Happy 67th birthday to Vincent Furnier, better know as Alice Cooper. I have a long history with the king of shock-rock, beginning in the early ’70s when he played his first concert here at the old Electric Theatre. His gig at the Civic Arena on December 27, 1971, broke the venue’s attendance record previously set by Grand Funk Railroad.
Alice was the second act I ever booked at Three Rivers Stadium, following Three Dog Night in 1971. Outdoor arena concerts were virtually unheard of at that time, and staging the mega-event was one of the biggest and most challenging ordeals of my career. Alice and his support acts, Humble Pie and Uriah Heep, were slated to perform on June 23, 1972, but Hurricane Agnes had other plans.
On the day of the show, Alice and I were stuck together in his Hilton Hotel room as the city flooded. Our conversation fell far from what you would think, considering his stage persona at that time. He was a really down to earth guy. We mostly discussed the stock market and the political times. I quite enjoyed him. By the end of the day we had faced the inevitable: the concert would have to be cancelled.
We re-booked the event for July 11 and he played a very successful show. In fact, he broke the attendance record for a Pittsburgh rock concert, which was set by Three Dog Night at the stadium the previous summer.
I brought Alice back to Pittsburgh many more times. I always enjoyed working with him and his long-time manager Shep Gordon, who was a real character. Last year, actor/director Mike Meyers produced a documentary about the famous manager, called “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.” It’s highly entertaining and I recommend it.
The photo above of Alice and me was taken at Stage AE in Pittsburgh a few years ago. You can read more about my encounters with him and the staging of the infamous 1972 concert in my book “Hard Days Hard Nights.” Click here to buy it on Amazon.com.