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Live at Montreux 2005
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107 of 126 people found the following review helpful
Let's face it. Alice Cooper has been about as far off the musical map as you can get since about 1976 or so.

But for me, "The Coop", as many of his fans called him back then, was a defining influence on my life.

I first discovered Alice as a teenager in the seventies. If it is your high school years that define who you will become in your adult life, the fact that Alice Cooper was my adolescent hero probably explains a lot.

You see, I discovered Alice completely by accident. I was 15 years old and had bought tickets to see The James Gang (Joe Walsh's first band) at the Paramount when word came down that they had cancelled the show. My options at the time we're either get my money back or exchange the tickets for another show. It just so happened that Alice Cooper was playing Seattle a few weeks later as part of the "Killer" tour.

To a lot of my rocker pals at the time, the fact that the guy's name was Alice was enough to convince them to stay far away.

Not me.

The only thing I really knew about Alice back then was that "I'm Eighteen" was a pretty damn decent rock tune, and that according to Circus Magazine he was known to rip up live chickens onstage.

Freak Show? Hell, yeah, at fifteen I was most definitely in.

For the next two years after seeing Alice Cooper that night--basically my entire time in high school--I listened to Alice Cooper every single day.

Although everybody from Kiss back then to Marilyn Manson now would basically devote entire careers to stealing his act, what I witnessed on the Killer tour that night was like nothing I had ever seen before.

The part that I was completely unprepared for--the staged hanging during the "Dead Babies/Killer" show finale--actually scared the [...] out of me. The fact that I was high at the time probably was a factor.

But for a minute I actually thought Alice Cooper was dead. That he had actually "suicided right on the stage", no doubt inspiring that line from a Rolling Stones song released a few years later.

When he reappeared for the "Desperado" encore in white top hat and tails tossing money from the end of a sword to the crowd, there was absolutely no doubt in my fifteen year old mind:

This was the coolest guy alive.

I was in my early thirities when I finally was able to meet my adolescent hero once I had made somewhat of a name for myself in the music business.

By that time, Alice's glory days we're long behind him. Sure, he still had the occasional hit. I think Alice's last big single was "Poison" in 1989. But his days as the biggest concert draw in the world we're pretty much over once he disbanded the original Alice Cooper Group a couple of years after the landmark Billion Dollar Babies album and tour.

Late last year, a DVD from that tour resurfaced. "It's Good To See You Again Alice Cooper" was a film document of that tour that enjoyed a brief run playing the midnight movie curcuit in the seventies before disapearing into nearly three decades of obscurity. The restored DVD reveals a couple of things. One, is that the old Alice Cooper Band was a gas to watch live. But also, that they basically could barely play their instruments (although I will give props to Neal Smith who was a magnificent double bass drummer). The other thing this DVD brings to light though, is that Alice himself was apparently so drunk most of the time that it's a wonder he made through those years alive.

Even so, his performance is absolutely riveting. And you really start to appreciate the impact Alice Cooper really had on future generations in terms of rock and roll stagecraft. The show is an absolute spectacle for it's time, with it's huge lighting towers, it's giant dancing toothbrushes, and of course it's guillotine. And Alice's apparent inebriation actually plays very effectively into his onstage character as he staggers about sneering at his audience and rubbing various props about his crotch area.

It's part of what made Alice...well, Alice.

Fast forward to 2006. Alice Cooper may no longer be selling out the Madison Square Gardens of the world, but he is still very much alive and kicking. In fact, Alice Cooper, once the poster boy for every parent's worst nightmare in the seventies, has become downright respectable. On his brand new DVD, recorded live last year at the Montreux Jazz Festival of all places, Alice Cooper is still doing very much the same theatrical shock rock spectacle he has always done.

But this is a stripped down model compared to the extravaganzas of the seventies. It's also very much a G-Rated version. Happily married (Alice's daughter actually plays several roles in the stageshow), and clean and sober for several years now, you won't find Alice grabbing his crotch or uttering so much as a dirty word in this new show. It's amazing what a few years of sobriety will do for a former raging alcoholic mega rock star.

