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The Freedom of Music: Alice’s Nightmare

March 6th, 2011
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Welcome to my Nightmare was Alice Cooper’s best, and most successful album. Leaving his original band amid ego-fighting, he hooked up with producer Bob Ezrin, and wrote Nightmare. They hired top notch musicians, and recorded Cooper’s masterpiece of rock theatre.sidebar-3

He followed it up with a massive tour that re-enacted the album on stage, adding in some old Cooper gems like Billion Dollar Babies, Hello Hooray and Schools Out. The show featured a big bed in the middle of the stage, around which Cooper danced with a rag doll in Cold Ethel, with cane carrying skeletons in top hat to Some Folks and put the theatre in “masterpiece of rock theatre.”

Once the tour was done, Cooper released a film of the show, and all us 14 year olds who didn’t get to the tour dutifully took ourselves off to the local cinema, where for four weeks we could spend a Saturday afternoon experiencing the tour on a twenty foot screen and “super-dolby all about the place loud,” sound system.

There was a time in the mid 70’s when these concert movies were moderately popular, and the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Band and the Faces released them. Once the theatrical release was over, however, there wasn’t much place to show the movie, and they went away. Then the 80’s came around, and TV execs figured music could sell on their medium. These old concert movies got picked up and carried a stable of them that they showed weekly, cycling through a bunch of movies such that, locally, CITY TV showed Welcome to my Nightmare two or three times a year. After going from theatre, to a regular TV rotation, Welcome to my Nightmare disappeared.

In a musical environment in which every tour ends up on DVD, every artists has too many concert videos and every old video is available and easily accessible, Alice Cooper’s Welcome to my Nightmare has been noticeably absent form my local HMV video section. Oh it’s been released, last time almost ten years ago. Never mind that in the last ten years The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and The Complete Beatles Ed Sullivan Shows has been released. Never mind every concert ever recorded to any form of video has found it’s way to the home DVD market, even ten years ago when it was out, I never saw Welcome to my Nightmare on the DVD store shelves.

Once all these concert movies, and more, made it to video, then DVD and Blue Ray, it got buried. And it and world where there half a dozen new concert movies every week, that’s passing strange. Perhaps the new Welcome to my Nightmare tour will be released on DVD.

Sorry, that’s the new Welcome 2 my Nightmare tour, as in Welcome to my Nightmare, the sequel. Alice got together with Bob Ezrin and decided to do Welcome to my Nightmare 2. They have recorded and the record is apparently in the can. A fall release is being discussed, and a large Welcome 2 my Nightmare tour is planned. The tour promises to once again be theatrical, hopefully pulling the giant spider and dancing skeletons out of Alice’s closet.

And when the tour is wrapped and put back away, it’s not hard to imagine a DVD release. Maybe then the Welcome to my Nightmare movie will get some of the respect it deserves.


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