Grim facts: Alice Cooper, band still on top of their game in Ohio
YouTube via Brian James

The original king of shock rock, Alice Cooper and his band, played the first of back to back gigs in southwest Ohio Sunday night. Playing to a full amphitheater crowd in suburban Dayton's Rose Music Center at The Heights, the band was in fine form during the nearly two-hour set. Touring in support of their latest album, Paranormal, the band intricately weaved in and out between classic rock anthems, deep album cuts, new tracks, and even some rarely played obscure music to satisfy the most die-hard fans in attendance.

The current incarnation of the Alice Cooper band consists of longtime bassist Chuck Garric and Glen Sobel on the drums to hold down the bottom end. The band is led out front by a three-headed attack on guitar by Ryan Roxie, Tommy Henriksen, and the fantastic and energetic Nita Strauss. Trading off solos and providing heavy riffs throughout the night, they tie the whole thing together while the lead man Vincent Furnier (Alice Cooper) steals the show; even in his 70th year on this Earth. The theatrics of a live Alice Cooper show is well documented, and while many of the acts have been repeated thousands of times the show never seems old or stagnant. This band just simply gets into character and gives the crowd one of the best bargains in the entertainment industry.

Paving the way for future shock rockers like Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie to replicate, the original act still does it best. With theatrics rooted in century-old vaudeville performing arts with a morbid twist, Cooper does what modern counterparts can't: put on a show that's appropriate for all. In fact, it was refreshing to see how many youths were in attendance for an act that's been on the road since the 1970's. While there is theatrical violence and gore, the Cooper show doesn't contain all of the profanity and drug references that one would find at some other shock-rock shows. The reason is obvious. Alice Cooper doesn't need to. The music is the difference. The music stands up on its own and then enhances the performance to a point that the vulgar stuff simply isn't necessary.

There was intense participation from the crowd, even on the new songs, which is always great to see. Even at age 70, the performances continue to be top notch with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Cooper, who rarely engages in discussion with the crowd, even noted that the Huber Heights crowd was the best of the tour so far. With another show in Cincinnati on Tuesday, southwest Ohio has been rewarded with their support for this timeless band.

Highlights of the evening included Strauss and Sobel solos, an appearance by Frankenalice, a much-anticipated decapitation, and a prominently displayed Cincinnati Bengals patch on Cooper's jacket during the encore. T'was a nice touch for a show deep in the heart of Who Dey Nation.

Alice Cooper Set List 9/1/2018

1. Brutal Planet (2000)

2. No More Mr. Nice Guy (1973)

3. Under My Wheels (1971)

4. Billion Dollar Babies (1973)

5. Grim Facts (1980)

6. Lost In America (1994)

7. Serious (1978)

8. Fallen In Love (2017)

9. Woman Of Mass Destruction (2005)

10. Nita Strauss Guitar Solo

11. Poison (1989)

12. Halo Of Flies (drum solo) (1971)

13. Feed My Frankenstein (1991)

14. Cold Ethyl (1975)

15. Only Women Bleed (1975)

16. Paranoiac Personality (2017)

17. Ballad of Dwight Fry (1971)

18. Killer (1971)

19. I Love The Dead (1973)

20. I'm Eighteen (1970)

*Encore*

21. School's Out/Another Brick In The Wall (Pink Floyd cover) (1972)