All photography and content © John Raptis Photography 2020

Alice Cooper & Ace Frehley Live @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

No More Mr Nice Guy!

In what proved to be one of the hardest photo-passes to come across, I had contacted Ace Frehley’s manager months ago to get access to this gig. Team Ace were incredibly obliging and had sorted things out for me ample time before the gig. But, would my Ace Frehley access also grant me the opportunity to photograph Alice Cooper? Number two on my bucket list was just a breath away but I need to have it confirmed I could photograph both acts.

The day of the gig was a very nervous wait as my Editor and Publisher at HEAVY Magazine was trying to finalise my Alice Cooper media access for me.

I needn’t have worried. All was fine to photograph both acts!

I have photographed Ace Frehley on all of his last few Australian tours since 2010. So I was excited to be reacquainted with the one and only Spaceman once again. He looked and sounded the best I have seen him and played a fantastic set of KISS and Ace classics to a very, very receptive crowd. Was an incredible treat hearing a live rendition the KISS Dynasty deep-cut ‘Hard Times’.

All the photographers present were allowed to watch Ace’s complete set from the stage sidelines so that proved to be a real bonus. Usual protocol is to be escorted out of the arena once your photography allowance of three songs is done and dusted. So standing only feet away whilst Ace’s Les Paul is eliminating enough smoke to trigger off any smoke and or fire alarm in the vicinity!

And then it was time for the master. The king of shock rock. Alice Cooper. I had never photographed Alice over the last 10 years of photographing live music but he was firmly entrenched in my bucket list of acts to shoot. Finally the planet’s aligned and I was afforded this opportunity to be in Mr Cooper’s photo-pit.

Even after all these years of trading the stages of the world time and time again, Alice brings forth a show that is still as exciting, enthralling and damn right entertaining as the very first time he performed. It is a full blown production of mirth and mayhem which sees the main man backed by an incredibly tight and talented band.

Guitarist Nita Strauss takes hold of every square inch of the stage and throws every cock-rock/guitar hero pose known to man! And she does it with ease.

The band stun the crowd with hit after hit. Granted Alice has a fantastic new album out, it is the past hits the fans want to hear and this is exactly what the band deliver.

It truly was an incredible night in the photo pit and we were afforded the luxury of being able to photograph the first four songs. This is a very, very rare occurrence these days and I know that I can speak on behalf of all the photographers there, we were very thankful for the opportunity.

So yeah, I have finally photographed Alice Cooper! I hope you enjoy the photos before you as much as I did in capturing them!

Ace Frehley

Alice Cooper

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