Story & Photos by Andy Lyons, Editor-in-Chief
Earlier this year, Alice Cooper and Halestorm announced a joint tour with support from Motionless in White with 19 stops across the United States, including Starlight Theatre in Kansas City last Friday. The tour joins two legendary rock acts from two eras, with Cooper pushing 71 years old and Halestorm one of the few modern rock groups with a presence in the mainstream.
Fans in the front row, grandparents with their two grandkids, summarized the crowd perfectly. Rockers of all ages embraced a break in the Missouri heat to enjoy a night of rock and roll that joined several eras or rock music.
Cooper’s set contained all the gags and props fans have come to expect. He was in a straightjacket while singing “Steven” and chased by the deranged nurse (played by his wife, Cheryl) only to be “beheaded” and jump through a door that was part of a castle at stage rear. A giant baby made its way onto stage and was given a lollipop by the nurse to a raucous applause from the crowd.
Throughout the set, Cooper’s all-star band was given plenty of time to shine. Guitarists Ryan Roxie, Tommy Henriksen and Nita Strauss as well as bassist Ryan Roxie all had moments in the literal spotlight. Songs would quickly devolve into awe-inspiring jam sessions and sweeping solos. Cooper prowled along the risers at stage front and beckoned to each with his signature cane giving them the go ahead to put their skills on full display.
Polishing off the night with legendary track “School’s Out,” Halestorm lead singer Lzzy Hale hit the stage to join in on the fun to a huge applause. The track featured a snippet of “Another Brick in the Wall” and introductions of the entire band. But what it put on display is that music transcends not only generations but all facets of life and brings people together.
Halestorm’s set brought the crowd on their feet and kept them there. The group went on just before sunset and played a setlist that highlighted their hits, inspiring a crowd singalong. As the lightshow kicked into high gear, Lzzy Hale and guitarist Joe Hottinger took turns playing solos and working the crowd on either side of the stage. Drummer Arejay Hale always comes alive during shows with blistering drum work that revved up the crowd with every strike.
Motionless in White kicked off the show at 7 p.m. and did a great job getting the crowd energized. Frontman Chris Motionless told the crowd “you may not know who we are, but we’re here to get you warmed up and ready.” While they may have been heavier than Halestorm or Alice Cooper, Motionless worked the crowd consistently, chatting as his band tuned for the next song and working both sides of the stage. By the end of their set, Motionless in White had people on their feet and ready for a night of rock n’ roll.
The tour, which features Cooper’s “Ol’ Black Eyes is Back” show, is a summer gem. Cooper is showing no signs of slowing down and Halestorm is one of the premiere rock bands touring today. None of the bands slacked and put on a complete, (mostly) family-friendly rock show that is sure to inspire legions of rockers for years to come. The tour continues through Aug. 16 where it wraps at BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey.
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