Although some highlights from Alice Cooper‘s performance at last year’s Wacken Open Air festival were featured in the “Live at Wacken 2013” DVD released earlier this year, UDR Records are beginning to release artists whole sets in special CD/DVD packages and Alice Cooper is the first in what will hopefully be a long line of releases to come.
Of course, Alice needs no bigging up at this point in his career, having seen and done everything there is to do in a career in rock music that spans nearly half a century, and that is kind of the point of this set as the idea of the Raise the Dead Tour was to pay homage to The Hollywood Vampires, a group of rock stars – including Cooper, John Lennon, Keith Moon, Micky Dolenz and Ringo Starr – who used to get together and try to out drink each other, and some of the other fellow hellraisers who fell by the wayside along the way, like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.
So as well as some banging versions of Cooper classics like ‘Poison’, ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ and a storming ‘School’s Out’, plus some of the best material from recent albums including ‘I’ll Bite Your Face Off’ and ‘Dirty Diamonds’, we also get some spirited covers of Hendrix‘s ‘Foxy Lady’, The Doors‘ ‘Break on Through’, The Who‘s ‘My Generation’ and a snippet of Pink Floyd‘s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’, and hearing Alice pay homage to his former drinking buddies in such flamboyant style sounds great, and if you were there on the day it probably sounded a hundred times better.
With such a full set of songs there’s not a lot of room for filler and thankfully Alice sticks to the hits and notable album tracks. The three-guitar line-up of Alice’s band looks good on the stage but, like most other three-guitar bands that aren’t Lynyrd Skynyrd, sound-wise having three guitars doesn’t actually make that much of a difference unless somebody is soloing. The recruitment of Orianthi to his touring band was a masterstroke though, as her ghoulish look and gunslinging style adds another dynamic to the band’s performance. As with 99.9% of live albums, if you’re not a fan of the artist then there’s no reason why this would convert you but if you’re an Alice Cooper fan then this live package is an excellent document of a performer in the latter years of his career still able to deliver the goods with a band who can put on a show. And keep your ears open for the studio covers album that’ll pay tribute to The Hollywood Vampires, due next year.