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I was surprised that nobody bothered to comment on this film... so I
thought I should say just a few words to make a start.
"Welcome To my Nightmare", a concert recording from 1975, is really enjoyable to watch. It is a must for every Alice Cooper fan and it is worth a try for everybody who loves classic rock music and/or horror films!
Never take anything too serious and you might enjoy it the most - I guess Alice Cooper does not take himself too serious and is proud of his bad taste.
The concert includes some of his hits and well-known classics like "Only Women Bleed", "Steven" and "School's Out", of course. There's something for everybody. The show is designed after old horror movies or is at least heavily inspired by them and sometimes it gets quite bizarre, but that's part of the fun. It may look old-fashioned to some people - that is a question of personal taste...
I can also recommend the film "Good To See You Again, Alice Cooper" from the Billion Dollar Babies Tour. :)
I seen this one a couple of years ago, and it is always fun to watch.
Cooper made this as a last ditch attempt to rise his career from the
after the classic Alice Cooper Band dissolved. Producer Bob Ezrin was a
major ingredient in this production as well, showing how he uses some
elements that were not common in the rock and roll vein. He uses these
elements later on for future high profile projects such as Pink Floyd's
Wall and Kiss Destroyer. Cooper and Ezrin came up with Welcome To My
Nightmare, the album and broadway play. The main theme is Alice
a demented individual named Steven, who displays an array of emotions
as amusement, confusion, anger, and mostly fear. Steven encounters
giant spiders, a giant cyclops, and dances like Fred Astaire. This play
incorporates the "Nightmare" music as well as some Alice Cooper Classics.
don't know if calling it a "play" is too accurate (I used it for lack of
better term), it is more like several music videos back to back, as there
hardly any dialogue between numbers. "concert" may not be an accurate
either, due to the concept involved. This production was unique for it's
day. It has a demented aura from start to almost finish (the last 2
were too upbeat to follow through the theme).
Alice does a great job portraying Steven. Alice Cooper was an "alter ego" of sorts to Vincent Furnier (Alice's real name), and Steven appears to be an additional alter ego of his as well in a professional sense. I know this all sounds like mumbo-jumbo, but to an Alice Cooper fan it all makes sense.
Interesting to note:
Alice Cooper met his future wife during the making of "Nightmare."
A lot about "Nightmare" as well as Alice's full career was outlined in a VH1 Behind the Music episode. Definitely worth watching if you liked "Nightmare."
I can tell you that this was still a favorite among fans who were still
mourning the loss of the original Alice Cooper Group, from Pretty
Things to Muscle of Love; we gave Alice a chance as a solo artist.
I knew Alice from backstage at the 1972 Killer/School's Out concerts (and as the president of the only Glen Buxton Fan Club, per Janice Buxton) and a local Nashville Pro/Celeb Golf Tournament where I spent 5 days with Alice...as long as I called my parents as to where I was, at age 16, I had carte blanche for any party Alice attended.
The "Welcome to My Nightmare" tour was very special. At the after-concert party with Shep Gordon, Dave Libert, Prakash John, Whitey Glan and other new band members, an incredible thing happened. As I was standing amongst these people and two feet away from Alice, Sheryl Goddard entered the room to talk to Alice, only days into the "Welcome" tour. It was like one of those dreams where the entire room stopped spinning in its tracks and the only thing we saw were Alice and Sheryl talking. Sheryl left and the party started up again.
Seeing this DVD tonight was a travel back in time to 1975, seeing Alice in a wonderful stage show that included his wife of 30 years.
Some things never change, as it should be! This is a fantastic time piece concert for ALL Alice Cooper fans, new and old.
This film is an Alice Cooper concert at the Wembley Arena in London
from 1975. It probably does help to be a fan of Alice Cooper to watch
this film (in the same way as people who dislike ballet will probably
not care that they have just seen a really good ballet because it will
still do nothing for them). However I watched it partly out of
curiosity but also because I am always curious to see how films play
when they are not being watched by their target audience. In other
words I always assume that a genre film will do the basics to please
genre fans but what marks it out is how it plays to audience who have a
more general requirement. The parallel is perhaps not great but
essentially I was interested to see if the concert was "just for fans"
or if it worked for the casual viewer as well.
Well, for me it sort of did but probably not in the way that it will work for fans. In my experience of the man (much later in his career) Cooper was always a rocker with a sense of flamboyance, being OTT and not taking it too seriously. I know a few of his songs but his best are behind him by decades and it is only really the couple of biggest hits that get regular airings that the casual viewer will take from this film. What made it worth seeing for my money was the sense of period.