What's amazing about this...aside from just how healthy Alice looks these days...is how much better he sounds. Fronting a band of young hot shots half his age that probably grew up listening to a lot of the songs they perform on this DVD, Alice looks like he could be a brother to these guys rather than their old man. His voice, always one of the great classic rock voices for my money anyway, has simply never sounded stronger.

For the menacing stage persona he perfected so many years ago, Alice no longer has to get by on charisma alone. Here, he prowls, rather than staggers, across the stage taking absolute command of every inch of it. With a razor sharp band that is as tight a unit as he has ever fronted, Alice Cooper rocks with the energy and intensity of a man thirty years younger than he actually is.

As I said, the theatrics are somewhat toned down. But this is after all, still Alice Cooper we're talking about here. He still gets the strait jacket treatment for "Ballad Of Dwight Frye", which he again sings as strongly as he did back in the Love It To Death Days. And of course he still gets the guillotine...still one of the coolest special effects stunts ever done on a concert stage...for the double shot of "Killer" and "I Love The Dead." The show is dotted with other classics from the considerable Cooper canon. "I'm Eighteen," "Schools Out," "Be My Lover," "Under My Wheels," and of course "Billion Dollar Babies" are all here.

As for the newer songs featured here? Well to be honest, there isn't anything here that is going to stick in my brain the way "I'm Eighteen" did the first time I heard it.

But I have to give Alice Cooper credit. He is still mining pretty much the same territory of teenage angst and rebellion that he did back in his heyday on the newer songs from recent albums like last years Dirty Diamonds. The difference is he is doing so with the benefit of wisdom that comes with both age and surviving more demons than either you or I would care to see in a single lifetime.

There's just something about Alice Cooper you gotta love. Even when he was battling those very demons and selling out the biggest arenas in the world, you always knew that deep down he was pretty much your basic All American God fearing Christian sort of good guy.

At least if you we're really listening.

So it really is good to see you again Alice Cooper.

Clean and Sober. Alive and Well. And doing your thing with an energy and vitality that would make most guys half your age positively green with jealous envy.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 17, 2006
In some of my other music DVD reviews, I take the tact of applying a set of standards to a release and establishing how the DVD in question measures up. Let me say in advance that when I take this tact, it usually means that I was disappointed in the release. Such is the case with Alice Cooper Live at Montreux 2005.

A memo should go out to all bands and music DVD producers that says at minimum: "1) Music DVD's should be produced to the highest standards. 2) The musical performances within should represent the talent that made the studio recorded CDs sell. 3) Theatrics are very cool too, as long as you can pull them off without deterioration in the quality of the music."

Let's break it down then for Live at Montreux:

1 - "Music DVD's should be produced to the highest standards." - The picture quality in Live at Montreux is outstanding. It's a high-def recording that is stunning in its clarity. Unfortunately, the director has chosen to indulge in what he feels is "cool production" versus giving the viewer a front row seat to the performance. The visual often jumps around similar to the music video format of "4 seconds then cut to another view". In fact there are segments where I couldn't count 2 seconds off before the camera angle switches. It was like staring at a strobe light. This made for a viewing experience that ruined the illusion of having a front row seat to the show.

However, the Welcome To My Nightmare theatric 4-song medley was an exception to this abomination. The director must have become as captivated as I was, because the shots actually lasted long enough to take them in before changing angles.

The sound is great in Dolby 5.1. You get your choice between Dolby Stereo, Dolby 5.1 or DTS. Dolby 5.1 actually sounded better than DTS on my Surround system.

2 - "The musical performances within should represent the talent that made the studio recorded CDs sell." - The guys prior to hitting the stage must have huddled and committed to each other to go out and play the music true to the studio versions of the songs. All of the tracks on Live in Montreux are performed precisely. Alice still sounds the same way he did in the 70s. Absolutely amazing.

Eric Singer is one talented drummer...too bad his great drum solo on this DVD is visually chopped to pieces by the video strobing effect. The director needs to watch Eric in Kiss' Rock The Nation DVD; that's a DVD done right productionwise.

The other hired-help musicians were also quite good. Like I said, musical performances that mirrored the original recordings.

