Alice Cooper & Halestorm Tour Kick Off at the PPL Center in Allentown
One of the most anticipated rock tours of the summer kicked off its inaugural night at the PPL Center in Allentown as Alice Cooper, Halestorm & Motionless in White came together on the package. All three of the acts on this run are deeply loved by Pennsylvania rockers with Halestorm and Motionless in White able to cite the beginning of their careers to the now destroyed Crocodile Rock Cafe that used to exist a block or more from the PPL Center. Now, nearly 8-9 years since either band had played that venue their Allentown return saw them playing one of the biggest stages of their careers supporting Alice Cooper.
Motionless in White kicked the show off with a brief but heavy and packed set of songs that had the crowd reacting more than one would except as their music was the heaviest of the night. From the first song it was clear that the Scranton band’s fans had traveled out in force as many black Motionless in White t-shirts could be seen throughout the crowd and lead singer Chris Motionless was met with a loud cheer when he mentioned how excited the band was to be playing close to home.
Their ten song set leaned heavily into the band’s newer material which was tactful choice as the songs were accessible to those in the crowd who were new Motionless in White’s signature sound. The band didn’t shy away from their roots though as they closed the set with “Reincarnate” from the earliest days of their careers.
By the end of the set Motionless in White even had the Alice Cooper fans head banging along to their punishing guitar riffs and breakdowns. On paper it might not make much sense to have such a heavy band on this run but in reality it was one of the best decisions. Motionless in White is going to be a gateway band for a lot of rock fans on this tour as they expose them to a whole new world of rock.
Halestorm’s Allentown return was next and the crowd’s anticipation was palpable as the band’s stage was set. By the time a large LED version of their logo was made visible much of the crowd had taken to their feet despite their being minutes before the set start. While Halestorm had played in Reading at the Santander Arena twice in the past year’s for headline shows of their own the Lehigh Valley hasn’t had a taste of the ‘storm since 2011 when the band played their last show at the Crocodile Rock Cafe.
Each year since that show has brought Lzzy Hale and Halestorm more success, whether it was new albums, charting singles, a Grammy or their increasingly impressive live performance record. Across just 11 songs Halestorm gave Allentown the homecoming they desired and along the way they managed to cover the entire career of music.
The band opened with the new track “Killing Ourselves to Live” and it became clear from the opening riffs that fans were in for a sensational show as Lzzy Hale pushed her vocals to the max hittings notes better than ever before. Hale is always an impressive performer vocally in a live setting but this show pushed her reputation to an even higher level as she commanded the entire set with what might have been one of her best performances ever.
The band wasted no time digging into new material with “Black Vultures” and “Do Not Disturb” making appearances early in the night but like Motionless in White the band didn’t shy away from their humble Pennsylvania history. Lzzy Hale gave a powerful speech before the band tore through a stunning version of their debut single “I Get Off” in which Hale’s vocals shone brighter than ever as the band played in a slight drop tuning for a heavier version of the song. It was different than the version they used to play down the street when they were getting started but like many things Halestorm has only gotten better with age.
As their set ended with a chaotic but pure rock version of “I Miss the Misery” Lzzy Hale and the band ran around the stage as the jammed a whole new ending to the song. As Hale belted out the last few high notes of the set she was met by a standing ovation from what can only be called a hometown crowd. Halestorm’s 11 song set was fantastic but there is no denying that almost everyone in attendance would have asked for 11 more songs if they could have gotten them – but the band will be back and hopefully it won’t take 9 years for them to come back through the Lehigh Valley.
Alice Cooper’s arrival to the stage was a signature as it always has been with a curtain drop and dramatic entrance from the fog. Around him his talented band stormed the stage out of a massive ‘Game of Thrones’ style castle that filled the stage. This tour was unlike many that Cooper has done in recent years as he brought out some incredible support acts and the result was a transformed show for his set as he put on a phenomenal rock show. There was the drama, antics and props that Cooper has always been known for but more than ever before the focus was on delivering a pure rock show.
Cooper was the ringleader of the circus that unfolded onstage around him as he twirled a batons around during the opening of the night “Feed My Frankenstein.” Every song saw him tossing the batons to fans in the crowd to take home as a truly epic concert momento. There is no denying that the legacy of Alice Cooper is built around some of his largest hits and shockingly the fans were given “No More Mr. Nice Guy” as the second song of the set. The reaction was as expected as everyone in the PPL Center left their seats and didn’t return for the duration of the show.
Cooper’s vocals remain strong even at 71 – stronger than many half his age in touring rock but the real secret to his show’s power came from his left on stage. Guitarist Nita Strauss has become a fan favorite of his band in recent years and has established herself as one of the best guitarists in the world over that time.
Whether it was a deep cut like Cooper’s “Teenage Frankenstein” or a chart topper like “Poison” Strauss carried the songs musically. Her guitar work held true to the original but every song was infused with her signature playing style that gave many of Cooper’s song new life when performed live.
Across 21 songs Cooper gave Allentown a rock show they won’t soon forget and a truly proper tour kick off. There were no hick ups, no issues, no technical problems as Cooper and his band (and Halestorm and Motionless in White before) showcased why they the headliner’s that they are.
With this tour set to run late into August across the country there is still plenty of time to get tickets for this rock tour of the summer if you don’t already have them. Not every show will have the hometown feel that the opening night at the PPL Center did but there is no doubt that all 3 acts will still deliver the same great performances.