Category Archives: Alice Cooper

Queensryche/Alice Cooper/Heaven & Hell @ The Selland Arena, Fresno CA 10/02/07 \m/\m/

Talk about one hell of a line-up, and in the Central Valley to boot. Honestly, I was more interested in seeing Queensryche and Heaven & Hell, but it was the immortal Alice Cooper that stole the show, sneaking away the headliner’s thunder. Unfortunately, we arrived late for QR’s set, they were wrapping up Eyes of a Stranger as we arrived and found our seats. I had caught QR in 2005 and was more than satisfied with that experience, so I wasn’t too disappointed about missing them. Alice Cooper’s set began and man, the first 15 minutes left me awe-struck and stunned. The songs were rockin’ but catchy, radio-friendly anthemic metal. He kept hitting us with his classic material, boom boom boom, one track after another. “It’s Hot Tonight” melted into “No More Mr. Nice Guy” without missing a beat. Rather naively, I thought to myself ‘holy shit, the man IS great!” More great tracks followed, “Under My Wheels” and “Eighteen” continued the relentless rock fest. More classics followed, one after another, then finally with a bombastic finish “Billion Dollar Babies” and “Poison.” Alice is the same age as Ozzy Osbrourne, but Alice still has all his mobility and mental faculties (sorry, Ozzy). Alice strutted and commanded on that stage. His production was awesome, the stage setup, the props, the morbid yet campy theatrical aspect, it was all great and reflected his more than solid reputation in the metal world. He practically played a full set, 15 or 16 songs in all. This was one heck of a show and the ‘headliners’ hadn’t performed yet.

It’s Hot Tonight
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Is It My Body
Feed My Frankenstein
Halo Of Flies
Welcome To My Nightmare
Only Women Bleed
Dead Babies
Ballad Of Dwight Fry
Devil’s Food / Killer / I Love The Dead
School’s Out
Billion Dollar Babies

The intermission occurred and then Heaven & Hell took the stage to a welcoming salute from the Fresno crowd, it was a loud welcome with plenty of \m/\m/ in the air. The tone of this set was vastly different than Alice’s set. H&H presented darker, sludgier, and less accessible metal in comparison to Alice or even Queensryche for that matter. The set seemed shorter in comparison to Alice’s set. It was loud as hell, probably the loudest show I’ve ever attended. I forgot my ear protection. Consequently, my ears rang for the following three days, scared the hell out of me. Iommi’s guitar kept getting louder and louder! It was a serious set, lacking in the tongue-in-cheek fun that was present during Alice’s set. The Dio led Black Sabbath continued the dark, occult imagery and down tuned stylings of classic Black Sabbath, but with a twist. That twist was the legendary Ronnie James Dio. While original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne was the voice of Black Sabbath, it was Ronnie James Dio that was the voice of Metal.  \m/\m/

Dio had major success with Rainbow as well as with his own band, having released a multitude of classic metal recordings. It is not widely known that Dio became the successor to Ozzy Osbourne who was fired from Sabbath in the late 70s. For this anniversary tour, to avoid a legal dispute with Osbourne, the band chose to use the moniker Heaven & Hell, named after their first album recorded with Ronnie James Dio. Dio as a frontman is so different than Ozzy Osbourne. While Osbourne cursed, yelled and sneered at the audience, Dio approached the crowds with a classy demeanor, always complimented the audience, never yelled or screamed at the audience, and was simply a gentleman metal-head. His voice was instantly recognizable, powerful, sweet at times when he crooned, and thunderous when he got into the metal head-space, and the man was only 5’4”!!! While short in stature, he commanded the audience like a 10 foot tall metal god. Sadly, Ronnie James Dio would pass away from stomach cancer a few years later in May of 2010. I felt privileged to see him perform while he was still alive. It’s quite something being able to see the most influential voices of metal live. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, Rob Halford of Judas Priest, and Geoff Tate of Queensryche. Dio is still the king. RIP.

The Mob Rules
Children of the Sea
The Sign of the Southern Cross
Computer God
Falling Off the Edge of the World
Die Young
Heaven and Hell
Neon Knights