REVIEW: Alice Cooper – The Alice Cooper Show (1977)

THE AC SHOW_0001ALICE COOPER – The Alice Cooper Show (1977 Warner Bros.)

The Alice Cooper Show is far from a perfect example of Alice in the mighty 1970’s — for a much better live album experience, pick up Billion Dollar Babies (the deluxe edition) which contained a live album recorded by the original Alice Cooper band.  Having said that, the band here are not slouches.  Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter were great guitar players who defined the late 70’s period of Alice. However, the albums were starting to slide — Go To Hell and Lace & Whiskey were more notable for ballads like “You And Me” and “I Never Cry” rather than idiosyncratic Cooper rockers or horror tunes.

The recording of this album is fine, but the record is far too brief. Aside from the fact that there are too many ballads (time-wise, over a quarter of this album are ballads!), a lot of the songs are truncated versions. “Sick Things” for example is less than a minute as it segues into “Is It My Body”. Likewise, there is an “I Love the Dead”/”Go to Hell”/”Wish You Were Here” medley where I wish I could have had more.  Then again, Alice has always done medleys of tunes, since he has so damn many.

I have nothing negative to say about the singing or performance.  The band were outstanding, featuring some of the best players Alice has shared the stage with.  They even featured Canadian bassist Prakash John who was previously in the original band Bush with Dominic Troiano (R.I.P).  It’s hard to say exactly why The Alice Cooper Show doesn’t completely click.  Certainly the medleys and song excerpts make it feel like an overly rushed affair, and even considering that, it’s missing too many great tunes.  “Elected”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, and “Welcome to My Nightmare” would have been perfect.*  Perhaps Warner should have shelled out for a full-on 2 LP set?  But Alice was a fading property in 1977, with an infamous stint in rehab to follow.

This record fails to deliver what Alice was really about.  The album cover gives it all away.  It looks rushed, with truncated images of Alice and his live show.  Serious fans will need it to complete the collection. Otherwise, stick to the Billion Dollar Babies deluxe package for a seriously awesome live 1970’s Alice experience.

3/5 stars

THE AC SHOW_0003

* Looks like a lot of those songs were dropped from the set in ’77.

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11 comments

  1. Usually companies such as Warner put out too much product when sales of their cash cow start to slip. I am also shocked they didn’t put out a 2 lp live album. It’s not as if they didn’t have enough songs to choose from.

    Is this setlist from one night on the tour?

    That might be a way of explaining why certain songs are not on the album if Alice Cooper had a varied setlist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So that explains why they are not on the album, but strange that they were not on the tour.
    I also read there was a rare VHS recording from this same tour called Alice Cooper and Friends that shows a very drunk Alice Cooper. I watched a bit on youtube and it includes chickens with machine guns on stage, dancing around and then shooting Alice.. Even though Alice Cooper may have been drunk, he seemed at least lucid enough to sing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s interesting that this was the first of the live albums they released in that case. Certainly strange that they would choose to edit the set too.

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        1. Yeah. But it’s not a unique situation. Black Sabbath had no official live albums with Ozzy at all until 1998! The one semi-official one they had, Live At Last, was panned by critics as much as this Alice Cooper one!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with J. on this one, that black and white photo with his hand on his head… the man just looks tired. Done. At least you say the playing and singing are still great, but damn man, you’re right, this could maybe have been a much better package!

    Liked by 2 people

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