The show itself is a wonderfully camp rock concert that made me understand just what it was that Spinal Tap was spoofing. The show is set in Cooper's bedroom where we have creatures dancing around only to disappear into a massive toy box, skeletons coming out during Steven, him beating a woman unconscious during "Only Women Bleed", a giant spider's web, a big furry Cyclops and other weird moments that make up his stage show. It is a million miles away from the modern rock concerts where songs are performed, pyrotechnics explode and those who are about to rock are saluted etc. Within these weird happenings on stage, Cooper is a good fit. Dressed in a sort of adult romper suit and in his famous black eye makeup Cooper staggers round totally bought into the action he is part of. OK at times I was laughing and unable to take it seriously but to a point I guess that was the aim.
The production of the film as well as the action dates it as it is obviously not up to modern standards. The sound is not as crisp as you would like, which didn't bother me too much but what did bug me was the fact that it had comparatively little crowd noise on the soundtrack. Similarly the crowd are mostly missing visually and I would have liked to see more crowd shots just to get a feel for how all this stuff was going down with them it was only in School's Out where we got to see and hear them, which suggests their reactions up till that point had perhaps not been good enough to make it onto the film. Otherwise the action is filmed from several well placed but mostly static cameras quality is a bit fuzzy but it comes with the territory.
Overall then a strangely enjoyable concert film. It goes without saying that Cooper fans will enjoy it but for the casual viewer it is a wonderfully weird concert that delights as a camp throwback to rock of the day. Sure, at times you're laughing at it but mostly it is entertaining.
I saw this in either the late 70s or early 80s on television in
Pennsylvania on a horror movie program. At that time, I was getting
over the fear of him, or actually the snakes. I have hated snakes since
I stood on one when I was six. But, he is a great showman and his stage
antics made an excellent show/concert.
Any fan of the Masters or classics have to see this. I cannot figure out what my favorite part of it was, but Vincent Price was a great touch. It is strange that "Welcome to my Nightmare" was considered "acid rock" and now is seems so much more mellow compared to today's music.
I lived in Phoenix and just about everyone there knows him or has met him a few times and he is very approachable and a great guy. He gives back a lot to the community and does a lot of good with some of his fund raisers. Not to mention, he owns half the town. He should run for governor again, "a messed up governor for a messed up state" is an understatement for those who live or have lived in Arizona.
But, any one interested in the History of Rock needs to see this. It is a great story and he is a great showman and puts on a good show.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When Alice went solo in 1975, he became an even bigger commercial success than before. Instead of five inebriated rock'n'roll dudes on stage, there was only one, and he was buoyed up by a professional team of musicians and dancers. All he had to do was stay in tune and not fall over. This show makes an interesting comparison with the 'Good To See You Again, Alice Cooper' DVD, which was shot in 1973 and presented a much edgier, darker 'Alice', along with the original band. From 1975 onwards, much of the spontaneity (both musical and theatrical) was replaced by scripted split-second discipline and inflexible stage-cue timing. While this made for fine rock theater, the 'Welcome To My Nightmare' show was at several removes from a great rock gig. Also gone were the provocative, challenging elements. A slightly nasty bout of mannequin-bashing aside, you could have taken your kids to this show. Just this side of Sid and Marty Krofft, in fact. Musically and visually, the hired-hands musical crew are less prominent, and impart a certain leaden stodginess to their interpretations of their forbears' work. Mostly though, the set list covers the vocalist's first solo album, and the band sounds far better performing their studio work live. Even so, the lengthy 'spider battle' guitar duel which opens 'Devil's Food' will have all but the most dedicated fretboard enthusiasts reaching for the remote and sweet, merciful 'fast forward'. Essentially though, this is a show, not a gig, and on its own terms, it is an enjoyable one. If you like the 'Welcome To My Nightmare' album, you'll need this. A little bit rock'n'roll, a little bit pantomime, a whole lot of tipsy staggering and slurring from the vocalist, call it 'Alice Lite', grab a beer and have some silly fun.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare album was a classic, and his supporting tour was amazing, yet the video documenting that tour is downright awful. As interesting as the tour might have been, the video and audio quality on the tape are so horrible that viewers will have a hard time deciding which song is playing and figuring out if the colorful frogman running around on stage is Alice Cooper, a dancer or a band member. As provocative as the video may be, considering it was one of his most entertaining tours ever, fans should be advised that Welcome to My Nightmare is a complete waste of money and is not even worth attempting to watch. If only the concert had been filmed with higher quality equipment, it just might have been his best video release yet.
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