Alice Cooper - Welcome To My Nightmare (Rhino/DVD) 1975/1999
1. Opening Credits
A classic live recording of Alice Cooper on his first "solo" tour. This one was originally released on the big screen back in the 70's, later released on VHS and finally in 1999 on DVD. The DVD version is digitally restored and features 5.1 stereo sound. The show here was outrageous with giant spiders and webs, giant toy boxes filled with demented characters, a Cyclops, and one of the coolest stage set ups ever created. Musically the band is tight, however, Alice isn't at his absolute best here, probably strung out on something. However, his performance certainly isn't bad either. The band goes through the classics stringing them together with the nightmare plot. Quite the awesome spectacle. I bet it would have been even cooler to have been there live. If only I had been old enough to see Alice on this tour.
Alice Cooper - Prime Cuts (Sanctuary) 2001
1. "I'm Eighteen"
"Prime Cuts" is a special 2-DVD documentary of Alice Cooper. Disc one contains the original Prime Cuts documentary and features some excellent classic, rare live concert footage and TV appearances. The interview footage is excellent. I thought it a wise decision to include interview footage with producer Bob Ezrin, who was a large part of the sound and success of Alice Cooper. My only complaint is that many of the songs are not featured in their entirety. This to me is quite annoying. While some songs are not cut, a good majority of them are. I would have preferred to have had less interview footage and more music. Another thing that I thought was rather odd was that they jumped from "Flush the Fashion" (1980) to "Trash" (1989) without even the mention of "Constrictor" and "Raise Your Fist and Yell", both of which were responsible for Alice's rise back to stardom in the heyday of 80s heavy metal. These complaints aside, this DVD was an enjoyable watch. Alice is a crackup at times and had me laughing out loud.
Disc 2 contains all sorts of extras including an interactive Alice Cooper game and a photo gallery. Unfortunately it's sort of a pain in the butt to get to. Many people, including myself, seem to have a problem getting past the 'Snakes & Ladders' game on the second DVD. There's a way to cheat this by using a short-cut to get past the silly game. Using the DVD players's remote control, manually input Title 2 and Chapter 1. That will take you directly to the over 80 minutes of never-before-seen interviews and concert footage.
Alice Cooper - Trashes the World (Epic) 2004
Most artist hit their prime and then go down hill. Few are as lucks as Alice to go back up and hit prime again. "Trashes the World" captures Alice and his band live during his prime during the 1989 "Trash" World Tour. The DVD includes what seems to be the entire concert and captures the raw power of Alice's music as well as the shock rocker's intense theatrical performance. Alice himself sounds great, his band is tight and the track listing includes a variety of material from the early 70's through the 80's. This DVD doesn't include anything in the way of added material, but the concert is enough to keep this Alice Cooper fan happy. Alice is the king of shock.
Alice Cooper's live shows are legendary. The spectacle of the show itself is almost as important as the music. Some would say the show is more important. I am not one who believes this. Frankly, I was glad that "Live at Montreux" included a CD as well as a DVD, even is the the CD is short a few songs. Rarely do I spend much time watching music, but I do spend a lot of time listening to it. So, it is that I will focus one first.
The show represented here was recorded on Alice's "Dirty Diamonds" tour. The song selection features most of the the Cooper classics that any long-time fan would hope for, as well as a good variety of newer songs. Personally, I wouldn't have minded have a few more songs off the highly underrated "Brutal Planet" and "Dragontown". Only "Gimme" from "Brutal Planet" makes it on the set list. From the newer CDs, we are given "Dirty Diamonds", "Between High School and The Old School" and "Woman of Mass Destruction". If I could have picked the set list, I might have also included "What Do You Want from Me?" and the haunting "This House Is Haunted". Obviously, Alice can not do every song everyone wants him to do. As such, this is very good set list and even includes some of my personal favorites like "Ballad of Dwight Fry" and "Department of Youth".
Clean and sober, alive and well, Alice sounds as good as he ever has, if not better. Together with his band of professionals, Alice pulls off a fine performance. The band pulls off each song to perfection. Some might even say they were too perfect, not having that same charm as the lose and lethal daze of the 70's. Drummer Eric Singer even offers up a tasty drum solo, that is unfortunately left off the CD, but is included on the DVD portion. Of course, what would an Alice Cooper show be without the theatrics. Included here are plenty of Alice's old tricks including the guillotine, the coffin, a dancer and several ghouls. However, Alice's performance is now PG13, as opposed to the R rating he might have received in the past. There was no crotch grabbing, foul language, or nudity like you might have seen in the past. Alice is happily married and sober for several years now and it shows in his performance. Alice might not be the household name that infuriates parents and delights teenagers any more, but he is still at the top of his game. (Alice's daughter even plays several roles in the stage show.)
My one minor complaint with the video portion of this release is that the producer decided to go with that annoying, choppy, MTV music video format rather than just giving us a front row ticket to the performance. Many time the shots are less that a couple seconds long before cutting to another view. It's all a bit spastic. Thankfully during the "Welcome to My Nightmare" medley, in which a lot of the theatrics happen, the shots become less spastic. Perhaps the people working the cameras, or the director was so captivated by what was happening on stage he felt the need to give the viewers a few extra seconds to take everything in before changing angles.
For those audiophiles who care about having perfect sound and are worried about live recordings, Live at Montreux features great sound in choice of Dolby Stereo, Dolby 5.1 or DTS. This video is available on DVD and Blueray disc.