ABC kicked off its first In Concert, pre-empting the Dick Cavett Show, on November 24, 1972, featuring performances taped a few weeks earlier at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. On the bill was the Senior General of Rock, Bo Diddley, acoustic duo Seals and Croft, R&B man Curtis Mayfield and for the opening act, shock rocker Alice Cooper.
Rock fans in Cincinnati, however, didn’t get to see beyond the first few minutes of Alice’s violent theatrics. Lawrence H. Rogers II was so mortified by what he saw that he ordered the ABC affiliate he owned, WKRC-TV Channel 12, to yank the show off the air immediately. Channel 12’s decision to protect its viewers was responded to within minutes with a phoned-in bomb threat and several car loads of youths picketing the station. Some 4,000 letters of protest, many profane, poured in over the next few days, the biggest mail load that station officials could remember. Station manager Ro Grignon told TV Guide that he wasn’t opposed to rock concerts. “In fact, we think they’re going to be a smashing success. We simply found Alice Cooper a little tense.”
Meanwhile, the ABC affiliate in Kingsport, Tennessee complained to the network about the performance but ran it nonetheless. WPVI-TV Channel 6 in Philadelphia ran the show on tape delay at 1:30 a.m. Channel 12 in Cincinnati later televised an edited version of the show, sans Alice, to give viewers a chance to enjoy the other, less offensive acts that were on the show. The next In Concert show was sent to affiliate managers via closed-circuit for approval before broadcast The Footage starts with ‘Eighteen’ and shots of Alice struggling to get to the stage through the audience, the police pulling him through the crowd, seemingly by his hair at times. The song proper starts with Alice lying on the stage in front of Dennis before sitting with his legs hanging off the front of the stage to sing the song. Eventually he stands up and plays to the camera a bit, swigging from a beer bottle before conducting the final fanfare by pointing to each band member as they play their final three note motif. An advert break followed before Dennis is seen picking out the opening bass notes to ‘Gutter Cat Vs The Jets’. Alice throws around a trash can before starting the lyrics lying across it for the second verse.and wielding a nasty looking switchblade which he teases Dennis` hair with. Then it`s into the taped backing of ‘Streetfight’ as Neal leaps over the front of his drums and attacks Alice in a very realistic fight scene, with them both wielding switchblades. Neal is victorious and plays to the audience before Alice creeps up and takes him out from behind. Dennis starts the intro to ‘Killer’. If what had already been seen wasn`t enough, this is where the band really blow you away. Alice moves around the stage, seemingly dazed after his fight before snapping out of it and snarling the words at the camera. He kneels at the front of the stage, playing off the audience. The gallows sequence begins with Alice begging the audience “I didn’t want to get involved in this”. He seems to go limp, as if resigned to his fate before the military drum rolls announcie the appearance of the gallows. Alice is dragged kicking and screaming up the steps and his head is placed in the noose by Glen as Dennis, in vicars outfit now, reads from a prayer book. A crash of thunder and Alice drops. Stunning. The footage then cuts quickly into ‘School’s Out’ with Alice in top hat and tails and bubbles floating across the stage. He`s right up against the front rows of the audience, interacting and egging them on. The balloons appear as Alice teases the front rows with posters which he throws into the audience while showing the evilest grin you could ever imagine as they tear each other apart trying to secure a poster. He sings the chorus to camera before encouraging everybody to sing along. And then it`s over. A tour-de-force that shows just how good the original band were at that stage. It`s criminal that the footage has never been officially release. Hopefully one day someone will see the light and release it.
Alice Cooper RARE LIVE DVD 1969 to 1972
Segments from a RARE 4 hour / 2 disk DVD set!
An awesome compilation of early footage of the great original ALICE COOPER BAND.
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Contains: Stone Pony 1970, Detroit Tubeworks 1971, Medicine Ball Caravan 1971, Beat Club 1972, Rock-a-Bye 1972, Toronto Pop Festival 1969, France 1972, “In Concert” show 1972, Cincinnati Pop Festival 1970 & more!