By Patty Fantasia
Photos by Patty Fantasia
Alice Cooper Performs at the Bowery NYC Store Opening at the Hard Rock

Most guys who have a night off might watch TV or catch a movie, but Alice Cooper performed a free mini concert on October 22nd helping fashion designer, John Varvatos celebrate his recently opened Bowery NYC store inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.  The original Bowery establishment, which is in Manhattan, is the home of underground music club CBsGBs and has developed a reputation for hosting rock concerts featuring both up and coming and established artists.  The Las Vegas store is carrying on the tradition, beginning with the grand opening performance by Cheap Trick in late September and now with this special live event featuring rock icon Cooper.
Alice Cooper

While fans lined up against the wall outside the store, celebrity guests including musicians the Kropp Circle Band and Goldy Rox and photographer Robert Knight posed on the red carpet.  The anticipation was palpable as the audience visited the two bars set up at either end of the store and squeezed into their standing room only positions, while eagerly awaiting the arrival of Cooper and his four member band consisting of three guitarists and a drummer. Following an introduction by Varvatos Cooper and company took to the stage and then the decibel level climbed as Alice kicked off the 8 song set with “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. The delighted filled to capacity crowd cheered, some clutching Alice Cooper fan masks in front of them.  He sang for approximately half an hour, long enough to perform a number of favorites, but not enough to satisfy cravings for more of his hits.  It was rock and roll’s version of foreplay, a warm up act for Cooper’s “Theatre of Death Tour” playing from October 23rd through the 25th across the strip at the Orleans Showroom, but it was loud and fun and a unique gift from Varvatos.
The Kropp Circle Band
Photographer Robert M. Knight
Alice, whose real name is Vincent Damon Furnier, followed his opening number with notables “Billion Dollar Babies” and “I’m Eighteen”.  However, the most memorable song introduction was for “Poison”, which Cooper referred to as “the most popular stripper song in the world” before commenting, “I didn’t know that.  I’ve never been to one of those establishments,” causing many to laugh.   Now, although we were only there for a concert quickie, Alice does know how to build up to a satisfying climax, even given the time restraints.  The audience is definitely revved up as he announces the next number is “about Detroit City”, where both he and Varvatos happen to hail from, and then launches into “Under My Wheels.”  Reality is setting in that we’re coming up to the 8th and final selection, which is a little ironic in a city where the number 21 is king.  A consummate showman, Cooper sets up a memorable grand finale, inviting Varvatos, two back up singers and a lucky fan named Molly to join him on stage and provide a little help with the perennial summer classic “School’s Out.”

As the partygoers leave the store for an extended recess, it’s easier to check out the 3000 square foot establishment’s décor. Its black brick and oxblood painted wooden beamed walls are adorned with rare old album covers, photos and other memorabilia featuring rock royalty such as Queen, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, as well as vintage old smoked mirrors.  The wood floors contain planks of blackened metal stamped with Varvatos hallmarks of authenticity, a technique he discovered in a French factory.  In fact, several objects in the store he located in Paris flea markets.  Above, an ornate black lead crystal chandelier provides a unique centerpiece, as well soft lighting.  Perhaps most noteworthy, however, is the stage, which is similar to the one in its NYC counterpart and features top of the line equipment provided by Gibson Guitars, Marshall Amplifiers, Yamaha drums and Zildjian cymbals. There’s also a 30 ft. video wall, which served as a background for the concert, and will be used to screen some of the most iconic rock videos ever made.
Designer John Varatos
Varvatos is proving himself to be the consummate rock and roll host, offering incredible music, killer clothes and accessories, guaranteed to turn mere mortals into rock star lookalikes and the creator of an edgy venue showcasing the cream of rock and roll talent and nostalgia.  In addition to carrying merchandise from all three of the designers’ brands, the store will also be the exclusive Nevada dealer of James Trussart guitars.  Known for creating high end pieces, Trussart’s work has found its way into the collections of Arrowsmith’s Joe Perry, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Cheap Trick’s Rick Neilson.  Gauging from the response to Alice Cooper’s concert and the Hard Rock’s reputation for merging fashion and entertainment, it wouldn’t be a surprise if John Varvatos and the city of Las Vegas are making beautiful music together for a long time to come.
Alice Cooper picture displayed outside Bowery NYC Store

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