Alice Cooper, George Clinton, freestyle artists delight at recent concerts

Alice Cooper JoAnn Barton photo

Alice Cooper and disco? If you can believe it, yes. Two evenings of dance tunes that took you back to the clubs where everyone and anyone would dance on top of each other and sweat the night away, splashing secretions with folks we didn’t know.

Ah…the good ole days.

Then enter another time warp when you would jam out to heavy metal and rock, play air guitar and bang your head to the music. Well, we came close to going back in time physically but the feeling was there when NJPAC in Newark hosted George Clinton, The 90’s Dance Party and Alice Cooper.

March 18 brought the Godfather and Master of funk himself, Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic, back to his hometown of Newark to celebrate his 80th birthday. They portrayed a cool vibe jam session as they smothered the stage with band members/dancers and just plain enjoyed themselves. The fact that kind of moment was shared with fans was a treat indeed.

The love that was on that stage amongst a band was heartening. The musicians switched up instruments to accommodate each song. While Clinton did his thing with the younger members of the band, he also conducted them and enjoyed the show as he sat on a stool at center stage between the band.

Gone are the colorful dreadlocks, but looking classy with shorter hair and a hat didn’t take away from the great music and electrifying performance.

Of course, they played all their classics.

My favorites are “Flashlight,” “One Nation Under a Groove,” “Atomic Dog” and “Dr. Funkenstein” and the band did not disappoint. Clinton was not the only one singing; the band would take lead vocals on several songs. The show was very relaxed and was just an evening of fun. The audience could attest to that when they barely sat for each song. Happy Birthday to the legend! Thank you for celebrating your birthday with your fans — it was the perfect gift.

Then it surely felt as though it was a weekend doing the club scene when on March 19, DJ and promoter Duce Martinez of D Wild Music Radio brought us the 90s Dance Concert, gathering what seemed like an evening of old friends.

The 90s Dance Concert featured 13 acts from classic dance, R&B, hip hop and freestyle, from Rochelle Fleming, Nardo Ranks, Strafe, CeCe Peniston, George Lamond, Brenda K. Star, Lizette Melendez and so many more.

Lest we forget, Robin S. who appeared on Applause Radio Show for a telephone interview prior to the concert itself, also performed. She herself cannot believe the longevity and happiness that her hit, “Show Me Love” still brings. She considers herself blessed. Her voice along with the other performers were untouchable.

For the full conversation with Robin S., go to www.applauseradioshow.com.

The show in general was great! You did not need Studio 54 to do your thing on the floor that night. Those who chose to and who could dance, had no problem finding a spot to make it happen. The stage was sparce with two DJ tables. One was WO-manned by the great DJ Millie Mills. Her love for music shined through as her timing, mixes, changes and record-scratching were flawless. She is also one of the best DJs at the D Wild Music Radio Station.

The stage may have had little to no set design at all, but it wasn’t necessary. The legends who graced the stage adorned it with their presence and that is what everyone came to see. No one went to see a set. They went to see and hear the best dance songs of yesteryear with unstoppable talent.

All voices were perfect. Yes, everyone looked a little different, but the songs remained the same. If you get the opportunity to check out one of these concerts/tours, you will really enjoy yourself. I personally enjoy the concerts that have a compilation of various artists. To see if there are more of these concerts coming up, visit www.dwildmusicradio.com.

  • ••

I’ve always enjoyed Alice Cooper’s commercial hits but it would never have been a concert. Not because I don’t like his music, but because I don’t know his full catalogue. I had no idea what to expect when seeing him. I had heard his shows are more of a theatrical atmosphere and it surely was.

The background set was of a dungeon with different doors that Cooper would enter and exit out of either in a new costume or medieval prop to accompany the songs. Another addition to the show was his wife of 40 years, Sheryl Goddard, a dancer who he met when auditioning dancers for his “Welcome to My Nightmare” tour 40 years ago.

Goddard has been a staple to Cooper’s performances ever since and possibly the person who saved his life and career by staving off his drinking antics.

Because of her, Cooper has been going strong with his performances. First, you would never have known he was 74. His voice was as strong as ever and the band was remarkable. The music was astounding and Cooper never missed a note or cue to complete this fine-tuned menagerie.

His female guitarist was outstanding, along with the rest of the band.

What I was and am still dying to know is if what I witnessed was the same theme Alice has used at all of his concerts.

Meanwhile, a guillotine cut off his head for the millionth time over the years and the huge baby that came out for Million Dollar Babies was a great prop. There were many cool props along with the ending of the show with balloons filled with confetti that Alice would burst with a knife, spilling its contents on to the audience.

There were bubbles, streamers and feathers to bring this extravaganza to an end.

We should all thank Goddard for turning Cooper’s life around because without her, I do not believe he would still be able to continue doing what he does so well. His voice was strong, it never wavered and sounded as if he was 18 again whilst performing.

This was not just a show, it was an experience that I will never forget and am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to have seen his act.

Learn more about the writer ...

JoAnn Barton | Special to The Observer
+ posts

Jo-Ann Barton is a singer/songwriter and musician for the past 25+ years who contributes entertainment-related stories to The Observer. Her last CD, 'POP and CIRCUMSTANCES,' spawned a number one hit song at college radio stations throughout the United States, including Hawaii, in 2001. She is the host of the Applause Radio Show, a platform JoAnn brings to an ever-growing audience tuning into listen to their favorite celebrities.