Alice Cooper

Brutally Live [Video/DVD]

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Alice Cooper made yet another comeback in 2000, when he came roaring back with his heaviest release in years, Brutal Planet, which saw the original shock rock king give such disciples as Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie a run for their money. The album's ensuing world tour proved that Cooper was still knee-deep in theatrics, as evidenced by the 2000 concert DVD Brutally Live. Unlike the bands who backed Cooper for much of the '80s and '90s, this one (which includes guitarists Pete Friesen and Ryan Roxie, bassist Greg Smith, keyboardist Teddy Zigzag, and drummer Eric Singer) wisely plays Cooper's classic songs straight and true to the original versions; in other words, there's no unnecessary whammy bar dive bomb effects or over-the-top soloing from the guitarists -- something that hampered past tours. While the DVD contains many new tracks (the concert-opening "Brutal Planet," "Wicked Young Man," "Pick up the Bones," the ballad "Take It Like a Woman"), Cooper and the band have dusted off several uncommon older songs, including "Dead Babies," "Caught in a Dream," and "You Drive Me Nervous," which prove to be the video's highlights. Unlike other most other metal vets, Cooper's voice has held up surprisingly well over the years -- few rockers posses a growl that's as perfect for rock & roll as the Coop, just check out such standards as "Under My Wheels," "School's Out," "Billion Dollar Babies," or "Elected." Brutally Live also comes with a bonus feature that allows the viewer to adjust the angle on certain songs to focus solely on Cooper (these select tracks are marked by a tiny green Cooper face in the bottom left hand corner of the screen). While the band is no comparison to the original Alice Cooper band of the early '70s (go directly to the 2001 DVD edition of Prime Cuts for the proof), and some of the stage theatrics border on parody/Spinal Tap territory, Brutally Live shows that the 21st century version of Cooper and his backing band packs quite a punch in their own right.