MusicNever KnowRock

Alice Cooper – Snuck in just before the Riot

by Mark Work

I stole Alice’s Budweiser!

It was on a cold December night in 1973 when Alice Cooper brought his ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ tour down to the Toledo Sports Arena. My friend Steve and I wanted to see the show but couldn’t score tickets –we’ll just go down there and sneak… in the side door we figured..

I drove my old VW bug down to the Cherry Street lot and crammed into a spot ridiculously close to the river. We could hear ZZ Top finishing their set with ‘La Grange’ when we walked around to the back of the building. The first door we tried had a security guard and the second set was chained shut.

Finally, we got around to the backstage load-in area where we saw someone sitting in one of the equipment trucks. I walk over and ask the guy if he can get us in and to my surprise, he hands us a case of Budweiser and says “get the f*#! out of here!”.

So.. it’s back down to the river to find my car and stash the brew. Now we take another crack at the side door and this time, the security guards are gone and the place is wide open. Great we thought..-just in time for Alice Cooper! We walked in and made our way down to the main floor. The arena is dark and the stage lights are on. The crowd is chanting like it’s encore time, but the band is no where to be found.. Eventually, the house lights go up and there’s an announcement that the show is over.

Now the crowd goes nuts -tearing the place up and throwing all kinds of crap at the stage. A guy told me that during Alice’s first song, some a**hole threw something and hit Alice square in the chest (I heard it was an egg, -but who the hell would bring eggs to the Sweat Arena..?) The official version –official because I read it on the internet -so it’s got to be true.. is that someone was shooting bottle-rockets at the stage and blew out one of the lights so the band stopped the show.

All I really know is that the crowd spilled out into the parking lot, the TPD were in full riot gear and everyone they could catch was getting a beating. I don’t mind saying Steve and I were scared sh##less and were running for our lives so it seemed like it took forever to get away from the cops and back to where we left the car.

What I don’t know.. who was in the truck? –did we walk up on a robbery, or was the promoter frantically getting ready to beat it out of there before the riot started? Looking back on the experience, I’m embarrassed that my cool town Toledo got tagged as a red-neck haven by the rock and roll press. But I’ve got to say.. that Budweiser tasted pretty damned good.


  1. Great story))) You didn’t see the show, but still have something to remember. And a free beer of course))

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