DVD Review: Triple Threat Super 70’s Classic Rock (Alice Cooper, Queen and Deep Purple)
Triple Threat Super 70’s Classic Rock DVD Review
Super Duper Alice Cooper Welcome to His Nightmare/Queen Live At The Rainbow ‘74/Deep Purple with Orchestra Live In Verona
Eagle Rock Entertainment
Reviewed by: Roger Scales
Alice Cooper, Queen and Deep Purple. The names just roll off the tongue and identify an era of rock music that may never ever be duplicated again. In 2014 we are very fortunate that all three of these acts are not only still in circulation for their long time fan bases but are being enjoyed by a whole new generation of fans as well, with sell out shows all over the world. Eagle Rock Entertainment is offering up three DVD releases that will be a nice addition to any fans collection. Also each has its own unique perspective because we have a documentary with “Super Duper Alice Cooper Welcome to His Nightmare”, “Queen Live At The Rainbow ‘74” and “Deep Purple with Orchestra Live In Verona” circa 2011. Let’s take a peek at each shall we?
“Super Duper Alice Cooper Welcome To His Nightmare” basically takes the viewer on a journey from the beginning stages of Vincent Furnier son of a Christian preacher through the early stages of forming his first band, becoming an American Icon, succumbing to substance abuse nearly ending not only his career but his life and then his remarkable comeback in 1986. I must say I truly enjoyed Banger Films past efforts with “Iron Maiden: Flight 666” and “Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage” and this one ranks just as high. It’s a masterful blend of archival home movie type footage, live concert videos, TV appearances and interviews. Also hearing from some of Alice’s friends and fellow musicians such as Elton John, John Lydon, Iggy Pop and Dee Snider lend credence to the time period and some insights not generally explored prior to this filming. This truly is a look at the band Alice Cooper as much as it is the man himself. Glen Buxton, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith and Michael Bruce were as much to do with the early success of the band as Alice himself and he admits as much in this film. Bob Ezrin also adds some of his own personal insight into the studio production and songwriting behind some of Alice’s biggest hits. There are some great extras as part of this DVD including deleted scenes, rare footage and some more interviews extended from what was used in the film. This film ends at the comeback concert in Detriot MI on New Year’s Eve 1985/86 which basically starts the 2nd half of Alice’s career and his ascent back to the top of shock rock royalty where he still reigns supreme today.
“Queen Live At The Rainbow 74’ ” features the band in November 1974 as part of the Sheer Heart Attack Tour and showcases Queen as a band already in their prime as confident performers. Much of this show has never been available on video until now and features of the band’s biggest hits such as “Killer Queen”, “Keep Yourself Alive” and “Stone Cold Crazy”. The performance is magnificent and this remastered edition will amaze you in its colors and sound. Freddy Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor never sounded better. As an added bonus footage from earlier in 1974 at the same Rainbow Theater as part of the Queen II tour is included. I would have liked to have seen an interview or two or even some tv footage from that period that may have been included as well. Possibly have the three surviving band members even intro the DVD or add some commentary on the songs, the show and what was going on during this time period. However it doesn’t take away from any part of the enjoyment of this concert. How could it? Queen in 1974 is like a watching a New England Patriots game from 2007..nearly perfect.
“Deep Purple with Orchestra Live In Verona” offers a full concert with Deep Purple joined by the German Neue Philharmonic Orchestra for performances of all of the band’s classic tunes such as “Highway Star”, “Woman From Tokyo”, “Lazy”, “Perfect Strangers” and more. Having the orchestra on stage certainly adds depth and range to the tunes for sure and then add in the backdrop of what seems like just a mammoth crowd and you have what is a magical, historical performance. Filmed in the spectacular Arena di Verona, a roman amphitheater originally built in 30 AD, in 2011 Purple really gets to do what they do best and that’s jam with the best of them. The solid lineup consisting of Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Roger Glover, Steve Morse and Don Airey have more or less been the longest sustaining unit in the band’s history and it shows. For everything that they missing in what some might call a lack of “youthful exuberance” is more than made for in the technical prowess this band still posses. One of the more interesting side notes after watching this concert is how much (at times) Ian Gillian is starting to sound like Brian Johnson! Not word for word or note for note but it’s there. I very much enjoyed this show with the added element of the orchestra but mainly just because it’s a solid performance. There are virtually no extras other than the inclusion of Hush and Black Night but I hardly call that unique. Then again DP has more than enough interviews, documenters and specials already available on DVD that I cannot see this as a negative.
Enjoy these for what they are and remember Christmas gift giving season is nearly upon us so avoid the rush and shop early for the classic rock fan on your list.