Alice Cooper, Vince Gill Rock in Smashville

Some things are beyond belief unless you are present to experience them. There are folks from other parts of North America are critical of Nashville having an NHL team since it is such a “non-traditional” market.

Saturday night, when the Nashville Predators beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 the action on the ice had plenty of competition from other events in the arena that were indeed “non-traditional.”

Before the game there was a wedding ceremony where the preacher was dressed in an official’s shirt as he repeated the vows. That could probably happen in any arena.

During the first period, the nightly military salute was for a servicewoman stationed in Afghanistan that was scheduled to return in March and her entire family was in attendance to receive the accolades.

At the first intermission, the husband of the soldier was invited to the ice to shoot pucks at a goalie. When he was done, the “goalie” removed her mask and revealed that it was none other than his wife who was home early. It was a huge surprise as no one knew that she was back in the states. They embraced and there was not a dry eye in the house.

As the happy couple left the ice and the Zamboni came on to sweep the ice clean, the band Sixwire was introduced as the in-house band for the evening. They in turn, brought out country music legend and Predators fan, Vince Gill for a song.

After the opening number, Gill invited “a golfing buddy” on to the stage to help out. His buddy was none other than the legendary Alice Cooper. The two jammed on a duet of an old Chuck Berry standard to the delight of the sold out crowd.

Then the arena that was set up for hockey, was transformed into an old school rock concert as Cooper, Gill, and Sixwire belted out a really tight version of Alice’s all-time greatest hit, “Schools Out” that had fans from eight to eighty singing along in unison.

As they always say… Only in Nashville.

Alice Cooper (born Vincent Furnier) is slated to be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf-Astoria on March 14th. His stardom in the early 70′s is difficult to describe to the youth of today. At the time he was all that Kiss was before Kiss was formed and all Ozzy was before there was an Ozzy.

Living in obscurity before being “found” by Frank Zappa, there was no musician that was bigger or better known when his “Billion Dollar Babies” album hit number one in the world in 1973.

Personally, I was Cooper’s biggest fan and never missed seeing him in concert when he made repeated stops at Municipal Auditorium and the Fairground Speedways. “School’s Out” was the anthem of my senior year at Columbia Central High, it was released the summer before my graduation year.

After the game, as the press corp descended on the Predators’ dressing room, we were surprised to see Alice Cooper standing in the hall outside the locker room. A giddy Barry Trotz and Peter Horachek emerged and glad-handed Cooper and took him in to introduce him to the players.

Again, as they say… Only in Nashville.

Trotz was still excited in the post-game presser when he talked about Cooper, “We got to meet him. I’m a big fan. Schools out for the summer was our favorite song growing up. It’s really good. He’s a legendary performer and I heard him and Vince were really… that’s sort a contradiction in what they both have done in their careers.”

“I heard it was really good. It’s the special thing that happens here in Smashville, you got Vince Gill, the person coming home early from Afghanistan, and then Alice Cooper comes and sits up there, it’s a pretty cool place.”

Pekka Rinne, who had just gotten his fourth shutout of the year met Cooper and said , “That was awesome! I’m a big fan and it was an honor.”

The senior Predator player, Steve Sullivan, was also thrilled, “For only a few of us, we know who he is, our team is too young to know who Alice Cooper is but it’s great, just an icon, and a huge rocker to be coming to our dressing room is pretty neat.”

Sergei Kostitsyn could be described as a potential future fan of Cooper’s. “Sorry, I never heard about him but coach said what he’s done. I saw him but never heard about him. He’s big but I don’t know.”

Only in Nashville!

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