On October 6, 2016, the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper group played a surprise reunion set at Good Records in Dallas, Texas. Two songs from that show, “I’m Eighteen” and “Is It My Body,” will be made available this Friday (Nov. 25) as part of Record Store Day’s Black Friday as a seven-inch vinyl record entitled ‘Live from the Astroturf.’
Our good friend, photographer Mark Bowman was lucky enough to be in attendance that night – his live photograph is used for the single’s gatefold foil inside cover photo – and shares his memories of that historic night below. You can get full details on ‘Live from the Astorturf,’ which is being released in a variety of vinyl colors, at the official Record Store Day site.
I witnessed a rock and roll miracle last year. At a book signing by Alice Cooper Group bass player Dennis Dunaway, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame reunion broke out just inches from my face. As a longtime rock photographer from Texas, I feel kind of like I’ve “seen it all” at this stage. But what transpired in Dallas that night, as orchestrated by Good Records owner & Polyphonic Spree “guru” Christopher Todd Penn, was the equivalent of seeing a UFO land in a parking lot, as we all time traveled to a universe left behind.
As one lucky attendee noted, “It was like seeing AND hearing science fiction.” For me personally, it was like seeing the almighty Wizard Of Oz, complete with the flames and the booming voice. I could not believe or take my eyes off what I was taking in. The tightness and power of the Phoenix high school chums was shocking. I had waited 42 years to see these four guys play classic Alice Cooper Group songs together, and didn’t think I would ever see it again. It revived my faith in the most elusive of goals in the genre – true magic, musical chemistry and perceptible mystery created in the spirit of rock and roll.
“Going into ‘I’m Eighteen’ for the third song, it was apparent this version of the Alice Cooper Group is the kind that is never seen in public,” raved Dallas Observer reporter Eric Grubbs. “There were no snakes, chickens, pillow feathers, confetti, or guillotines; it was simply Detroit-styled R&B, garage rock and blues filtered through the Beatles, the Yardbirds, the Rolling Stones and Frank Zappa.”
I recently heard a passionate music fan state, “One of the great rock and roll crimes of the ’70s was the breakup of the original Alice Cooper Group at the height of their career in 1974″. I was one of those impressionable “baby boomer” kids that totally embraced the Alice Cooper Group, led by manager Shep Gordon and inspired by the sonic direction and wizardry of their longtime engineer Bob Ezrin.
Well, miracles continue to occur in 2016, because the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper Group – Michael Bruce, Alice Cooper, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith (along with guitarist Ryan Roxie filling in for the late lead guitarist, Glen Buxton) are releasing the first vinyl disc of recorded work since 1974.
Making this news even more amazing is the fact that Bob Ezrin, for the first time since he masterminded 1973’s Billion Dollar Babies, was at the helm of the engineering desk once again for this new live vinyl disc. Word has it that when Ezrin heard the quality of the soundboard recordings from the Dallas show, he appealed to Shep Gordon and the members of the Alice Cooper Group to let him perform his magic. The sum of these collaborative efforts produced this amazing release containing two songs from 1971’s groundbreaking Love It To Death – “I’m Eighteen” and “Is It My Body?” Wait till you get your hands (and ears) on this baby!
Live from the Astroturf Doublewide Foil Gatefold Inside Cover PhotoMark Bowman Images
Acclaimed rock photographer Mark Bowman has spent over four decades chronicling priceless onstage and backstage moments from some of the genre’s biggest legends, including Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and the Who. You can check out much more of Mark’s excellent work at MarkBowmanImages.com.
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