This past summer my wife and I were sitting around the campfire with out friends during one of our many camping trips. My friend suddenly got super excited and exclaimed that Alice Cooper was going to be touring with Ace Frehley. Since I only know about three Alice Cooper songs, and I had never heard of Ace before in my life, I just smiled and nodded.
After listening to him talk about it for the next half hour, it was very apparent that my friend really wanted to go to this concert. I knew his wife probably wouldn't be super interested and being the fan of all music that I am, I told him I would be happy to go to the concert with him. Before I knew it, the tickets were bought and the date was set.
This past Saturday I picked my buddy up at his house and we made the 1.5 hour drive down to Clarkston, MI which is about a half hour outside of Detroit to see the show. It was a great ride with pretty much non-stop conversation. We talked about music, whiskey, cars, and all manner of things.
Since everyone has to go through metal detectors these days, the line to get in was extremely long. We were just walking through the lawn section down to our seats when Ace came on stage and started playing. I can't say that I am an Ace fan now, but I will admit that he can certainly play a guitar. At 70 years old he was shredding like he was in his 20's. It was quite impressive.
Having been one of the original members of KISS, it was really great to hear him play some of their songs. As you can see from the photos, not many people seemed to care about the opening act. My buddy was dancing and singing along to every song though. He really enjoyed it and I am glad he did.
Both acts in this show were heavy on the guitar solos. I personally think the reason for that was two fold. First of all, being a classic metal concert, that is just what they are known for. Second, I think they needed the break from singing since they are getting so old. They just don't have the stamina anymore. Don't get me wrong, they still sounded great. There were even some songs where the members of the backup band took the lead on vocals.
You really can't see it here in the photo, but I also found it interesting that even though he hasn't been in KISS for a while now, Ace still has that "KISS" feel to him. I mean seriously, put him in a room next to Gene Simmons and you might think they were brothers.
After about an hour of playing we hit the intermission. The roadies started tearing down Ace's stuff, my buddy went to snag one or two concert t-shirts and I sat alone on my phone texting my wife and checking in on the Michigan State football game.
After Ace's stuff was cleared away, they started setting up Alice's stuff.
And then it was time for the main act...
I have to admit, even though I only knew about three Alice Cooper songs going into this, it was a really great show. It was much more theatrical than I had imagined. It seemed that Alice always had to have something in his hand whether it was a walking stick, a sword, or a dagger. He is certainly very performance oriented.
He is also the first singer that I have ever seen who has a holster on his hip for his cordless mic. He would tuck the mic away after each song or during the guitar solos and do the rest of his act. It was kind of funny and impressive at the same time.
As I said, he still sounded great and I honestly feel like he looks about the same as he did back in the day... One of my only issues with the show actually had nothing to do with the show. In an outdoor amphitheater like this, it isn't uncommon to catch a whiff of weed here and there due to people enjoying a toke. Well, since Michigan legalized recreational cannabis and one of the largest distributers in the state LUME is one of the corporate sponsors of DTE, that is about all you smell now. I wasn't even smoking and I had a mad case of the munchies about halfway through Alice's set...
Probably my two favorite parts of the show were when he sang the song "Bed of Nails". It is just a really good tune. The other part was one of Alice's lead guitarists. It took me a hot second to realize it was a female guitarist and holy cow could she shred! I think @verhp11 has talked about Nita Strauss before, but let me tell you first hand, she is absolute FIRE!
I could seriously watch a show of just her all day long. She was fantastic!
Towards the end of the show things really got theatrical with Alice. As you can see he did his bit where he was singing while in a straight jacket, that was pretty impressive. Finally the last song of that set culminated with him getting his head chopped off with a guillotine as you see below.
Usually, most concert venues in the state have an 11:00 noise ordinance that they have to adhere to. Younger acts will play right up until the 11:00 mark and then be finished for the night after their encore. Alice Started playing around 9:00 PM and finished at about 10:30. I wasn't too surprised and had a feeling it would be a shorter set.
Although I wasn't sure what to expect from this show, at the end of the night I was happy to have spent a really great evening with a good friend. Plus, I got to see a legend of rock, so that was cool too!
All pictures taken by myself or @mrsbozz