He's not 18. He's 71. And he can still do what he wants. In Alice Cooper's case, that includes a stop in Roanoke.

The guy who shocked and startled authority figures in the 1970s is still doing his camp horror thing, along with classic songs including "Only Women Bleed" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy." He brings the show to Berglund Performing Arts Theatre on November 16.

Tickets are $75.00, $59.50, and $49.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at the Berglund Center box office, 853-5483 or theberglundcenter.com. Some presale fan and VIP packages go up at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the venue's website.

So, let's count 'em up for a minute. We've already seen Styx in town this month, at Elmwood Park. Ringo Starr (Berglund Coliseum), REO Speedwagon (Berglund theater) and Foreigner (Elmwood Park) are on the live music schedule upcoming. And now Alice Cooper!

I have read complaints from people about these shows. They want to see more up-to-date acts playing here. Lord knows I sympathize. This is not that market, though. Classic rock and neo-country are what sells the big rooms here, with occasional exceptions.

Fortunately, we are living in a town with a smaller-venue environment that features some good, hip, different, acts that are worth your time, effort and money to go hear. So you should be reveling in that. Charlottesville, Richmond and Charlotte (even Raleigh and Greensboro) are within a few hours, and have the demographics to successfully host acts that Roanoke cannot. If you're willing to road-trip it.

This is not a new problem, by the way. In 2005, my colleague Ralph Berrier Jr. wrote a column titled: Who'll rock live after the geezers go away?

It ran not long after Kanye West, on the cusp of pop immortality, drew fewer than 3,000 to Salem Civic Center.

Among the key lines from that column:

>The big-name acts from this year's concert schedule were straight from Billboard's Top 10 ... circa 1977. Bob Dylan; Willie Nelson; REO Speedwagon; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Foghat; and Blue Oyster Cult were among the marquee stars to play our region this year ...

>I'm not suggesting that these guys are all decrepit or that they can't get it done on stage anymore, but let's just say that when Blue Oyster Cult sings ''(Don't Fear) The Reaper'' these days, they don't sound quite so cocky about it.

>Everybody knows that Roanoke's demographics skew a little north of the AARP line. ...

"... I have yet to hear one of those leaders scream, ''Let's get Green Day here, STAT!''

>Someone should consider doing that. A recent poll found that one of the chief complaints among young people here is the dearth of entertainment options. The poll didn't specify a viable, youth-driven music scene as one of those missing options, but one could infer such a conclusion. ...

>The reason guys such as the Stones, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen are still top draws is easy to figure: They appeal to a generation of fans who still appreciate live music and will go anywhere and pay (almost) any price to see and hear it performed.

Good grief!! I could write that same column this week, simply substituting 21 Pilots for Green Day. Almost everything else is the SAME, including the fact that we still don't have a venue large enough to host the Stones, McCartney or Springsteen (we're getting Ringo, though!).

Anyway, thanks for doing this week's job for me 13 years ago, Ralph.

I wouldn't direct my ire toward any venue in particular. Demographics is everything when it comes to concert variety (Virginia Tech, less than an hour from Roanoke, is the exception to that rule; if anyone wants to tell me why you can't book a couple of big concerts a year in Cassell Coliseum, please do). Venue managers around here are smart, and the last thing they want is some gadfly skinflint complaining to city council about the subsidies.

Let me add, finally, that I think it is fantastic that these old dudes can still bring the rock. Objectively speaking, Styx was amazing, doing what they do at a very high level. I don't expect less from the other acts that are coming around.

Contact Tad Dickens at tad.dickens@roanoke.com or 777-6474. Follow him on Twitter: @cutnscratch.  


For the past decade, Tad Dickens has been writing about music. For now, it remains sunshine and rainbows.

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