Review by John Jeffrey, Photos by THOMAS S. ORWAT, JR.
Buffalo, NY – As Alice Cooper embarked on the fall leg of his 2022 “Detroit Muscle” tour, Buffalo’s own Shea’s Performing Arts Center wound up being the fourth stop of his 20-city tour. In all honesty, I can’t recall another Alice Cooper tour that began on such a controversial note.
After tickets had already gone on sale, longtime guitarist Nita Strauss, announced her departure, in favor of joining the former TV star/pop idol, Demi Lovato, in her new, “rock infused,” ‘Holy Fvck’ touring band. To fill the void left by the “Hurricane,” Cooper brought back Kane “Rambo” Roberts, who was in the lineup during the ‘Constrictor’ and ‘Raise Your Fist and Yell’ era, which took place in the latter part of the 1980’s. Described by some as Alice’s ‘metal’ years, this lineup change has somewhat split the ranks among the Cooper faithfuls, as time will only tell how well this transition will ultimately be accepted.
While Roberts originally joined the band during Alice’s “Nightmare Returns” comeback, that point in
time could easily be compared to the Vinnie Vincent era of KISS. Some fans love it and some fans hate it, and perhaps some of those who romanticize the Kane Roberts/Cooper era, may have a fonder memory of thinking how great it was, in comparison to the reality of that time in Alice’s career.
One thing that was for certain with Robert’s return, was the continuation of the heavy “1980’s” theme in the set list. The approximate 2,200 in attendance were treated to a mostly hit laden song selection, with almost half of the set being dedicated to songs from ‘Constrictor,’ ‘Raise Your Fist and Yell,’ ‘Trash’ & ‘Hey Stoopid.’ After the show, some fans voiced their disappointment in the omission of 70’s classics like “Welcome to My Nightmare” & “Only Women Bleed.”
Oddly enough, with the departure of Strauss and the addition of Roberts, this lineup change has put more focus and emphasis on the “#1” lead guitarist, longtime band member, Ryan Roxie. While Roberts gobbled up the main solo spots in all of the 80’s material, Roxie played many of the outro solos on those songs and most of the main leads on all of the 70’s ‘heyday’ material. Picking up the remaining slack is the underrated, but always amazing, Tommy Henriksen. Henriksen, without a doubt is the most fiery guitarist in the band and has the best guitar tone as well.
Visually, the show does look rather different without the blonde bombshell Strauss slinging the guitar around and her energy was definitely missed. Roberts current appearance is not so Rambo-esque as it was way back when, but more like a younger ‘hulking’ version of Cooper himself. After not being on the big stage since 1987, he looks like he is still finding is footing with his performance skills and fitting in the rest of the band. And even though we’ve lost the female presence in the guitar ensemble, we still have the prowess and presence of the ageless beauty Sheryl Cooper. Sheryl commands the stage and the attention from the Cooper diehards with every character she portrays, as her supporting roles are always an integral part of the show.
The rhythm section of Chuck Garric (bass) and Glen Sobel (drums) are solid and consistent as they keep the band sounding as tight as ever. And speaking on consistency, Alice is as constant as the stars in the night sky, with absolutely no signs of slowing down. Alice has probably performed over 200 dates since his post Covid-19 shutdown return, which is more than younger acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and GHOST even.
The thought of Alice getting closer to retirement and still being on top of his game is kind of a bummer, and it’s sad to think that we will have less time with him in years to come. On Tuesday night, Alice proved that no matter who’s in the band, Alice is still Alice and the fans love Alice. Long live da Coop!
Alice Cooper setlist 09/13/2022
Feed My Frankenstein
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Bed of Nails
Fallen in Love
Be My Lover
House of Fire
Under My Wheels
He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)
Go to Hell
Billion Dollar Babies
Guitar Solo (Kane Roberts)
Roses on White Lace
Black Widow Jam
I Love the Dead
For more on Alice Cooper, please visit www.alicecooper.com
More Alice Cooper concert reviews
Recent interview with author/musician/producer- John Jeffrey below.
Check out John Jeffrey’s youtube page for his Buffalo Rock City -KISS tribute project here.
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