This past Friday, October 25th, the annual Halloweenie Roast held by Central Florida rock radio station WJRR came around to the CFE Arena in Orlando, and this year it boasted one impressive bill of artists. Renowned metal bands Pop Evil, Bullet for my Valentine, and Papa Roach were playing in support of The King of Shock Rock himself, Alice Cooper.
This of course drew a formidable sized crowd, comprised of both rock and roll fans and local college students, ready to celebrate Halloween roughly one week early. Even for those who weren’t already familiar with the opening acts, their explosive sound and crowd interaction was enough to get you jamming alongside their established fan bases.
Pop Evil opened up the show and did a formidable job at energizing the crowd, by leading the audience in throwing their fist in the air, chanting, and singing along to such selections as “Trenches” and “Last Man Standing.”
Bullet for my Valentine was next, and quickly won over the audience with their scream-infused style of thrash metal. Behind a conclave of pick grinding lead guitar and raging vocals was the group’s unforgiving percussion section, which together had the crowd screaming along the musicians onstage almost immediately.
Papa Roach similarly took over with their recognizable alternative metal style, with lead vocalist Jacoby Shaddix’s onstage antics capturing the attention of the entire audience. Halfway through the band’s set, and Shaddix jumps down from the stage and begins to walk through the crowd, ultimately making his way through the entire arena while singing along with a frantic group of Papa Roach fanatics.
As memorable as each of the opening acts were, everyone was left even more ecstatic than before when it came time for the main event to begin. A decorated banner is lifted over the stage, as sections of “The Underture” from Cooper’s 2011 studio album ‘Welcome 2 My Nightmare’ are being played through the amplifiers. The few final symphonic notes ring out into the arena, and the entire place is on their feet as the banner drops and Alice’s backing band emerges through a cloud of smoke.
Alice Cooper walks out to the front of the stage, and is greeted with an explosion of raining pyrotechnics which fall before him. “Hello! Hooray!” Alice exclaims to the audience, as he begins to tear into the ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ classic. This is immediately followed up with the 1989 ‘Trash’ hit “House of Fire,” which included some pitch perfect vocal melodies and the always captivating guitar heroics from Orianthi.
Next up in the set list was a selection off of Alice’s most recent studio effort, ‘Welcome 2 My Nightmare’: the Rolling Stones-esque “I’ll Bite Your Face Off.” “Billion Dollar Babies” showed Alice Cooper bringing out a sword filled with dollar bills and waving them out in the crowd before inevitably turning on his fellow band mates, while “No More Mr. Nice Guy” had fans amusedly laughing as Alice walked around stage with a cane at the appropriate lyrical moment.
“Hey Stoopid,” “Under My Wheels” and “Go To Hell” soon followed, all of which showcased the Alice Cooper band’s dedication to the original renditions and the rock front man’s still menacing falsetto and persona. In the middle of the performance, the entire stage darkens as Alice is once again revealed, this time donning an instantly recognizable top hat and jacket harking back to the iconic music video for “Welcome To My Nightmare.”
“Welcome to my breakdown!” Alice belts, as the rest of the band reemerges from the fog as well and tackles the song’s rhythm section. Yet another memorable moment in the show was during “Feed My Frankenstein,” where Alice is strapped down to an operating table, before disappearing after a few rocketing sparks of pyrotechnics. This of course welcomes to the return of the Frankenalice, who screams the final chorus out to the crowd while using it’s arms to swing at the onstage musicians.
Following an excellent performance of “School’s Out” which included a reprise of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2),” Alice Cooper returned onstage for an encore of “Poison,” which made the already abuzz crowd ignite into a full out frenzy!
“Every day is Halloween for us,” Alice commented. “But Happy Halloween, Orlando!” It was another successful and memorable year at the WJRR Halloweenie Roast, and hopefully will set a new tradition of holiday Alice Cooper appearances in the future.