Alice Cooper – Brutally Live

Alice Cooper — The man’s done it all, and did a lot of it before most of us were born. Can you imagine a band throwing a live chicken into a pit, only to watch the crowd tear it apart? Yeah, well Alice Cooper did it — IN 1969. Alice Cooper defined so much of what heavy metal is today, bands should be sending him 10% of their income in gratitude.

Growing up, my dad had a couple of Alice Cooper albums on his record shelf. I never listened to them because the covers actually scared me. One look at that guy with mascara and snakes and I was out of there. I didn’t become a fan until seventh grade, when I heard Raise Your Fist And Yell, a CD I still spin from time to time. Despite the fact that I’ve been listen to ‘Coop for over fifteen years now, I’ve never had the chance to catch him live — until now, on Brutally Live, the new DVD/CD combo pack from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

Recorded live at Labatt’s Apollo in Hammersmith, England on July 19th, 2000, Brutally Live contains both a DVD and a CD. The DVD clocks in at 105 minutes and contains 25 songs. Due to CD length limitations, it only contains 20 of the 25 tracks.

As far as I’m concerned, Alice Cooper invented the stage show. While other bands were wearing suits and smiling like idiots on stage, Alice Cooper was throwing fake body parts at his fans and dodging babies hanging from nooses on stage. Age has not slowed the man in the slightest. At the beginning of the DVD, Alice is introduced to the crowd by some sort of half-rotten corpse, a special effect David Blaine would impressed by. During “Dead Babies”, Cooper pulls a grotesque two-headed half-deformed/half-wolf baby from a baby carraige, stabs in the back with a sword, and displays it proudly to the crowd. If you’ve never had to opportunity to see Alice Cooper’s famous guillotine act, here’s your chance. Just because your dad may have listened to him doesn’t make this your dad’s DVD.

The track list pretty much spans Alice Cooper’s entire career. Classics like “Dead Babies”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, “I’m Eighteen”, “School’s Out” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy” all make appearances, as well as material from Cooper’s latest album (at the time), Brutal Planet. My only complaint was that nothing from Raise Your Fist And Yell made it into the set list. Still, with 25 tracks, everyone who even remotely likes Alice Cooper will surely find something they like here.

One thing I really liked about the DVD was that the songs tend to blend together pretty well. You can still tell the older songs from the newer ones by the way they’re written, but with the same band and production on every track, the line between the years seems to blur pretty well. Better than say on a greatest hits package where a 35 year difference in production quality is blatantly obvious.

Sure, there are a few rock cliches here, like a drum solo with drumsticks on fire and several costume changes. Of course you have to realize, when Alice Cooper started this wild rock and roll ride, they weren’t cliches then. He invented half of them. Cooper also takes the opportunity to throw a few friendly jabs at some of his comtemporaries, first by referring to Marilyn Manson, Ozzy Osbourne, and KISS as his “disobedient children”, and later by wearing a t-shirt that says “Britney Wants Me… Dead.” It’s only rock and roll, baby.

The DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen format, and contains 2.0, 5.0 (surround), and DTS audio tracks. The DTS track in particular shook my living room walls. Also included is one bonus video (“Gimmie”), alternate camera angles, and links to additional Alice Cooper downloads via his website. While it’s a little thin on extras, the important things (good video and great sound) are there in full force.

Alice Cooper fan or not, people should check out Brutally Live. For twenty bucks, you get both the DVD AND the audio CD. Brutally Live catches Alice Cooper in top form, and preserves the legacy of one of the masters at his game.

01. Brutal Planet
02. Gimme
03. Go to Hell
04. Blow Me a Kiss
05. I’m Eighteen
06. Pick Up the Bones
07. Feed My Frankenstein
08. Wicked Young Man
09. Dead Babies
10. Ballad of Dwight Fry
11. I Love the Dead
12. The Black Widow
13. No More Mr. Nice Guy
14. It’s Hot Tonight
15. Caught in a Dream
16. It’s the Little Things
17. Poison
18. Take It Like a Woman
19. Only Women Bleed
20. You Drive Me Nervous
21. Under My Wheels
22. School’s Out
23. Billion Dollar Babies
24. My Generation
25. Elected

Comments are closed.