Cooper has a wicked sense of humor. Check out his winning 2012 performance of "I'm Eighteen" at Bonnarroo. Cooper's performing with a crutch.

98ROCK Halloweenie Roast with Alice Cooper, Bullet for My Valentine, Black Veil Brides, Papa Roach, Pop Evil and Heaven's Basement; 3 p.m. Saturday (October 26); MidFlorida Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. Hwy. 301, Tampa; $29.98-$160 (VIP); (800) 745-3000; livenation.com.

98ROCK Halloweenie Roast with Alice Cooper, Bullet for My Valentine, Black Veil Brides, Papa Roach, Pop Evil and Heaven's Basement; 3 p.m. Saturday (October 26); MidFlorida Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. Hwy. 301, Tampa; $29.98-$160 (VIP); (800) 745-3000; livenation.com.

Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo has been an entertainment reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: October 28, 2013
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