Alice Cooper, Halestorm and Motionless in White…. Yes, there may have been a storm…. Flash flood warnings showed up on my phone. Did anyone inside the PPL Center know it (myself included)? Nope, the music was too LOUD! It was a hot summer day.
The PPL Center was lined with Alice Cooper fans of all ages. Halestorm and Motionless in White fans. The band is from Scranton, PA originally. (All I heard was, Harry Chapin’s “30,000 Pounds of Bananas” and the line about Scranton, PA which is AMAZING!) Motionless in White opened for Alice Cooper and Halestorm. This band did so much more than that. They amped up a sold-out crowd and they ROCKED! Motionless in White or MIW: Chris “Motionless” Cerulli, Ryan Sitowski, Ricky “Horror” Olson, Vinny Mauro and Justin Morrow.
They performed a few songs and they really got into the crowd. They interacted and they were thankful. They didn’t just jump on-stage and then run. They were throwing guitar picks to the audience and asking that everyone have a good time and sing along. I would think they will be headlining a show of their own one day. They have a new album called “Disguise” and performed with a lot of heart. Whoever decided that they would be the opening act, chose wisely.
Motionless in White performed a few songs before Halestorm would take over the stage. The road crew worked quickly changing the setup of the stage for each act. Halestorm was EXCELLENT! Members, Lzzy Hale, Arejay Hale, her “little brother” as she referred to him throughout the show, Joe Hottinger and Josh Smith. This band is just surreal. They have so much energy and passion. First off they came out full force and went into a powerful set. Lzzy Hale’s vocals are unmatched. They also have a new album out called, “VICIOUS.” The passion, the determination and the interacting with the crowd was so powerful.
They also threw everything from guitar picks to drum sticks to the crowd. Arejay Hale stole some of the show as he performed an EPIC, off the wall drum solo and included “the big sticks” because WHAT KIND OF DRUMMER DOES NOT HAVE A PAIR OF BIG STICKS to let the crowd know that he can full on rumble. I don’t think Mother Nature could quite handle this concert. The infamous Gods of Rock must have been jamming along. The PPL Center has become the place to be for the summer concerts.
Each band also had some sort of connection of closeness to Pennsylvania and Allentown. Motionless in White being from Scranton, PA. They spoke about playing in PA and the love from the crowds. The members of Halestorm are from Pennsylvania so they were “home” as Lzzy proudly let everyone know in only the way she could. Halestorm performed some classics and a new song including “I Get Off” and “Black Vultures,” “Freak Like Me” and more. Halestorm is pure talent and as Lzzy shared with the crowd, they have no “tricks.” They are all playing live.
And now ALICE COOPER, a 71 year-old legend who pioneered a world of his own. This legendary artist has created and captured what entertainment is all about. His show is theatrical, musical, almost as if you are watching a film and cannot for the life of you look away. He has been doing this for what seems like forever. He is one of the GREATEST showman ever to grace a stage. The man could read a phone book and make it entertaining. He incorporates a lot of Horror related stuff into his music and his show. His beautifully, talented wife Sheryl Cooper plays his bride on-stage as well. As she sauntered onto the stage with attitude and fun to portray the bride and the nurse.
A lot of artists would not even exist in reality if not for Alice Cooper. He is also one of the founders of the Hollywood Vampires. His crew built his set. It was almost like watching a movie set being built. They were so efficient. Allentown is the kickoff city for the “Ol’ Black Eyes is Back Tour. When Ol’ Blue Eyes doesn’t quite do it for you, Alice Cooper will take you to the next level.
He started a little after 9:30 and the crowd was still pumped and ready to go from Halestorm. The various media arrived and you can tell the show is ready to go. Alice Cooper’s show started in a theatrical way. Alice Cooper is a showman. This man knows how to motivate his audience. He doesn’t need much to get a crowd going.
The beginning started off as a beautifully dark nightmare. He had everything from Frankenstein’s Monster to deranged babies storming the stage. He played to the crowd with his canes, his infamous top hat, and the story-telling, dark songs that seem to hypnotize the crowd.
The dark, dreadful music and anticipation makes you want to leap out of the seat. The audience was told we are “doomed” and I’ve NEVER HEARD A CROWD SCREAM WITH SUCH DELIGHT! As the voice-over announces, “Welcome to Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle.” It feels like you are at the greatest theme park in the whole world yet it is an incredible rock show.
Alice Cooper teases the audience. He had his legendary crew of incredible musical geniuses. It is Alice Cooper, the legendary, Ryan Roxie who also has a new Podcast
Alice Cooper threw one of his canes into the audience and all of the guitar players tossed guitar picks and Alice Cooper popped balloons, played with knives and more.
Tommy Henriksen who is one of the greatest guitarist of all-time. He also plays with Cooper when he tours with the Hollywood Vampires.
Chuck Garric of Beasto Blanco who plays bass and overall is incredible. The man is a beast. Hurricane Nita Strauss who killed it on guitar. She is a hurricane. She was all over the stage and truly rocked with Henriksen. They had solos and it was unreal.
And of course getting his own drum solo is Glen Sobel who also toured with Cooper and the Hollywood Vampires. This band and the line-up doesn’t even seem real. Yet, there they all were playing together and shaking the PPL Center to its inner depths of whatever lies beneath it.
Alice Cooper performed everything from: “Feed My Frankenstein” and he was joined on-stage by a bigger than life-size Frankenstein monster. The various characters he takes on and the comradery of his band is unforgettable. He also did some fan favorites including: “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and he had the audience sing along. (Shout out to our section for singing LOUD), “Poison,” “Billion Dollar Babies,” Teenage Frankenstein,” “I’m Eighteen,” and the school is the anthem of all anthems. “School’s Out.” There were guillotine’s involved, deranged babies, Frankenstein’s’ Monster, amazing Rock N Roll, guitar players shredding and Mother Nature may have cried. The band left for a few minutes before coming back out for that encore of “School’s Out.” There was not a person who wasn’t singing along. Music reminds us of good memories and much more. Alice Cooper reminds us we are never going to be too old to keep going and keep on rocking. If you have not seen this man in concert, you must get tickets and go see him. If you have not yet been to a show at the PPL Center YOU MUST GO! Alice Cooper’s nightmares are pretty amazing.
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Interviews & Articles By: Janel Spiegel
“May your nightmares inspire you.” JMS