Daily’s Place in Jacksonsville, Florida on October 9, 2021 played host to two of the most iconic rock stars of our generation on Saturday night — Alice Cooper, supported by Ace Frehley. This was my first trip to this facility, which is a gorgeous amphitheater in downtown Jacksonville that is in the same complex shared with TIAA Bank Field where the NFL football team the Jaguars play.
The afternoon Florida weather was perfect (not too hot!), which probably was of benefit to the older crowd that was lined up early to get in. Plenty of fans — many with their kids! — that were dressed up in their best Alice Cooper or Space Ace look. This of course, is reminiscent of what you would see when attending a KISS show too. While not dressed up, my 16-year-old guitarist son was on hand with me to take in a guitar-a-palooza evening. Both of these bands are filled with some amazing guitar players, including the Spaceman (Frehley) himself.
Frehley and his band took the stage first, opening with KISS’s “Rocket Ride.” What immediately impresses you about Frehley’s band is how energetic they all are, but not to the point that they are distracting from the main attraction being Ace. Frehley standing center stage, still just oozes coolness after all these decades. He works his Gibson guitar like an artist with a canvas.
I suppose the most important thing to note is that the majority of the set was made of up KISS classics. To the delight of the crowd songs included “Parasite,” “Strutter,” “Detroit Rock City,” “Shock Me,” “Cold Gin/Black Diamond,” and “Deuce.” Frehley continues to mimic his KISS antics from the past (beyond throwing out dozens of guitar picks), including uses his light up guitar and his smoking guitar (during “Shock Me”). Through it all, Frehley’s playing is mesmerizing, supported by a super-tight band that is seemingly having a ton of fun traveling with such a rock legend.
ACE FREHLEY BAND:
Setlist (10/9/21, Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Florda):
1. Rocket Ride (KISS song)
2. Parasite (KISS song)
3. Strutter (KISS song)
4. Rip It Out
5. Medley of Never in My Life (Mountain cover) and Good Times Bad Times (Led Zeppelin cover)
6. Detroit Rock City (KISS song)
7. New York Groove (Russ Ballard cover)
8. Shock Me (KISS song)
9. Cold Gin/Black Diamond (KISS song)
10. Deuce (KISS song)
Once Frehley and his bandmates exited, the Alice Cooper stage curtain was dropped in place. At that moment I realize that while I have enjoyed Cooper’s musical catalog over the years, and I am ashamed to write this, I have never seen him live. Fortunately this bucket list concert was now going to be scratched off my list on a gorgeous October fall night in Jacksonville.
As the amphitheater’s lights dropped, the crowd erupted. Cooper’s intro music blared out, followed by the stage curtain being removed. Then, with an opening of the castle doors, Cooper donned in his top hat and black coat walked purposefully to the front of the stage as the band broke into “Feed My Frankenstein.”
Now, having never attended an Alice Cooper show before, all I knew to expect was from the stories I had heard or from watching YouTube videos. It is much different in person, especially when you are so close to the stage watching Cooper stalk around engaging with the audience. While Cooper slowly crept his way back and forth across the stage, his band, Ryan Roxie (guitar), Chuck Garric (bass), Tommy Henriksen (guitar), and Nita Strauss (guitar) are running around playing off each other’s energy.
Being more of a casual Cooper fan, I certainly enjoyed hearing and singing along to a good portion of the set list I was familiar with, including “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Hey Stoopid,” “I’m Eighteen,” “Poison,” and “Teenage Frankenstein.” Not only does Cooper’s 73-year-old voice stand the test of time, but the three-guitar powerhouse of Roxie, Henriksen and Strauss bring depth (and loudness!) to the entire set list.
But let’s be honest, Alice Cooper’s show is meant to be far more than just the music; it is musical theater. Fortunately I happened to be sitting next to an avid set of fans and I had a warning to pay attention for each theatrical event that was coming. “Here comes the giant baby!,” or “Alice is coming out in a straitjacket,” or “Bring out the guillotine and cut off his head!” was helpful narration. Cooper clearly enjoys getting immersed in the parts, whether swinging his sword around, cradling a baby doll, or popping giant balloons and smoke bubbles with his dagger. No matter how many times these avid fans may have seen these gags before, they were seemingly loving every minute of it like it was the first time.
With the evening winding down, the band concluded the night with Cooper’s “School’s Out” (with a medley of “Another Brick in the Wall)” as the encore. Cooper came out for the final song and through a stream of floating smoke bubbles, dressed in a white top hat and coat over a No. 18 (get it?) Jacksonville Jaguars-colored jersey shirt. The crowd responded with a deafening sing-along of this hit, reacting to Cooper’s call, while huge balloons filled with confetti were bouncing around the lower bowl.
Perhaps though the most fitting way to end the show, after Cooper took a bow, was reminding the crowd that “it is almost Halloween. And I own Halloween!” Yes, Alice, yes you do.
ALICE COOPER BAND:
Alice Cooper – lead vocals, harmonica, guitar, percussion, synthesizer (1964–present)
Ryan Roxie – lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1996–2006, 2012–present)
Chuck Garric – bass guitar, backing vocals (2002–present)
Tommy Henriksen – rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals (2011–present)
Glen Sobel – drums, percussion (2011–present)
Nita Strauss – lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2014–present)
Setlist (10/9/21, Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Florida):
1. Feed My Frankenstein
2. No More Mr. Nice Guy
3. Bed of Nails
4. Hey Stoopid
5. Fallen in Love
6. Go Man Go
7. Under my Wheels
8. He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)
9. Rock & Roll (The Velvet Underground cover)
10. I’m Eighteen
12. Billion Dollar Babies
13. Roses on White Lace
14. My Stars
15. Devil’s Food
16. Black Widow Jam
18. Dead Babies
19. I Love the Dead
21. Teenage Frankenstein
22. School’s Out
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