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ALICE COOPER: Raise The Dead – Live From Wacken Review

alicecooper_wacken_cover

Genre:  Rock

Record Label: UDR

Release Date: 20th October

Links: http://www.alicecooper.com/

 

Line Up:

Alice Cooper – Vocals

Tommy Henriksen – Guitar

Orianthi – Guitar

Ryan Roxie – Guitar

Chuck Garric – Bass

Glen Sobel – Drums

 

Track Listing:

1. ‘Hello Hooray’
2. ‘House of Fire’
3. ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’
4. ‘Under My Wheels’
5. ‘I’ll Bite Your Face Off’
6. ‘Billion Dollar Babies’
7. ‘Caffeine’
8. ‘Department of Youth’
9. ‘Hey Stoopid’
10. ‘Dirty Diamonds’
11. ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’
12. ‘Go to Hell’
13. ‘He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)’
14. ‘Feed My Frankenstein’
15. ‘Ballad of Dwight Fry’
16. ‘Killer’
17. ‘I Love the Dead’
18. ‘Break on Through’
19. ‘My Generation’
20. ‘I’m Eighteen’
21. ‘Poison’

 

It doesn’t seem that long ago that the last live album from Alice Cooper came out but looking back it’s actually been four years since “Theatre Of Death” came out.  Only Chuck Garric on bass remained from that line up (it’s since changed again) and so this release is a good snapshot of that time.  Recorded at Wacken to be the first of a new venture called the Wacken Foundation that gives money to support up and coming bands, this review is of the CD version which contains the whole concert while the DVD has two less tracks.

I chose to listen to this for the first time as if I was at the concert, which means that I didn’t look at the setlist as I didn’t want to spoil the surprise of the next track.  Starting with “Hello Hooray” was one such surprise right from the start as a song of that quality and age would normally be reserved for an encore with any normal band.  But when you have a back catalogue stretching back forty-five years it’s hard to pack them all in!  I’m sure some purists won’t like these versions of the older songs here but this is a different band and a different time, so I for one am all for it.  They sound a little different but that’s to be expected when they are live and the band now has three guitarists.

When “No More Mr. Nice Guy” started I could feel the hairs on my arms stand up and the same thing happened with “Under My Wheels”.  And this was only track four!  Talk about a greatest hits setlist.  The newer tracks also stand up well against the classics and I really enjoyed listening to the likes of “Caffeine” more here than I did the album versions.  “Dirty Diamonds” contains some excellent soloing from Glen Sobel on drums and also one of the guitarists.  I’m guessing Orianthi as I believe she was the main guitarist but as it’s a CD I can’t guarantee it.  This might be a good time to talk about vocals too.  I don’t think Alice is going to be joining a boy band any time soon, let’s put it like that.  Does it matter?  Not one bit – it’s Alice Cooper for God’s sake, I’m not expecting good singing and I wouldn’t have him any other way!

Another surprise inclusion to the setlist is “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” which is one of my absolute favourite Alice songs.  It’s an excellent version and the new solo is great.  I’m sure there will be plenty who hate it and would gladly swap it for one of the many classics that aren’t here but that will always be the case – you can’t please everyone.

I liked the introduction to the covers section of the set and the covers themselves are great.  It takes a brave man to cover one iconic song by an icon band but here Alice takes on four of the most famous and familiar songs of all time and every one of them is brilliant.  A big part of that is due to the band – it’s not very many guitarists that can or should attempt “Foxy Lady” but the version here is one of the stand out tracks on the album.

If you haven’t already gathered by now I absolutely love this album.  Some of Alice’s previous live albums have been a bit underwhelming but I would say that this one is absolutely essential for any Alice Cooper fan and very highly recommended for any casual listener.  Listening to it makes me wish I was there to see it and that is a sign of a great live album for me.  In fact, I think it’s so good I’ve actually deleted the digital files I got for reviewing to stop myself playing them to death and I’ve pre-ordered the Blu-Ray + 2CD pack because I really want to see this gig as well as hear it.  You really should do the same.

 

 

Written by Duncan Everson

Ratings    Duncan    10/10

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