Rock has its share of institutions, as well as figures whose persona suggests they've just escaped from institutions. Alice Cooper probably belongs in both categories, a notion he re-established with a rocking spectacle Saturday night at the Long Beach Arena. Cooper, who started his career nearly two decades ago, still employs the old tricks: ghoulish makeup; singing a number with a boa constrictor draped around his neck. But there were also some new-fangled antics.
During "Teenage Frankenstein," Cooper built a monster with some old parts he had lying around the stage, when suddenly the monster came to life and began stalking him--an illusion that might even have impressed Doug Henning. Saturday's concert was opened by Tesla, a fast-rising new quintet from Sacramento. Its sound seemed rooted in the past, but the band played feisty rockers and metallic shuffles with an ambition and poise that suggested a bright future.