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Alice Cooper

Live at Montreux 2005 DVD

Review by Gary Hill

I've been an Alice Cooper fan for a very long time and have seen him live on numerous occasions. As such I suppose I'm a pretty good person to review this new DVD. Recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival (OK, does anyone besides me feel that it's about time they change that name) in 2005, there are good and bad things about this release. Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. Of all the lineups of the band I've seen, this new one probably does the least for me. Their stripped down hard rocking approach just doesn't hold a lot of the drama and dark fury that I have come to expect from Cooper. They are just a bit too rock and roll, if you know what I mean. Add to that the fact that the set list is not as strong as some of the recent tours have been and you'll see that I'm a bit disappointed here. Frankly, I've always felt that Cooper's album career has been inconsistent, and this is one of the valleys. The only other complaint comes from the fact that the sound, while excellent for most of the show, occasionally tanks. Most notably in the form of some nasty feedback from time to time. This is always short lived and doesn't really take away from the full performance. OK, that's all the negatives I have here. So, now let's look at what is good about this release.

First off, I like the fact that you not only get the DVD, but also a lot of the better tracks in CD format for use in your portable stereo, car system or wherever. It's always a nice touch when that sort of thing is included with a DVD. Now, I know I said that this lineup is weak in my opinion. The thing is, that's all relative. Even on a bad day Alice Cooper's live performance stand heads above the bulk of other musical acts. Also, from a strictly archival point of view it's also nice to have a visual documentation of a show from this grouping. I guess what that brings us to for a summary is that while there are better Alice Cooper DVD's out there ( Brutal Live is the first one that comes to mind) this is a good release. Die-hard fans like myself will want this one no matter what. For anyone who saw Cooper on his 2005 tour I'd say this is pretty essential, too. For the rest of you, perhaps you should pick up Brutal Live first, but if you already have that and are waiting patiently for more live Cooper, pick it up.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

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