Check out reviews of vintage videos of Paul and Ringo with friends and Alice Cooper’s ‘Nightmare’

Change Begins Within
Change Begins Within

This week’s column features my thoughts on two different Eagle Rock Entertainment video presentations, the second of which is a two-for-one combo. Read on.

‘Change Begins Within-A Benefit Concert For The David Lynch Foundation,’ Various Artists (Eagle Rock Entertainment,)

This Sept. 1 DVD/digital video release was filmed at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall on April 4, 2009 at a sold-out concert featuring a long Paul McCartney set with his excellent band, a shorter Ringo Starr set (with Ben Harper’s band), and shorter sets featuring Sheryl Crow, Eddie Vedder and others.

Favorite moments: Harper’s great slide guitar playing, Donovan with jazz flautist Jim James and Harper’s group delivering a respectable version of his old “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” Ringo drumming and singing “Boys,” Paul doing an excellent set beginning with “Drive My Car” and carrying on through “Jet,” “Got to Get You Into My Life,” a new-to-me John Lennon tribute called “Here Today” and “Band on the Run” before inviting Billy Shears aka Ringo back for “With a Little Help From My Friends.”

I’m not sure if getting kids to meditate will work, but couldn’t hurt.

‘Welcome To My Nightmare Special Edition DVD,’ Alice Cooper (Eagle Rock Entertainment,1/2)

This Sept. 8 DVD features the 1975 TV special ‘Alice Cooper: The Nightmare,” along with the “Welcome To My Nightmare” stage show. The TV special, featuring Vincent Price as the Spirit of The Nightmare, was a unique introduction to the new album.

The concert, which was filmed in 1976, purports to bring the album’s songs to life while sprinkling in some favorite songs from the original Alice Cooper band, which I always thought was the best. Out of those, only “Billion Dollar Babies” approaches the energy and raw power of its previous incarnation. The big hit “Only Women Bleed” and some other new songs suffer from Alice’s lead vocal being too upfront in the mix. “School’s Out,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” and especially “I’m Eighteen” also suffer this same affliction.

TV special favorite moments: Vincent Price actually appears, rather than just his voice. The mix on the new songs is much more balanced. There are still cheesy moments, like dancers dressed as black widow spiders; but things seem more orchestrated and together. Even a slightly wimpier-sounding “Ballad of Dwight Frye” from the old days sounds better.

Alice Cooper fans, particularly those who jumped on board late, will enjoy this presentation.

Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at flakericky@gmail.com