One other note is that a live performance includes getting the audience charged up. Man, did this audience ever need charging up! They were zombies. The first 3 rows occasionally looked excited, but the rest of the audience was absolutely dead by the 8th song and there are 27 songs. Either Alice made a very poor choice of venue to record at (The Montreux Jazz Festival), or please just remind me never to go to a concert in Switzerland. The zero audience energy indeed negatively affects the viewing experience.

3 - "Theatrics are very cool too, as long as you can pull them off without deterioration in the quality of the music." - The theatrics were great! Alice included a lot of cool stuff that he did in the 70s (the guillotine, the coffin, the dancer), and the band performed the songs to perfection. These guys were all on tonight. Alice did his theatrical magic; it made it a better show and the music sounded great.

All in all...it's a very good performance with a very very distracting choice in video production. The second to second video cuts took what was close to a 5 star release down to a visual headache....Yes, it's really that bad.

If you are or ever were an Alice Cooper fan, and you've been waiting for a high quality Alice Cooper audio/video release...this is it. If you have strobe induced Epilepsy, by all means skip this.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Continuing with their collection of excellent concert films from the Montreux Jazz Festival, Eagle Vision gives us a 2005 performance from the legendary Alice Cooper. For over thirty years Alice Cooper has held the title as the "Godfather of Shock Rock" with bands such as KISS and Motley Crue following in his influential footsteps. For this concert Alice would be performing in support of his to be released "Dirty Diamonds" CD (of which several tracks are presented for the viewer to enjoy). However, like many Artists who place too much focus on a new release Alice and Company make sure to provide an absolutely heavy amount of classics from his extensive back catalog. Most of his hits are now legendary parts of Hard Rock music culture and I think even the most distant of music fans knows that "School's Out" and "Billion Dollar Babies" are Cooper tracks. Fortunately these and many others are present but as you watch this concert there is a couple of things that stand out very quickly about the show. You'll find that there is not much of an emphasis of the showman from the Nightmarish carnival that he usually brings around with him. The stage itself is not garish in design and no one is really in any sort of costume change except Cooper who has several during the performance while using a number of small props. He has a female dancer who also goes through a number of costume/character changes during the show and she does really well. It was a great difference to the Cooper experience for while its common knowledge about his level of visual talent and capacity, this showed that while it's an important part of his show, it can be used minimally and still have a maximum impact on the audience. No matter what the reason for his changing the format from the way he used to you can count on Alice to lose his head for you as a viewer when it comes down to it. As an older fan of Cooper I lean to his classics, but was happy to see his newer material hold a heaviness that works very well.

Musically Alice knows how to build a band for his tours and as you watch this film you will see that he has not faltered yet. On guitar/vocals he has Damon Johnson of Brother Cane & Slave To The System (guitar), Ryan Roxie (guitar), Chuck Garric (bass) and the one and only Eric Singer (most recently seen in makeup performing with KISS as the "Catman"). Singer is always on point it seems and has proven himself to be one of the better drummers in Hard Rock music. He does a brief solo which is an added bonus. The dancer/actress performing around Alice through the whole show is in fact his Daughter Calico Cooper. It's amusing to see when at band introductions with her wearing next to nothing Alice announces "that's my little girl, now put some clothes on!" A companion CD is included with this DVD that features 19 of the songs from the film. It's a great way to load up your music player or take the show along with you in the car. I hope they do this with more of the releases since it's a nice enhancement to the product purchase.

Fans of Hard Rock music video and legendary performers cannot go wrong with this release. I enjoyed it very much and am happy to see Alice Cooper still showing the new kids how it is supposed to be done.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2007
I was there in Montreux when this show has recorded and I can assure that I was really a great moment of Mr. Hayes. The concert was opened by Booker T & MGs that were followed by the great Billy Preston. At the end of the show Booker T & MGs got back to a unforgeteable jam that included Soulman. I recommend this DVD for Blues and Soul fan but I am still asking myself why they not included the final jam...
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 6, 2007
Considering that this concert performance of Isaac Hayes was released many weeks ago I'm surprised to be the first to review it. In fact the lack of reviews on Amazon.com made me hesitate to buy it.

