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Alice Cooper brought the roar of the crowd and the smell of the greasepaint back to Tucson’s AVA Amphitheater on June 22. Cooper is considered a native Arizonan as he has lived in Phoenix since he was a lad. Cooper has lived the touring carnival life for greater than 50 years. He built his persona on the adage that a great rock band has to be rebellious and outrageous. He mentioned in a recent AXS interview that ‘being different’ is missing from today’s rock bands.

Cooper has perfected his character as the king of shock-rock and enjoys performing five days a week in full makeup and multiple costumes much like a demented circus master of ceremony. It is hard to imagine that Alice Cooper grew up as a preacher’s son.

This show had almost all of the Alice Cooper characters, props, the choreography, his snake, and mini musical acts that fans love and expect. The show started with “Brutal Planet” and the pyro kicked in and the fans gasped. Cooper appeared with his trademark sneer as he looked into the crowd.

Underneath the beheading, the Frankenstein, the ragdoll episode, and the straitjacket, the music is at the core of the show. Alice still has his strong, raspy voice. He lives by the rule that there are never too many guitars in the band and his guitarists are the “cream of the crop.” Nita Strauss had early guitar solos, but she did not overshadow guitarists, Tommy Henriksen and Ryan Roxie. Glen Sobel got his drumming solo spot. Chuck Garric rounded out the band on bass. Each band member was animated and totally engaging throughout the set.

The set list contained songs going back to Mr. Cooper’s early career from “Cold Ethyl,” “Ballad of Dwight Fry” to the bigger hits “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “I’m Eighteen,” and “School’s Out.” For a complete set list, please click here.

Dash Cooper’s band, Co-Op, opened the show with an energetic 40-minute set of metal songs. Dash is the lead singer while Mark Savale plays drums. Court Stumpf plays lead guitar. Justin Swartzentruber is on bass and Kolby Peoples rounds out the band on rhythm guitar. These guys have developed into a fantastic rock band worthy of more attention than they have garnered so far. They are from Phoenix.

This show was testimony that Alice Cooper is keeping the “circus” alive in rock music and he does it so well. Young rock bands would do well to learn from the master. In the meantime, Alice keeps it rolling with aplomb.

As an addendum, July marks the 23rd anniversary of Casino Del Sol. AVA Amphitheater is marking the anniversary with great music and fireworks. They have booked seven shows in July for fans to enjoy.

The War/Terra and Malo show with special guests Felipe Esparza and Paul Rodriguez get things started on July 1.

A free fireworks extravaganza will light up the Tucson skies  to celebrate the 4th of July with music, food and more on July 3.

Lynyrd Skynyrd will rock the stage on July 13.

Journey will thrill the fans on July 18. Asia will open the show.

I Love the 90s part 2 will present TLC and many more on July 23.

For more information on the rest of the shows and ticket information, please click here.