I’ve been a KISS fan since the mid 1980’s. I digg the original lineup of Gene, Paul, Peter and Ace for the music they created and the foundation they laid for future lineup’s. I’ll admit that I ALWAYS buy Ace’s solo albums when they come out and own all of Peter’s solo material too. Some lineup’s lived up to the legacy of the original lineup, some did not (where’s Vinnie?) and a few have added a whole other dimension to the legacy, the 1991-2006 & 2004 to present day lineup’s. My two favorite eras of KISS are the lineups from 1991 through 1996 where the band consisted of founders Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer & the 2004 to present day lineup with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer.
For all the HATERS out there, stop and think about this. Who is the one who busted his ass as KISS’ archivist, keeper of “The Vault”, did everything from being a runner for the band, helped book, organize and run the KISS Konventions, had the thankless job of whipping Peter & Ace into shape musically before The Reunion Tour, tour managed for the band, dealt with Ayatollah Criscuola his infamous temper tantrums, babysat a chemically rotted Ace Frehley only to be rewarded with a sucker punch, was “on call” 24/7/365 & had to be ready to get in the makeup & costume of The Spaceman if he OD’d or didn’t show up & who is the one who has restored dignity back in to the character of The Spaceman? TOMMY THAYER, that’s who! So, if you just have to hate, there is the door!
While I enjoyed the reunion of the original four, I sorely missed the aforementioned 1991-1996 lineup of KISS. Fast forward to 2004 when the present day lineup was assembled. I was stoked as this would be as close to the 1991-1996 era of KISS that would ever be. As an added bonus, you get Eric Singer in The Catman character and Tommy Thayer as The Spaceman character alongside The Demon, Gene Simmons & The Starchild, Paul Stanley. What could be better? IMO, the equivalent of KISS greatest musical lineup with the added bonus of all the bells n’ whistles that come with KISS on stage in the classic makeup, a stage show that can’t be beat as far as the visuals but most importantly, a band that you can tell is happy to be performing together. They are tight musically, in sync with the classic choreography with a touch of looseness and a tinge of humor in dealing with each other.
In the midst of celebrating their 40th Anniversary World Tour, KISS bombastically rocked Las Vegas, Nevada to its core during their residency at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in November 2014. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this release since hearing how great the show was during the residency from Tommy Sommers and Michael Brandvold on episode #102 of the “Three Sides Of The Coin” podcast. KISS seems to capitalize on releasing product from special events such as this. Now if they’d just open up “The KISS Vault” and put out a DVD or Blu-Ray of the “Alive” show from KISS KRUISE V. Can I get a “Hell Yeah & Hallelujah”, Mark Cicchini?
I’m not going to bore you with my usual track-by-track rundown of this release but instead, hit on the highlights, in my opinion. Not counting the KISSOLOGY DVD sets, oh yeah, by the way, where is KISSOLOGY Volume Four? Back on topic, not counting those KISSOLOGY DVD sets, the last proper live KISS DVD release was 2005’s “KISS:Rock The Nation” seizure inducing spectacle. Thankfully, KISS ROCKS VEGAS is captured just as well as ‘Rock The Nation’ was but doesn’t leave you on the ground flopping like a fish out of water due to the blitzkrieg scene changes and editing. This has a nice steady flow to the video, the stage show is I-N-S-A-N-E, the audio was wonderfully recorded and it doesn’t seem to have too much studio magic added to the audio & the band is locked in tight. On their present tour, ‘Freedom To Rock’, KISS has incorporated some of the Vegas residency staging for this tour. BTW, if you plan on going to a KISS show on this tour, get their early as The Dead Daisies are one of the best bands out there today! They have that spirit of Rock N’ Roll! Visually, the ‘KISS ROCKS VEGAS’ and ‘Freedom To Rock’ stage set-up is more appealing than “The Spider Stage” was.
I was more the happy with the additions of “Psycho Circus”, “Parasite”, “War Machine”, “Tears Are Falling” and “Hell or Hallelujah” into the set. I’d have been over the moon had I got to see Gene do “Unholy” AND “War Machine” on KISS ROCKS VEGAS like my brother Josh & I did on June 27th, 2004 in Bonner Springs, KS. during the ‘Rock The Nation’ tour as well as on the 2005 DVD release.
