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Overall Grade
2.5 stars

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The Movie Itself
3.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
4 Stars
HD Audio Quality
3.5 Stars
Supplements
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High-Def Extras
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Bottom Line
For Fans Only

Alice Cooper: Live in Montreux 2005

Street Date:
October 31st, 2006
Reviewed by:
Peter Bracke
Review Date: 1
May 3rd, 2007
Movie Release Year:
2006
Studio:
Eagle Rock Entertainment
Length:
93 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

Editor's Notes

In the original published version of this review, we mistakenly identified the DTS track on the HD DVD version of 'Alice Cooper Live in Montreux' as being DTS-HD Lossless Audio 5.1. In actuality, the track is a standard DTS mix. We regret the error.

Non format-specific portions of this review also appear in our HD DVD review of 'Alice Cooper: Live in Montreux 2005.'

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

It's funny how what was once so shocking can end up seeming so quaint. Back in 1977, the sight of a creepy long-haired guy in goth face paint, playing godless heavy metal music was absolutely terrifying. Now, it just seems like something you might see at Fright Fest at Six Flags. He may still be "No More Mr. Nice Guy," but by today's standards, Alice Cooper seems downright cuddly.

Having said that, the Freddy Krueger of rock still puts on a great show, even forty years into a seemingly never-ending career. Recorded during a stop on Cooper's most recent tour (billed as yet another "comeback" extravaganza) 'Live in Montreux 2005' showcases the aging but still fit performer in fine form. Many years sober, Cooper really surprises with his vocal agility -- I was expecting the hoarse evil twin of Tom Jones, but instead I was reminded that this guy actually has quite a set of pipes on him. And I have to say that it was great fun to watch him run around the stage like a banshee, growling menacingly into the camera, and belting out not only his typical one-dimensional lite-metal anthems (such as 'Welcome to My Nightmare' and the immortal 'School's Out') but also some rather adept power ballads (particularly the '70s smash "I Never Cry"). And you have to admire Cooper's ability to sing even the most inane lyrics with utter conviction, such as the hilariously titled "Muscle of Love" and "Only Women Bleed."

The show itself is split into two halves. The first is a more straightforward affair, with the usual over-the-top lighting, heavy metal stageset and big hair. The second is a bit more fun, with Cooper dusting off his infamous horror-movie stage show shtick. Watch Alice fry himself in an electric chair! Watch Alice decapitate himself in a guillotine! Watch Alice bite the head off of a bat! Okay, so he doesn't do that last bit. But with the Ozzy Osbournes of the world having long since gone the way of reality TV, Cooper may be the only godfather shock rock has left. God bless him.

Ultimately, there isn't much more to say about 'Live at Montreux -- either you're a fan of such Spinal Tap fabulousness, or you aren't. Personally, while I can't say I was enthralled through the show's entire 90 minute runtime, I was still happy to see the aging rock vampire refusing to go quietly in the night.

The track list is: 01. Department of Youth / 02. No More Mr. Nice Guy / 03. Dirty Diamonds / 04. Billion Dollar Babies / 05. Be My Lover / 06. Lost in America / 07. I Never Cry / 08. Woman of Mass Destruction / 09. 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

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Eagle Rock offers up a very nice 1080i/MPEG-2 transfer for 'Alice Cooper: Live at Montreux 2005.' (Note that the indie distributor has also released this title on HD DVD concurrently with a VC-1 encode, but the two presentations are identical.) The concert was shot using HD cameras, and sports that you-are-there, ultra clear high-def look typical of such presentations.

Colors are the most attractive feature. An Alice Cooper show is always going to be a visual spectacle, and while the budget for this tour is not in the league of, say, a Madonna or the Rolling Stones, it is appropriately garish, and the deep reds, purples and green on display here are quite clean. There is a bit of noise in the shadows, but that's typical of most live concert recordings I've seen, and it's quite minor here. The image does look softer than some the best HD-based material I've seen, but it is less noticeable on close-ups than long shots. All other aspects of the presentation are impressive, including a pristine source and no major compression artifacts.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

'Alice Cooper: Live in Montreux' comes to Blu-ray and HD DVD with companion DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround tracks. It's a well-mixed concert, at least in terms of surround use that is a bit more aggressive than usual. Though the crowd of course fills up the rears, there are some interesting discrete effects during the more theatrical portions of the show. Individual instruments are frequently spread across the fronts, and Cooper's voice sounds clear and distinct even when he's straining the high notes for effect. Low bass is powerful, and there is strong clarity and fine detail audible in the higher ranges. Surrounds are typical of most live concert mixes, being primarily reserved for crowd noise.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

Neither the Blu-ray nor the HD DVD release of 'Live at Montreux 2005' have any extras. But then, neither did the standard-def DVD release.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no Blu-ray exclusives.

Final Thoughts

Alice Cooper, don't go changin' to try and please us. We love you just the way you are -- rock's answer to Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman all rolled into one. Though his spectacle may not have quite the same bite it had back in the '70s, it's still a hoot to watch. This release is strong in the video department and audio as well. There are no extras, however. Otherwise, this is a perfectly fine release for fans who want a document of Alice at his scariest.

Technical Specs

  • Blu-ray
  • BD-25 Single-Layer Disc

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/MPEG-2

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (640kbps)
  • English DTS 5.1 Surround
  • English PCM 2.0 Stereo

Subtitles/Captions

  • None

Supplements

  • None

Exclusive HD Content

  • None

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