Alice Cooper at Huntington Bank Pavilion in Chicago, IL

It was the final show of the season at Chicago’s Northerly Island and what better way to go out in style than with Alice Cooper.It has been a quieter year than usual at the Huntington Bank Pavilion due to the impact of Covid-19 on concert tours. This is one of those venues that very much sums up summer in Chicago where you get to enjoy live music with a beer in hand, situated right on the lakefront where you can take in the beautiful cityscape as the sun sets behind it. This was the last show of 2021 to take place here and with Chicago’s weather, you’ll understand why. The moment it was announced that Fall was here, the temperatures started to take a dip and the final show was being threatened with some windy and stormy weather. Luckily, the rain mostly stayed away so the fans got to enjoy the show in its entirety, albeit a little windier than usual. 

The night of Motor City rock began with original KISS guitarist, Ace Frehley. The set was made up of songs primarily from his days with KISS, such as “Detroit Rock City,” “Deuce,” and “Rocket Ride.” The Spaceman was greeted with cheers from the crowd as he performed his signature smoking guitar move during his guitar solo section. 

The stage lights swaying in the wind added to the eerie haunted castle, two-tier stage setup vibe. There was no messing around as the guitar-heavy band burst out onto the stage with the opening song, “Feed My Frankenstein.” If ever there was a perfect way to start a set, this was it! One by one we saw Glen Sobel take to his drum kit, with fellow bandmates Nita Strauss, Tommy Henriksen, Ryan Roxie, and Chuck Garric each taking to their positions, striking a pose and letting rip. Just a few moments later, Alice Cooper joined them on stage as he was welcomed by cheers from the excited crowd. Many members of the audience had left their seats and flocked to the front railing to get as close as they could to the action. 

The shock rocker is known for his show theatrics, and it wasn’t long before the mighty Frankenstein’s monster came out to terrorize them as performed the first song of the evening. That wasn’t the last we saw of Frankenstein’s monster as he made a reappearance later in the set, trying once again to take on Alice Cooper. 

Whilst the theatrics, makeup, and various characters are such a prevalent part of any Alice Cooper show, and let’s face it, it’s a huge part of the attraction to these shows, it doesn’t take away from the abundance of talent and  musicianship present. Nita Strauss, Tommy Henriksen, and Ryan Roxie complement each other perfectly. Chuck Garric and Glen Sobel provide the strong heartbeat of the band. While each band member is always given their time to shine during these shows, it feels like the current lineup is a well-oiled machine now and they were more front and center than usual. Not that we’re complaining. 

If Alice Cooper was to take to an empty stage by himself, you couldn’t help but be entertained. But add the showmanship, the characters, the musicianship of the band, and the stage show, there was always something (if not several things at one time) to grab your attention by the goolies and keep you entertained from beginning to end. 

The show was technically in support of Cooper’s latest release, Detroit Stories, but they actually only performed two songs from that album. Much to the crowd’s delight, the staple classics “Poison,” “I’m Eighteen,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” and “Billion Dollar Babies” were ever-present. 

As sad as we are that this show seemingly marked the end of summer, we’re glad to have gone out with a bang rather than a whimper. As the crowd filtered out from the pavilion, and the rain began to come down, it didn’t matter. We’d had our show and nothing was going to spoil that. 

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About Kirstine Walton 383 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!