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The Nightmare Returns (DVD)
Released: 2006, Universal Music
In October people start to get geared up for Halloween, the Heavy Metal holy day. One performer who epitomizes Halloween like no other is Alice Cooper. To celebrate the month of Halloween I decided to go back and review four of his live concerts; one from the 70's, (The Strange Case Of Alice Cooper) one from the 80's, (The Nightmare Returns) one from the 90's (Alice Cooper Trashes The World) and one from 00's. (Brutally Live). Feel free to enjoy all the reviews in this feature.
This Alice Cooper concert has some more personal meaning for me. One of the very fist concerts I ever saw was Alice Cooper on the Constrictor tour back on March 31st of 1987. This concert was filmed just 150 days earlier on Halloween in 1986 just a few shows into his comeback tour. Although I didn’t know it at the time,the show I saw in Calgary, Alberta was the final night of his ’86-’87 Constrictor tour. I saw the VHS version of THE NIGHTMARE RETURNS a few times over the years and now I’m reviewing the DVD which came out in 2006.
THE DVD is simple, it has a small booklet and two bonus video’s, one of them oddly enough the video for ‘Freedom’ which came from the subsequent album and tour. Weird. The whole thing has been re-mastered with 5.1 sound. It looks good for a 25+ year old show. The DVD cover is a bit weak, a couple blurry images of Alice sort of super-imposed on the top of each other. The menus and graphics are decent. By modern multi-HD camera standards the video is a bit weak but it is a pro-shot multi-camera show, maybe 5-6 cameras capturing the action.
Alice and his new band of LA. leather glad, white-hot, young guns (I call them the KKK squad…Ken Mary on drums, Kip Winger on bass and Kane Roberts on guitar) tear it up while the madness swirls around them. The junkyard set makes the stage look crowded but it work well. Alice looks alive and revitalized, a little worse for wear but waaay better than on his last concert film from 1979, THE STRANGE CASE OF ALICE COOPER where he was an emaciated wreck. They only play three songs from the new album and as a fan of that album, it was nice to see obscure (by today’s standards) songs like a metalized version of ‘The World Needs Guts’ and ‘Give It Up’ which have not (to the best of my knowledge) been in an Alice set-list for the next 30 years!
Visually Alice brings the big show, multiple characters, including the occasional appearance of Jason Vorhees, the snake, various monsters and zombies and the Teenage Frankenstein. I loved the scene where he impales the camera-man with his microphone stand. That scene made me jump for real when I saw the show live and it made a good scare on my impressionable, horror movie loving young mind.
This is likely one of my favourite Alice Cooper DVD’s for a combination of personal nostalgia and the historical significance of capturing a single point-in-time, on Halloween no less! It might not be as crystal clear as some of his later concert DVD’s but this was the concert (and tour) that re-launched his career now 30 years deep into his ‘comeback’. In the Banger film’s documentary SUPER DUPER ALICE COOPER, Vincent Furnier is on record as saying this was his ultimate make-or-break tour. If this tour didn’t work, his career was over was over and Alice was dead. After wallowing in addiction and a string of sub-standard albums for the better part of a decade and indeed the nightmare returned and this DVD captures that magic 90 minutes.
1. Welcome to My Nightmare
2. Billion Dollar Babies
3. No More Mr. Nice Guy
4. Be My Lover
5. 18 (Little Flower of Ulysses)
6. The World Needs Guts
7. Give It Up
8. Cold Ethyl
9. Only Women Bleed
10. Go to Hell
11. The Ballad of Dwight Fry
12. Teenage Frankenstein
13. Sick Things
14. I Love The Dead
15. School's Out
17. Under My Wheels
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