Denim and leather were the style Sunday when the Scorpions and Alice Cooper hit the Wolf Mountain amphitheatre in the first gala of the resort's summer concert series.
For a few short hours, the '80s power chords, rich soaring vocals and rock theatrics were there for the taking. And by the sound of the screaming audience, no one would have guessed heavy metal stumbled a few short years ago.Vincent Furnier, also known as Alice Cooper, riled the crowd for a good hour in a set that featured a retrospect of his '70s and '80s heyday.
Opening with "Under My Wheels," and ending with the tongue-in-cheek patri(psych)otic "Elected," Cooper's band - drummer Jimmy DeGrasso, keyboardist Paul Taylor, bassist Todd Jensen and guitarists Ryan Roxie and Reb Beach - also plowed into "Billion Dollar Babies."
Early hits such as "I'm Eighteen" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy" had older members of the audience singing and headbanging, while the poppy, metal-lite anthem "Poison" and the hyperbole of "Lost in America" slapped around the younger fans.
The rock-theater pioneer paced the stage with "Feed My Frankenstein," the progressive "Only Women Bleed," "Welcome to My Nightmare" and "Schools Out." The props of the evening included whips, fake money skewered on sabres, masked presidential figures, asylum curators, straight jackets and confetti-filled balloons.
During "Gutter Cat Vs. the Jets," Cooper and his band theatrically confronted a rowdy street gang (bored backstage roadies). The sight of chains and baseball bats drew laughs and high fives throughout the crowd. But those items dated the tune. These days Uzis and assault rifles are chic.
The Scorpions proved good music stands the test of time. Not a lot of gimmicks, but a bucketload of hits - rockers and ballads - drew headbanging and flickering cigarette lighters.
Vocalist Klaus Meine, bassist Ralph Rieckermann, new drummer James Kottak - formerly with Kingdom Come - and guitarists Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker seemed to blast onto the stage for a rousing rendition of "Please Me Tease Me."
From there the hits just rolled off the fret boards. There was "Bad Boys Running Wild," "Big City Nights," "The Zoo" and the driving "Alien Nation." An acoustic set included "Holiday" and "Winds of Change." Newer tunes such as "Stone In My Shoe" and "Oh, Girl (I Wanna Be With You)" brought freshness to the Scorpions style.
The band was older but hadn't lost its edge. Schenker and Jabs teamed for some grueling power rhythms and separated during their individual (but still complementary) leads. Kottak wasted no time introducing himself and fitting in. Though he spun sticks like a graduate from the Tommy Lee school of stick tricks, Kottak's drumming was exceptional, powerful and dead on to former skin smacker Herman Rarebell.
"Wild Child," "Still Loving You" and "Rock You Like a Hurricane" comprised the encore.
Opening the show was the three man newcomer My Head. Looking straight at the sun, the band blasted its own metal mixed with modern grit. "Carnasaur," "Point of View" and "I Don't Want Nothing" won the crowd, which treated My Head to screams of approval. Good job, guys.