Alice Cooper had been king of the shock rock world in the 1970s, but when the ’80s rolled around he was playing clubs and supporting albums that sold jack squat. It didn’t help matters that alcoholism had just about consumed him. Look at the above video taken from a 1981 TV performance for example. It’s a great performance, sure, but that’s not the portrait of a healthy human.
Cooper played the Youngstown Agora on October 1, 1981. He was six years into his career as a solo artist and was supporting the Special Forces album. Eight years removed from having a No. 1 album with Billion Dollar Babies, Special Forces peaked at 125 on the charts. The next album in 1982 (Zipper Catches Skin) did not chart and 1983’s DaDa was the last he recorded as a “functioning” alcoholic.
Nearly 10 years before this date, Cooper and his band played the Struthers Fieldhouse on May 1, 1971 along with a Lou Reed-less Velvet Underground, Brownsville Station and Biggy Rat. He would return to the area to play a show at the B&B Backstage in Poland in 2003 and on October 9, 2010 at the Covelli Centre supporting Rob Zombie.
WHAT THE SHOW LOOKED LIKE: A Facebook page dedicated to events held at the Youngstown Agora exists and a link for a gallery of photos from that show is here.