Alice Cooper at the Macon Centreplex Oct. 18

Macon, Ga., had a ghoulish surprise in store for them when shock rock legend Alice Cooper came to town on Oct. 18. The crowd came dressed in macabre make-up and black eyeliner ready for a night of pure, unadulterated, horrific fun. Alice took the stage at 8:15 p.m. Three black-hooded figures took down the curtain and carried it off the stage. A giant blast went off and the Godfather of Shock Rock appeared from the top of a staircase. Accompanying him was a five piece band that included three guitarists. The crowd went into a frenzy and the band launched in to “Hello Hooray” from the seminal 1973 album Billion Dollar Babies. The madness ceased to stop as Alice and crew rolled through classic rock staples “No More Mr. Guy” and “Under My Wheels.” The boisterous crowd could not get enough as they sang the chorus much to the delight of Mr. Cooper.

Alice Cooper’s band pulled out all of the stops, playing with conviction and ferocity. The group gives Cooper’s older material a metallic boost while adding some technicality to the songs. One of the highlights of the show was Nita Strauss, the newest guitarist in the group. She has played with Alice since June, but knows the songs like she has played them for 30 years. She is a virtuoso in the highest degree, playing several standout solos throughout the night. Guitarists Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henriksen got the crowd moving as well with hellish riffs. The group’s tight musicianship did not lag as the members kept the audience occupied while Alice changed wardrobe backstage. In fact, I did not notice any delay in the change in wardrobe or stage props.

The Macon Centreplex Coliseum impressed me as a first timer. The acoustics of the venue were clear and crisp. The band played loud, but never sounded indecipherable, and one could clearly hear each instrument. The venue has a capacity of over 9,000. On this night, the venue was one-third, to one-half full. However, that did not stop the band from putting on a stellar show. Alice used all of his signature props, including the guillotine and the colossal Frankenstein monster during the song “Feed my Frankenstein.” The group ended it on a high note with the encore “School’s Out.” The song was complete with confetti and balloons splashed across the audience.

Alice Cooper more than delivered in Macon, Ga. Halloween came early and it was certainly full of tricks and treats.

 

Gallery – Alice Cooper at Macon, Georgia 10/2014

 

Live Review: Styx in Macon, GA Oct. 5

There are few bands with a live performance pedigree as long as the one Styx has created over the past forty years. When the music industry imploded, the members of Styx were savvy enough to create a new business model and sidestep any potential career and financial fallout. Realizing that their fans would be more inclined to hear the band’s greatest hits than to take a chance on new music, Styx began a seemingly never-ending world tour. In truth, the band is just enjoying the sweet life that most rock and roll musicians could only dream of. Styx spends over 2/3 of their year traveling the world and playing their hits live to thousands of audiences made up of eager fans of all ages.

On Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 Styx brought their “Evening with Styx” show to Macon, Georgia for the first time. Their performance at the Macon Centreplex kicked off with the crunching guitars and pounding rhythm of their opening music, “Drastic Measures” and it’s accompanying light show. As band members Tommy, JY, Todd, Ricky and Lawrence took the stage in the shadows, the audience members leapt to their feet and began cheering the band on. When the intro finished, the stage lights turned on and the band started the night off with “The Grand Illusion.”

 

The next two hours were filled with most of Styx’s greatest hits from as far back as the song that first launched them into the limelight in 1974, “Lady.” As Lawrence Gowan promised in his interview with Target Audience Magazine, the band made sure to hit all the right notes with their fans. Their stream of hits included “Blue Collar Man,” “Fooling Yourself,” “Too Much Time on my Hands,” and “Crystal Ball.” Almost every album in their history was represented in some fashion, including a verse of “Mr. Roboto,” jokingly played by Lawrence Gowan during his classic rock homage.

Original bassist, Chuck Panozzo, joined the rest of the band for a handful of songs as well. Half way through the night, Styx paid their respects to The Allman Brothers and their connection to Macon, by performing their cover of “One Way Out” off of Big Bang Theory.

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Tommy Shaw

Styx even surprised the fans with a few songs not normally played in their live show, including “Lights” from Cornerstone and “Suite Madame Blue” from Equinox. As usual, the main set was closed with the song that Cartman from “South Park” made famous again, “Come Sail Away,” followed by their encore performances of “Rockin’ the Paradise” and “Renegade.”

If you have never seen Styx live, then you are depriving yourself of a truly great rock and roll experience. The next time you see them show up on your local amphitheater’s schedule, do yourself a favor and go. You will be thrust back in time to an era where rock and roll was the go-to formula for Top 40 and seeing a band perform live was the preferred way to have a good time.

Find out when Styx is performing in your area by visiting their website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Gallery: Styx at The Macon City Auditorium 10/5/2014