Some things are bet­ter than hoped for

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - INSIDE | VOICES - Con­tact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

I’ve had the good for­tune to be able to at­tend a lot of live mu­sic shows over the years, al­most all of them for work. That’s right, it has been my job to go to, pay at­ten­tion to and write about mu­sic.

Poor me, right? Se­ri­ously, it is of­ten­times work, es­pe­cially when it is an act that you are ei­ther un­fa­mil­iar with or flat out don’t care for. You tend to watch those acts a lit­tle dif­fer­ently than the av­er­age fan and cer­tainly the fa­natic watch­ing a fa­vorite act. I’ve al­ways ap­proached any show re­view whether it was the sym­phony, high school kids play­ing their first show ever or an act I don’t like the same way and with the same goal of an­swer­ing two rel­a­tively sim­ple ques­tions: What is the artist try­ing to do, and is he or she do­ing it well?

That pretty much cov­ers ev­ery­thing from se­ri­ous high­brow stuff to car­toon rock. I’m OK with all of it as long as it is done well.

Which brings me to the Alice Cooper show on Fri­day at Memo­rial Au­di­to­rium. I went as a fan, and I left as an even big­ger fan, which is say­ing some­thing since “Bil­lion Dol­lar Ba­bies” has been one of my two go-to al­bums when I don’t know what I want to hear (the other is Frank Zappa’s “Apos­tro­phe/Over­nite Sen­sa­tion” for those scor­ing at home). It has been that way with “Bil­lion Dol­lar Ba­bies” since I con­fis­cated it from my older brother’s col­lec­tion some­time in the mid-’70s. It was re­leased in 1973 when I was 10.

The show was ev­ery­thing it was sup­posed to be, wh i c h was f un. It Barry Courter had a lit­tle of ev­ery­thing from in­cred­i­ble play­ing, es­pe­cially from Nita Strauss, to I- can’t- be­lieveI’m- see­ing- this mo­ments such as the clos­ing three songs: “I Love the Dead,” “I’m Eigh­teen” and “School’s Out.”

It also had the clas­sic mo­ments such as the guil­lo­tine chop­ping off Cooper’s head and the gi­ant Franken­stein mon­ster. It was one of those rare shows that had me wak­ing up to the last two songs play­ing over and over in my head and smil­ing be­cause I’d seen the show.

While we are t alk­ing mu­sic, I have no prob­lem with just about ev­ery­thing my col­league Shawn Ryan writes be­low, ex­cept for his thoughts on Devo. I’ve loved ev­ery­thing about Devo since the first mo­ment I saw them on “Satur­day Night Live” in 1978.

Shawn’s com­ment about mu­sic videos re­minded me of Richard Lester’s quote af­ter be­ing told he was the father of the mu­sic video thanks to his work on The Bea­tles’ “A Hard Day’s Night.”

“I de­mand a pa­ter­nity test,” he said.

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