Alice Cooper's been knocking about for forty five years now. Subsequently, the man's brought out his fair share of live DVDs – and there's now over a dozen releases documenting Vincent Furnier's foray into his nightmarish on-stage carnival.
The Coop’s latest live offering is proof that this man - this maverick, this one in a million, billion dollar beast -truly is a force unto himself. Strutting on stage clad in a pinstriped suit, Alice and his motley crew launch straight into Hello Hooray, grabbing Germany (and you, unsuspecting viewer) by the knackers and not letting go for a good ninety minutes.
Unlike his peers and forefathers, Alice Cooper has tussled with Death in a Terry Pratchett-esque manner and actually improved with age. Far from the skeletal menace he posed as during Welcome To My Nightmare, he commands a sophisticated stranglehold over Wacken, orchestrating sing-alongs with that inimitable, gritty drawl. Hey Stoopid, I’m Eighteen and Billion Dollar Babies all rear their fetid faces during the first half of the set, but it’s tunes from 2011’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare that explain Cooper’s longevity. Caffeine precedes Department Of Youth and comes out on top, while the Stones-like swagger of I’ll Bite Your Face Off fares just fine following Under My Wheels.
Of course, it’s an Alice Cooper show – he ends up in a straitjacket and a massive Frankenstein’s monster is having it large, followed – obviously – by the inaugural beheading of Alice. This is rock ‘n’ roll theatre at its finest and most incredulously bizarre.
Surrounded by a pack of stellar musicians, – Orianthi Panagaris completely nails Killer – Cooper could just phone it in at this point in his career. Instead, he’s churning out classics, paying tribute to ‘dead, drunk friends’ with five covers (Foxy Lady and Revolution are omitted from the DVD for no apparent reason) and just being an all-round boss.
With extras remaining sparse in the form of a twenty minute interview, Raise The Dead – Live From Wacken is hardly the definite Alice package. Still, it’s an essential purchase for anyone vaguely interested in Planet Earth’s consummate showman.