DVD review: ALICE COOPER – Welcome To My Nightmare Special Edition

ALICE COOPER - Welcome To My Nightmare Special Edition

Eagle Rock [Release date 08.09.17]

Alice’s long available Welcome to My Nightmare, December 1975 Wembley, Empire Pool footage gets a 2017 ‘reboot’ with the addition of a same year TV special -  ‘Alice Cooper: The Nightmare’.  It’s the first time the latter has been made available on DVD, on which Alice, along with Vincent Price, showcases all the songs from the album.

Little needs to be said about the ’75 concert footage.  Originally filmed for cinema (it was a box office flop) it was released on VHS in ’81, and DVD in 2002 and documents Alice’s carefully choreographed solo debut album/tour in which he made the final transformation from depraved shock rocker to vaudeville style panto villain.

Technology restraints mean the footage is somewhat grainy, despite being shot for cinema, and while it leaves something to be desired by today’s standards, it’s a great keepsake of the tour/era.

I suspect most fans will already have a copy of the VHS and/or subsequent DVD release so, for most, the TV special will be the real ‘pull’ here.  And it’s an excellent end to end run through of the album with Alice hamming it up as Steven, and Vincent Price hamming it up even more.

The segued series of studio ‘videos’ use many of the stage production props and there’s some wonderful tongue in cheek performances from both Alice (you can see where Johnny Depp has modelled some of his Captain Sparrow characteristic from) and Price.

In many ways, it’s worth the admission price alone, and if you have the Welcome To My Nightmare album in your collection, then this is an essential accompaniment.  ****1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

These days Alice Cooper is almost rock music’s national treasure. In a career that has spanned six careers and encompassed such genres as shock rock, glam rock and now classic rock, this DVD collection takes us back to 1975.

Filmed at Wembley’s Empire Pool (now the SSE Wembley Arena) at the end of 1975, gone are the old guard as the original Cooper Band members have been replaced by hired hands and Alice himself is now a solo star. The songs that got him to this point are still there and the theatrics in his live show have now become, well, theatre- and then there are the dancers. Lots of them.

The band itself cannot be faulted and Alice Cooper has, since this first solo outing, always ensured that he has the best possible touring band he can – just look at some of the names of musicians that have passed through the ranks over the last forty years or so.

So, back to 1975, and the tour in support of the recently released “Welcome To My Nightmare” album. The live show contains such classics as “Billion Dollar Babies”, “Schools Out”, “No More Mr Nice Guy” and “Only Women Bleed”. It’s enjoyable to watch, even if the song “Some Folks” does go a bit cabaret.

The inclusion of the rarely seen 1975 TV Special “The Nightmare” is what makes this release the special edition that it is. Essentially it is the stage show shot for screen in a studio, but rather then live footage this TV special tells the story from the point of the character of Steven (Cooper) and featuring the legendary horror actor Vincent Price as The Spirit of The Nightmare. The songs, theatrics and dancers are all still there but at no point do we get to see the band. This matters not though as this is not intended as a live musical presentation.

The songs “Billion Dollar Babies” and “Schools Out” may be missing from the extravaganza, however, this is more than made up for by the inclusion of a superb version of “The Ballad of Dwight Fry”.

Old school fans of Alice Cooper will no doubt love “Welcome To My Nightmare (Special Edition)” but more recent converts may want to stick with more recent tour footage. ****

Review by Nikk Gunns

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