I really enjoyed the acoustic portion of the DVD/Blu-Ray. For as “professional” as the band is live, it is cool to see them let their guard down, loosen up sans makeup, strip the songs back and just go for it. Paul is always the frontman basking in the limelight, Gene is a lot looser than Paul and interacts with various fans in attendance & forgets lyrics as he does during their full shows, Tommy is just a consummate professional and for as much as I love Eric Carr, Eric Singer is the most musically gifted drummer that KISS has had. He plays drums like a cat possessed, pun intended and has one helluva voice. The two gems of KISS’ acoustic set were Eric singing “Beth” and a rare performance of “Love Her All I Can”. I’d like to see the band do another full acoustic show for CD and DVD/Blu-Ray release but do material that was not done at the MTV Unplugged taping in 1995.
A few more requests and I’ll wrap this up…..I really wish KISS would do material off of “Carnival Of Souls”! To hear Gene do “Hate”, “Childhood’s End”, “Seduction Of The Innocent”, Gene and Paul blaze through “I Confess” and Paul get down n’ dirty with “Jungle” would get a checkmark on my KISS bucketlist. Last request, a new studio album with a proper producer, be it Bob Marlette, Eddie Kramer, Bob Rock or even Bob Ezrin would be great. Bob Ezrin is too hit and miss, in my opinion. I think Paul stretched himself too thin on “Sonic Boom” and “Monster” sharing the Producer role with Greg Collins. I’m sure Paul producing was more of a control thing but get someone in who is not intimidated by Gene, Paul or Doc, someone that can make non-biased calls on the material and push the band to their best.
Released yesterday, August 26th, the KISS ROCKS VEGAS performance was released on multiple formats, DVD+CD, Blu-Ray+CD, DVD+2LP, and Deluxe Edition DVD+Blu-Ray+2CD+60 page Photo Book. I’ve included links for all the various formats. I own the DVD+CD, DVD+2LP and Deluxe Edition DVD+Blu-Ray+2CD+60 page Photo Book sets. I really wished they would have issued a KISS ROCKS VEGAS Super Set that was 2CD, 2LP, Deluxe Edition DVD & Blu-Ray all in one but we all know KISS are great businessmen and marketers so they happily received $140 of my money, money that was well spent in my eyes…..and ears! To put a spin on the intro to their infamous live shows “You Wanted The Best, This Line-up IS The Best, The Hottest Band In The World, KISS!” and this release proves it! To quote someone who I admire as a a good human being, music lover and INSANE KISS fan, “No Ace, No Peter, NO Problem!” Do yourselves a favor, pick up KISS ROCKS VEGAS and crank it to 11!
Peace, Love & Loud Guitars ~ Crash
KISS ROCKS VEGAS
DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, DVD+2LP, and Deluxe Edition DVD+Blu-Ray+2CD
Released by: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Release Date: August 26, 2016
1. DETROIT ROCK CITY
2. CREATURES OF THE NIGHT
3. PSYCHO CIRCUS
5. WAR MACHINE
6. TEARS ARE FALLING
8. LICK IT UP
9. I LOVE IT LOUD
10. HELL OR HALLELUJA & TOMMY SOLO
11. GOD OF THUNDER
12. DO YOU LOVE ME
13. LOVE GUN
14. BLACK DIAMOND
15. SHOUT IT OUT LOUD
16. ROCK AND ROLL ALL NIGHT
1. COMING HOME
2. PLASTER CASTER
3. HARD LUCK WOMAN
4. CHRISTINE SIXTEEN
5. GOIN’ BLIND
6. LOVE HER ALL I CAN
KISS Rocks Vegas TrailerClick here for DVD+CD, Blu-Ray+CD and Deluxe Edition DVD+Blu-Ray+2CD
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KISS Freedom To Rock Photos:
Click here to view our photos of the recent KISS show in Saginaw, MI