Freaks On Parade Tour:
Rob Zombie + Alice Cooper + Ministry + Filter

Photos and Review by Raven Divito

Every day is Halloween on the Freaks On Parade tour, and there was no exception at the Concord Pavillion on September 22, 2023 when Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper plus Ministry and Filter brought their industrial hard rock game to town.

Concord was almost already full by the time opener Filter took the stage, a testament to Filter’s longevity and relevance. The early birds were in for a treat with an outstanding set — fresh from releasing their first album in seven years, “The Algorithm,” Richard Patrick and his crew delivered an electrifying blend of glitchy industrial rock and alt-rock anthems. Their 30-minutes on stage combined new tracks from “The Algorithm” like “The Drowning” and “For the Beaten” with beloved classics such as “Take a Picture” and “Hey Man Nice Shot.” Filter’s modern take on their signature sound resonated deeply with the audience, leaving them wanting more than the opening short slot allowed.

Next in line were industrial metal pioneers Ministry, led by the indomitable Al Jourgensen. Despite four decades since their first release in 1983, Ministry unleashed their ferocious anthems with the same fervor that defined their inception, and the crowd’s reaction mirrored Jourgensen’s intensity as they roared their approval. Ministry’s brief but explosive set touched on highlights from their catalog, including “Thieves,” “The Missing,” “N.W.O.,” and “Just One Fix.” It was a primal, cathartic experience that set the stage for the horrors to come.

The first of the night’s headliners was none other than Vincent Damon Furnier, better known as Alice Cooper. At 75 years old, Cooper remains an awe-inspiring performer, backed by a cast of extraordinarily talented musicians. An Alice Cooper show is more than just music, it’s a theatrical extravaganza rooted in old-school horror. Emerging from behind a giant newspaper headlined “Trial Set: For Deeds Against Humanity,” Cooper began with a tease of “Lock Me Up” before launching into classics like “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “I’m Eighteen.” His 65-minute set masterfully blended old favorites with newer gems, all while delivering high-production-value visuals, including encounters with a massive snake and a menacing Frankenstein monster during “Feed My Frankenstein.” The show’s climax featured Cooper electrocuted and beheaded by his wife, Sheryl Cooper, playing Marie Antoideath. But even death couldn’t halt Alice Cooper, as he triumphantly rose from the grave to close the performance. Alongside Cooper’s mesmerizing showmanship, his band was on point, led by virtuoso guitarist Nita Strauss.

The night’s final headliner, Rob Zombie, a longtime friend and collaborator with Cooper, took the stage. Zombie, a master of blending music and visual arts, emerged behind a menacing cyber-punk metallic skull emblazoned with “ZOMBIE.” His set kicked off with “The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)” from his 2021 album, “The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy.” Zombie’s performance was a fiery mix of hits from his solo debut, “Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside the Spookshow International,” White Zombie classics, and tracks spanning his seven-album career. With a stage adorned with large video screens, Zombie’s set was total sensory overload, featuring clips from his cult classic “House of 1000 Corpses” film and towering flames, not to mention dancing devils and even an evil robot during “More Human Than Human.” His band, including Piggy D on bass, Ginger Fish on drums, and the returning Mike Riggs on guitar, provided the sonic backbone behind the captivating visuals. Zombie himself commanded the stage, dancing wildly and working the crowd into a frenzy. By the time the evening culminated with the fan-favorite “Dragula,” both Zombie and his worked up fans were rock ‘n roll giddy.

In a night filled with horror, theatrics, and rock ‘n’ roll spectacle, the “Freaks on Parade” tour proved that legends like Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie can still pull off an extravaganza like this and burn it into the brains of thousands of people who’ll remember the night forever.

Rob Zombie

Alice Cooper