This is the best full length Isaac Hayes DVD to date in terms of both picture and sound quality, and it offers the DTS option. I count his CD Black Moses among the best 15 R&B albums of all time and kind of expected more of that performance in this concert. But as Isaac once said, some recording labels have told him his music is old, and for that reason (I think) the concert "jazzed" it up in the beginning with an up tempo selection. But progressively more of his classics were performed, though he sounded not a hundred percent as he sounds on the studio sessions.

Three negatives on this concert(IMO):
1. Political statements should be made elsewhere, not here. After all many third world countries have misplaced priorities, eg. Ghana spending millions of dollars to celebrate an anniversary rather than on rural development.
2. Addressing the audience as "children". What? Me a child?
3. Patronizing an audience, as a rule, is a no no on a DVD.

On the whole I'm very happy with the DVD for the fact that Mr. Hayes gave us this recording before he grows too old to go on. If you grew up in the 60s and 70s this is definitely for you.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2013
I've recently purchased a large selection of concert blu-rays to enjoy my new HDTV. Patti Smith's 'Live at Montreux' is one of the best of the bunch. Produced as part of the SoundStage series, which has also featured legends such as Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty (both which I also recommend), this blu-ray shines with incredible video and audio quality. The studio is reminiscent of the Austin City Limits studio; there's a respectful but excited crowd of about 500. It's nice to get these artists to tape in such an intimate setting with a director who knows how to put out a quality product.

It doesn't hurt that Patti sounds amazing. She has only gotten better with age. Backed by her full band, she performs a tight setlist of some of her classic songs, in addition to a couple covers. She nails 'Like a Rolling Stone' like she wrote it herself. If you are still reading this, just BUY IT!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2006
Alice never gets old! It's amazing to see him in this presentation, He looks a little fat but, that's all. His voice is like wine. It's spectacular to hear very old classics like Killer, Steven and many others in his experimented 2005 voice with new techniques and modern instruments. He open the show with Department of Youth, so different from original record, really, it's fantastic. Alice is one of my favorite artists, every year appears new competition, but He never worries about it, He's a legend, He's the original crazy one. This show is different from Others like "Brutally live", this is the first concert I saw that Alice doesn't mix shock theater with his music, but Alice Cooper in a "every-year" jazz concert...!!!! We can't ask for more!!! Nice dvd Menu, Excellent Audio and video quality (The Live Cd too). Definitively part of Alice's collection. If you ask me to buy it or not, BUY IT!!! you won't regret, I promise you.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2006
People will come out and say that Alice Cooper is "dead". Either because he does not follow the trend or because his music reflects to real rockers and not to whatever the music industry offers nowdays. Despite what people think, Alice Cooper was, is and will always be a pioneer, a proprietor in what he does. With this new DVD he proves just that for one more time. He looks as good as anybody on stage and in all likelihood, his voice can overpower any other voice from all these new expiration bands. The selection of songs is amazing, as it gives a tour of his whole career. Starting from his early legendary songs, all the way to the masterpieces of today. Watching this DVD is an unimaginable pleasure and it can give the creeps to anybody that knows how to appreciate good rock music. Should there be any hesitation in buying this DVD? Absolutely not. Should you watch it more than once? Not a question. It is an instant classic.

DVD Tracklisting:

1. Department of Youth

2. No More Mr. Nice Guy

3. Dirty Diamonds

4. Billion Dollar Babies

5. Be My Lover

6. Lost in America

7. I Never Cry

8. Woman of Mass Destruction

9. I'm Eighteen

10. Between High School and The Old School

11. What Do You Want From Me?

12. Is it My Body?

13. Go to Hell

14. The Black Widow

15. Gimme

16. Feed My Frankenstein

17. Welcome To My Nightmare

18. The Awakening

19. Steven

20. Only Women Bleed

21. Ballad of Dwight Fry

22. Killer

23. I Love the Dead

24. School's Out

25. Poison

26. Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills

27. Under My Wheels

CD Tracklisting:

1. Department of Youth

2. No More Mr. Nice Guy

3. Dirty Diamonds

4. Billion Dollar Babies

5. Be My Lover

6. Lost in America

7. I Never Cry

8. Woman of Mass Destruction

9. I'm Eighteen

10. Between High School and The Old School

11. What Do You Want From Me?

12. Is it My Body?

13. Gimme

14. Feed My Frankenstein

15. Welcome To My Nightmare

16. School's Out

17. Poison

18. Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills

19. Under My Wheels
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 26, 2006
In some of my other music DVD reviews, I take the tact of applying a set of standards to a release and establishing how the DVD in question measures up. Let me say in advance that when I take this tact, it usually means that I was disappointed in the release. Such is the case with Alice Cooper Live at Montreux 2005.

