As far as Rock 'n' Roll icons go, there really are few that define the whole phenomena of music. Where the marraige of theatricality and Rock is concerned, there is none other than Alice Cooper. One scan at the audience and you realize that they have joined the show entirely by their costumes. They know the lyrics; they are a seamless part of the show. They are the ghoulish nurses, the face-painted maniacal minions with top hats, everyone as involved in the production as the production itself.
On the Theatre of Death album that combines the complete experience of the show with a DVD as well as the CD version, Alice Cooper reaches into a deep, 40-year bag of songs to satisfy even the most jaded of rockin' horror fans. Nearly every song is accompanied by a show that follows the "story" of the song. From the decades old "Ballad of Dwight Fry" that has Alice wrapped into a red strait jacket, to the "Go To Hell" song from his early solo work, where Alice is marched to a guillotine (an original prop of the band from the beginning) and is revived in Hell, to later works like "Guilty" and recent material like "Dirty Diamonds" Alice Cooper is in fine form.
The 16:9, Stereo/5.1 Surround (Dolby) DVD covers 90+ minutes of the December 6, 2009 HMV Hammersmith Apollo (UK) show. The songs are all well known classics that range from the opener/closer track, "School's Out," to "Billion Dollar Babies", from "No More Mr Nice Guy," to "I'm Eighteen" of the '70s best sellers. And from the wide timespan of his solo works that include early classics like "Only Women Bleed," "Welcome to My Nightmare," "Go To Hell," to the accumulated tracks like "From the Inside," Nurse Rozetta," and "Dirty Diamonds." But the show is scattered with other tracks from various stops along the way, songs like "Under My Wheels," "Is It My Body," "I Love The Dead," and "Poison." Yeah, there are a few missing gems here like "Elected," "Hello, Hooray," much of School's Out, and nothing from Muscle of Love, all of which contain more than enough theatrically-propped songs that would have worked just as well. And maybe Furnier incorporates these other songs during various stops. Regardless Theatre of Death is a fine look at the unique persona that is Alice Cooper, especially if you have never been to a show, past or present. The DVD show is great fun to enjoy. It doesn't matter your age as Alice Cooper has managed to keep the name and the music relevant throughout his decades-old career.
And when you want to take the show on the road, the included CD is perfect for that. The CD/DVD set adds a fold-out poster of the show, all of which makes Theatre of Death a ticket to one of the most unique Rock and Roll shows you'll ever witness. Needless to say, an Alice Cooper concert is more than just a concert. It is a well-oiled, freshly painted event that brings the classics of the old era when Alice Cooper was a band together with the gems that Alice Cooper - the persona - has assembled over the post-original band periods. This excellent look at a recent Alice Cooper show highlight all that Alice Cooper has worked to achieve. With the recent Hall of Fame nomination, Theatre of Death drives home the fact that no one has merged theatricality, elements of horror, and Rock and Roll better than Alice Cooper, the current stage persona, has. With that in mind, his election into the Hall should be a slamdunk. Theatre of Death underscores all of this.