Album review: ALICE COOPER – Brutally Live

Alice Cooper - Brutally Live

Salvo (CD/DVD) [Release date]

It’s ironic that as Brutally Live is about to be re-released, the whole concert has been broadcast on BBC4.  So if you’ve been watching the TV schedules you’ll hopefully have had the good sense to either watch or record this truly exceptional live performance.

Filmed at the Hammersmith Apollo in July 2000, the turn of the century marked a reinvigoration and appreciation of Alice Cooper and the Brutal Planet tour laid the foundations of the current show.  And I must admit to being taken aback by the quality – both of the performance and its capture.

While the Brutal Planet album features prominently the material is interspersed and dovetails seamlessly with classic after classic -I’m Eighteen, Feed My Frankenstein, No More Mr Nice Guy, Poison, Only Women Bleed, Under My Wheels, School’s Out, Billion Dollar Babies and Elected, to name but a few.

It may be a subtly different presentation to more recent tours, but Alice Cooper is the ultimate showman and knows not to meddle drastically with a winning formula, so many of the same props appear – swords, whips, guillotines, Frankenstein’s monster – in a set that, from the off, is delivered at an unrelenting pace.

The quality of the video footage and editing is first class capturing perfectly the visual and musical spectacle of an Alice Cooper gig.  As always he has the very best of supporting casts, including daughter Calico who plays the part of the nurse and the masked whip wielding dominatrix.

It’s pure entertainment and as well as looking and sounding great, it’s a show guaranteed to put a smile on your face, in particular Alice sporting a T-shirt proclaiming Britney Wants Me across the chest, with ‘Dead’ emblazoned across the back.

Even the dreaded drum solo is pure showmanship as Eric Singer pummels his kit with flaming drumsticks, and the way he catches Alice’s casually flung top hat on one of his sticks at the end of the show (was that rehearsed?) is theatrical brilliance.

Quite whether the recent TV broadcast will enhance or hinder sales, I’m not sure.  But for a tenner this deluxe CD / DVD package complete with 8 page booklet is a no brainer.  Quite possibly the best Alice Cooper live DVD I’ve seen.  *****

Review by Pete Whalley


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