A memo should go out to all bands and music DVD producers that says at minimum: "1) Music DVD's should be produced to the highest standards. 2) The musical performances within should represent the talent that made the studio recorded CDs sell. 3) Theatrics are very cool too, as long as you can pull them off without deterioration in the quality of the music."

Let's break it down then for Live at Montreux:

1 - "Music DVD's should be produced to the highest standards." - The picture quality in Live at Montreux is outstanding. It's a high-def recording that is stunning in its clarity. Unfortunately, the director has chosen to indulge in what he feels is "cool production" versus giving the viewer a front row seat to the performance. The visual often jumps around similar to the music video format of "4 seconds then cut to another view". In fact there are segments where I couldn't count 2 seconds off before the camera angle switches. It was like staring at a strobe light. This made for a viewing experience that ruined the illusion of having a front row seat to the show.

However, the Welcome To My Nightmare theatric 4-song medley was an exception to this abomination. The director must have become as captivated as I was, because the shots actually lasted long enough to take them in before changing angles.

The sound is great in Dolby 5.1. You get your choice between Dolby Stereo, Dolby 5.1 or DTS. Dolby 5.1 actually sounded better than DTS on my Surround system.

2 - "The musical performances within should represent the talent that made the studio recorded CDs sell." - The guys prior to hitting the stage must have huddled and committed to each other to go out and play the music true to the studio versions of the songs. All of the tracks on Live in Montreux are performed precisely. Alice still sounds the same way he did in the 70s. Absolutely amazing.

Eric Singer is one talented drummer...too bad his great drum solo on this DVD is visually chopped to pieces by the video strobing effect. The director needs to watch Eric in Kiss' Rock The Nation DVD; that's a DVD done right productionwise.

The other hired-help musicians were also quite good. Like I said, musical performances that mirrored the original recordings.

One other note is that a live performance includes getting the audience charged up. Man, did this audience ever need charging up! They were zombies. The first 3 rows occasionally looked excited, but the rest of the audience was absolutely dead by the 8th song and there are 27 songs. Either Alice made a very poor choice of venue to record at (The Montreux Jazz Festival), or please just remind me never to go to a concert in Switzerland. The zero audience energy indeed negatively affects the viewing experience.

3 - "Theatrics are very cool too, as long as you can pull them off without deterioration in the quality of the music." - The theatrics were great! Alice included a lot of cool stuff that he did in the 70s (the guillotine, the coffin, the dancer), and the band performed the songs to perfection. These guys were all on tonight. Alice did his theatrical magic; it made it a better show and the music sounded great.

All in all...it's a very good performance with a very very distracting choice in video production. The second to second video cuts took what was close to a 5 star release down to a visual headache....Yes, it's really that bad.

If you are or ever were an Alice Cooper fan, and you've been waiting for a high quality Alice Cooper audio/video release...this is it. If you have strobe induced Epilepsy, by all means skip this.

Side Note: This is the Blu-ray page for this release and will only play in Blu-Ray DVD players. Search Amazon again for the standard DVD format release if you've stumbled in here by accident.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The "Live at Montreux" dvd/blu-ray series, which has already given us several outstanding releases, racks up another one with a 2005 Patti Smith performance. Given that there's not a whole lot of Patti official dvd concert material available, this one is most welcome. Really good band (her core band of Lenny, Jay Dee, and Tony Shanahan plus Tom Verlaine) and there are some choice cuts here (for me, i liked the two "Horses" tunes plus "25th Floor") - the sound on this release (5.1) was particularly sharp and really sounded great on my system. No hesitation to recommend if you're a Patti fan.
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