On Tuesday night, the “Godfather of Shock Rock,” as he’s affectionately referred to, Alice Cooper, delivered an electrifying performance in Champaign.
Billed the “Too Close for Comfort” tour, Cooper and his exceptional band (guitarists Nita Strauss, Ryan Roxie, Tommy Henriksen, bassist Chuck Garric, and drummer Glen Sobel) visited State Farm Center to play for a rather full house of excited fans.
The stage show is the first new presentation by Alice & Co. in a few years. With stripped-down decor in comparison to previous tours, the stage generally was quite open for the musicians to traverse to each side and delight both sides of the audience. Behind the band were four large screens which projected videos in-line with the creepy, horror-filled elements of Cooper’s songs, with frames around each video to look like windows of a haunted house.
Props and tricks, however, remained just as thrilling as before, with bits in the show including a giant Frankenstein hobbling around during “Feed My Frankenstein,” a live constrictor wrapped around Cooper’s neck during the rare track “Snakebite” (which hasn’t been performed on another tour since 1991), and of course Cooper’s iconic beheading onstage.
Cooper’s voice sounds just as strong and piercing as it ever has at 75 years old, and the rocker showed an impressive range of songs spanning his entire lengthy career. Throughout the (roughly) hour-and-twenty-minute show, Cooper made no small talk with the audience but put all his efforts into playing the role of a psychotic madman, who ultimately gets beheaded after he tries to escape the asylum. Every effort of the night was put into delivering the songs as strong as when they were written, and Cooper delivered every one of them to dancing, singing, and engaged fans.
Equally as impressive as the legendary singer were his hand-picked band members, who are some of the most talented musicians in the rock world. Fans were delighted to see the return of Nita Strauss, who was absent from the Alice Cooper band for much of 2022 as she toured with former Disney star Demi Lovato’s band. The fan-favorite, Strauss had announced she would be returning to the Alice Cooper band for this tour, and she certainly delivered a powerful and electrifying performance alongside guitarists Roxie and Henriksen. One of the highlights of the evening was a guitar solo/jam onstage by the three guitarists titled “Black Widow” — absolutely one of the best guitar performances you will see live this year.
Cooper’s “Too Close For Comfort” tour is everything you would expect from one of his shows — thrills, horror, exciting and creepy visuals, and six musicians at the top of their game — but also with rare tracks twisted in, and even a dance routine by Cooper’s talented wife Sheryl. The show was very well-received by fans leaving the venue and on social media and was one not to miss.