On This Day in History

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 9/29/2021, Alice Cooper and Ace Frehley combined forces and delivered a thrilling display of hard rocking, theatrical entertainment at the newly constructed TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park in Indianapolis, IN.

This facility improved on what was already a good thing; providing state of the art sound and lights with upgraded seating options that ensure great visibility from virtually any seat in the pavilion or on the lawn.

Ace Frehley got right down to business, playing a tight set loaded with Kiss classics and a handful of his best solo material. Frehley will never be regarded as one of the best vocalists around, but he still plays guitar with his own unmistakable style and tone. His band featured two additional guitarists (one of them contributing some good lead vocals), a bass player who also took on some lead vocal spots, and a drummer who kept things solid and exciting. I hadn’t seen Ace since Kiss’s reunion tour in 1996, and it was nice to hear him leading a band, along with some funny between songs chatter.
I have now seen Alice Cooper somewhere around a dozen times dating back to 1978 and have written so many reviews of his shows that I doubt I have much new information to add. I believe that the extended time off really did wonders for the man’s vocal chords and overall stamina, though.

Cooper and his supremely gifted band had been touring relentlessly for the past several years (I saw him twice in 2019), and on this night his voice carried more power and clarity than I had heard from him since 2016. The haunted castle set remained the same, but a few songs were added, including a brilliant reading of the Velvet Underground’s Rock And Roll. All the familiar theatrics (the giant-sized Billion Dollar Baby and Frankenstein monster, the straight jacket, the dead baby serenade and consequent beheading by Guillotine) were in place and remain such well loved and well executed aspects of Alice’s performance, that we practically experience them like they’re brand new every time we see them. Of course the band got a block of songs to shine on, and shine they did.

The larger stage, sound, and lights of the new facility elevated all that immense talent to produce one of the top 3 performances I’ve ever witnessed from one of my all time favorite artists…as I’m quite sure I’ve said many times before, “Long Live The Coop!”

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