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