“The Strange Case of Alice Cooper” Live 1979 The Madhouse Rock Tour (DVD)

       “Alice Cooper” was more than just your typical hard rock band. The early years were that of the “Alice Cooper” persona still searching for identity. Coming into the time when “Alice” first smeared on his heavy mascara under “Frank Zappa’s” direction, his extended facial lashes streamed above and below his eyes in a darkened extension of his alter ego. This brought us into the realm of his “Love it to Death” album, firing into the charts with “I’m Eighteen”, a confused anthem of a young man who’s caught between being a boy and a man. Throughout this outrageous shock rock career, “Alice Cooper”, born “Vincent Damon Furnier”, has maddened the world with his blood, baby dolls and their limbs, guillotines, hangings, electric chairs, and boa constrictors, holding his audiences in the palm of his hand through his wanton grimace. He has pioneered the marriage of horror movies, vaudeville, and violence into a rock genre unmatched by anyone to this day. The “Alice” character stalks his stage with an arrogance knowing very well that these people are here to see him and his untamed antics. The magistrate of madness hit the world with his even bigger hit “School’s Out” in 1972. “Billion Dollar Babies”, his massive commercial draw unleashed a firestorm of entertainment upon the stage. The album features on the title cut, a vocal duel between “Alice” and sixties sensation,”Donovan”.

       In this live DVD recorded in 1979, this strange case is introduced to us by the voice of the father of fear, none other than “Vincent Price” speaking through a cyclopedic doctor of sorts. This man of medicine informs us of the bizarre study of one “Alice Cooper” and the mental dysfunctions he has endured and overcome, eventually being released back into society. This being the true story of one “Alice Cooper” passing through the valley of the shadow of death, finding his way to the other side. This DVD tells that story in “Alice’s” own songs, dealing with solitude, terror, and the mending of a broken mind. The cuts are exciting to watch, and is more of a Broadway gone mad stage show than your typical rock concert. We begin with “From the Inside”, telling us about life within the walls of a madhouse and its formalities. Cruising through some newer songs we arrive at “I Never Cry” from his solo days and back to the imagery of the insane with “Welcome to my Nightmare”, a dazzling escape into the inner mind of one so tormented, tossing “Billion Dollar Babies”, “Only Women Bleed”, and “I’m Eighteen” into the cauldron of calamity. A striking performance and heartfelt anxiety pours out during “Ballad of Dwight Fry” (who played “Renfield” in the original “Dracula”), truly portraying the inspiration for this story in its entirety, having spent time in a New York sanitarium as he descends into the fabled misunderstandings of alcohols grasp on his life. Offstage he is well-known for his wit and smile, having overcome his obstacles and finding a long awaited peace within his Christianity which has grounded his life without the old demon’s hold. He is also credited for the look and shaping of the heavy metal image.  Later…school’s out!