School's out for summer!
Alice Cooper, Halestorm and Motionless in White teamed up for the "Ol' Black Eyes Is Back" tour that brings three generations of shock rock, hard rock and heavy metal music to 19 cities, opening on July 17 at the PPL Center in Allentown.
Fans, including some who wore makeup like Alice Cooper, filled the venue early to catch a glimpse of opening act Motionless in White. MIW offers loud guitars and even louder vocals courtesy of their lead singer Chris "Motionless" Cerulli. Their stage set included statues of praying angels which gave the show an eerie feeling.
Cerulli told the crowd it was great to be back as the band comes from Scranton. Dressed in black, MIW has elements of goth and is heavy metal's latest wave even though they have been releasing albums for almost 10 years starting with 2010's "Creatures."
Cerulli expressed his hope to be a gateway band for people to listen to heavier music, and that was exactly what their set provided, covering material from previous albums up to their latest release "Disguise." They closed with "Reincarnate" but the stand out song that they won the crowd over with was "Voices."
Next up was Grammy-winning hard rock group Halestorm, another band with a connection to Pennsylvania, coming from Red Lion.
Lead singer and guitarist Lzzy Hale had a take-no-prisoners approach. Going onstage in black leathers and skyscraper high heels, she did double duty with lead vocals and guitar work, sneering and playing each power chord for all it was worth. Squeezing the most meaning out of each lyric, she belted out notes from center stage to the upper levels of the arena on songs like "Love Bites (So Do I)" and "I Am The Fire."
Hale said she had dreamed about singing since she was 13 years old and her brother Arejay was 10. Fast forward to the PPL Center and that is exactly what she is doing. Arejay, all grown up now, is the drummer. The band's name says it all, a storm of hard rock that grabs you and doesn't let go. Their latest release is "Vicious."
The man who influenced both of these bands is shock rock king Alice Cooper. He brought with him a castle, medieval torture devices, larger than life monsters and mutant babies, and, of course, a guillotine. But it's the music not special effects that got Cooper inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
Opening with "Feed My Frankenstein" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy," the audience was made up of all ages from kids like me to their grandparents. Cooper's career stretches four decades and each era of his music seems to have its own distinctive style.
Whether you discovered him as a member of The Hollywood Vampires alongside Johnny Depp and Joe Perry, with the MTV hit "Poison" in the 1990s, are a fan of "Brutal Planet" or were there at the beginning with "I'm Eighteen," the one thing that doesn't change is that Cooper doesn't take himself too seriously. Combining the fun of rock and roll with a horror movie twist, Cooper believes in the role that he plays when he's onstage and that is why the audience pumps their fists, knows every word, and gets lost in the fantasy that is the Alice Cooper show.
The show covered deep cuts like "My Stars" to standards "Billion Dollar Babies," but Cooper will keep you guessing with a setlist that doesn't go the way you think it will... just like a good scary movie. Yes special effects, streamers and confetti are part of what an Alice Cooper show is about but the songs can stand all on their own.
For the encore, Cooper wore a Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey jersey for "Under My Wheels." Then a bell rang, which was the cue for the final song of the night and the anthem for kids everywhere, "School's Out." The live album "A Paranormal Evening at the Olympia Paris" is Alice Cooper's latest release.
Go to this show if you want to see the theatrics and spectacle of what hard rock and heavy metal is about, where it came from, and where newer bands might take it in the future!
Rodeo would like to thank Katie Nork, director of Marketing PPL Center & Lehigh Valley Phantoms, for being super, awesome, and cool!
For more about the Alice Cooper and the "Ol' Black Eyes Is Back" tour, go to www.ticketmater.com.
Berks-Mont Kid reviewer Rodeo Marie Hanson, age 13, of Fleetwood, contributes entertainment columns to Berks-Mont Newspapers.