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Concert Reviews:
Alice Cooper and Halestorm deliver hard=rocking -- and bloody good -- night at DTE

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2019

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- With its blood-drenched theatrics, an Alice Cooper concert usually comes with plenty of drama and doesn't need anything extra from the weather.

The show went on Saturday night, July 20, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, but only after Mother Nature added some excitement of its own.

The evening was in question for awhile early on, after a heavy storm moved through the area, forcing an evacuation of the seating areas and sending those waiting to get in back to their cars for a time. It cost opener Motionless in White its set (the group did come onto the concourse to meet fans, though), but when predicted subsequent rains didn't surface, Cooper and Halestorm were able to get on and deliver a pair of sets that rocked hard enough to blow any storm clouds away from the theater.

"Let this be a lesson to kids -- be careful what you name your band. We bring bad weather," Lzzy Hale told the DTE crowd early during Halestorm's headline-caliber 45-minute set. The quartet also brought an abundance of energy, blazing through rock radio favorites such as "Love Bites (So Do I)," "I Get Off," "Uncomfortable," "Do Not Disturb" and an epic rendition of "Amen" with Hale and Hottinger trading guitar solos. Arejay Hale, meanwhile, elevated the usual drum solo schtick before "Freak Like Me" by pulling out a pair of giant sticks for its finale, and by the time Halestorm closed with an extended closing rendition of "I Miss the Misery" it not doubt won a few new friends from the Cooper contingent.

The Detroit-born shock rocker, meanwhile, did exactly what he's always done -- entertain on a grand scale. blending high-level theatricality with musical integrity courtesy of his tight five-piece band and adding some new tricks for this particularly 21-song, 85-minute extravaganza. Fans didn't have to wait long, either, as a giant monster puppet made its first, albeit brief, appearance during the opening "Feed My Frankenstein."

Saturday's show brought a fresh production, a two-level, midlevel/dungeon motif dubbed Alice's Nightmare Castle, complete with ramparts and torches on the wall. This year's ritualistic act of crime and punishment involved "Dead Babies" and a guillotine beheading, while a giant dead/Billion Dollar baby celebrated the 71-year-old's comeuppance during "I Love the Dead." His wife Sheryl appeared as a blood-covered bride for "Roses on White Lace" and a maniacal nurse later on, and Lzzy Hale joined the troupe for the show-closing "School's Out."

The show also Cooper die-hards treated with several deep digs into his 50-year catalog -- despite a noisy sound mix that often buried his vocals and the nuances between the three guitarists. But there was visible delight from the crowd as the group tore through rarities such as "Bed of Nails," "Raped and Freezin'," "Fallen in Love," "Escape" and "Teenage Frankenstein" -- which brought the monster puppet back for another appearance. They key hits were there, too -- a particularly impactful mid-set romp through "Muscle of Love," "I'm Eighteen," "Billion Dollar Babies" and "Poison," while Cooper sported a Detroit Tigers jersey (with "Cooper 19" on the back) during "Under My Wheels."

It was, in the end, the resumption of a home town love affair that's maintained Cooper's legacy as a hero and legend in these parts -- a connection that takes more than high winds and rain to wash away.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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