Filmed in London in 1975, WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE features Alice Cooper in front of one of his best band lineups and performing some of his best material, long before he was erroneously pigeonholed as a "heavy metal" act. Certain Cooper standards ("Under My Wheels" and "Be My Lover" to
name two) are omitted to make way for darker, creepier material (such as "Black Widow" and "Cold Ethyl") that is no less satisfying.
If you've never seen Alice Cooper perform live, you're missing one of the most elaborately theatrical shows in rock and roll. Even those who aren't fans of Alice's music will appreciate the heavily choreographed visualizations of Alice's macabre songs: using costumed dancers, filmed sequences,
spooky sets, and even bits of illusion, the cumulative effect is that of an appropriately nightmarish house of horrors. Particularly well realized is the one-two punch of "Cold Ethyl" (an homage to necrophilia) and "Only Women Bleed" (a surprisingly tender message-tune about domestic abuse) that
serves as the show's thematic centerpiece. Fans of Alice's hits will likely be disappointed by the abridged versions of "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and "18"; however obligatory their performance, though, these tunes actually break the mood created by the other material, and the concert as a whole is
better served by their brevity.
The concert lags during two instrumental sections: an overlong guitar "duel" between axemen Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, and the ending jam, a regrettable 1970s convention wherein each player is allowed measure after measure to solo indulgently.
Director David Winters was a choreographer who had formerly worked with the likes of Nancy Sinatra and Raquel Welch; he later ran the short-lived Action International Pictures, a company that produced ultra-low-budget action films for the straight-to-video market. Though Cooper obviously hooked up
with Winters in order to give his first solo stage-show (after his split with the original band collectively named "Alice Cooper") a slick, Vegas-y feel, the choreography actually registers as the show's silliest element (it must be noted, however, that one of the dancers, Sheryl Goddard, went on
to marry Cooper in real life). Overall, though, WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE is a fine antidote for the stand-there-and-jam school of performance that permeated the 1970s (captured in such concert films as 1996's FREEBIRD: THE MOVIE). (Violence, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1975
- Rating: PG
- Review: Filmed in London in 1975, WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE features Alice Cooper in front of one of his best band lineups and performing some of his best material, long before he was erroneously pigeonholed as a "heavy metal" act. Certain Cooper standards ("Under M… (more)