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“KISSology Vol. 3: (1992-2000)” [DVD] by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “KISSology 3”
Label: VH1 Classic
Release Date: 12/18/2007
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 5/5

Given that the second volume of these incredible boxed sets was only released in August of 2007 the KISS fans around the world are probably stuck in a mix of surprise and shock at the aspect of the third volume coming out so quickly. Of course like most ardent fan bases, the KISS ones are never hesitant to enjoy new releases that feature footage they might have seen before or only heard about in legend as even existing. Arriving just in time for your holiday purchasing needs comes “KISSology Volume 3” which picks up where the last volume ended and presents us with content from the band’s history during the years 1992-2000. For those who are not too up on their band history these years find the “Revenge” album with an as yet still unmasked lineup as they visit “Alive III” and get their “Unplugged” a happening all the way to the makeup sporting original membership as they began their Reunion tour, the “Psycho Circus” and Farewell tour along with some cool stops in between. This is truly something that the fans cannot get enough of and who can blame them with a band that is as big on spectacle as the guys in KISS are. Volume 3 finds four separate DVD’s making up the main set so let’s talk a little bit about what they feature. Strap yourself in KISS fans the ride continues along now.

Contents: DVD1: The Palace Of Auburn Hills, Detroit Michigan (11/27/1992), MTV Unplugged (Behind The Scenes), MTV Unplugged –Sony Studios, NY, NY (8/9/95); DVD2: Tiger Stadium, Detroit MI (6/26/1996), MTV VMA Performance, Brooklyn Bridge (9/4/1996), Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA (10/31/98) – part one; DVD3: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles CA (10/31/98) – part two, “Detroit Rock City” movie premiere party Los Angeles CA (8/9/1999), “The Last KISS” Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford NJ (6/27/2000); DVD4: Coventry, Queens NY (12/22/1973).
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“KISSology Vol. 2: 1978-1991” by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “KISSology Vol. 2”
Label: VH1 Classics
Release Date: 8/14/2007
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

“You Wanted The Best And You Got The Best, The Hottest Boxed Set In The World — KISSology Volume 2!!!!” Yes indeed fellow KISS fans – our favorite band has returned with the second installment of unreleased footage from deep inside their historic vaults and believe me there are some real gems on this one. “KISSology 2” picks up right where its predecessor left off and covers the years spanning 1978-1991 so that means there is a fair amount of Eric Carr footage to enjoy on top of all the other goodies that they decided to share with us this time around. Given the amount of actual songs that are featured across the three DVD’s in the set, I have opted to instead line out the included main features and then discuss the contents as a whole. There are quite a bit of treats presented on the release and for the most part KISS fans already know about many of these segments existence. Let’s face it – the tape traders and bootleggers were once rampant at music conventions of the past and as result much of this footage was available for years until they cracked down on it something fierce. I have to admit that it’s really nice to see this stuff released officially and restored and cleaned up for maximum viewing/audio pleasure. Let’s go over some of the highlights now shall we?
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“KISSology” [DVD] by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “KISSology”
Label: VH1 Classics
Release Date: 10/31/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 5/5

Thank the Gods Of Rock & Roll because it is finally here! Yes, the legions of the KISS Army and the rest of the world finally have a boxed set collection of early KISS concerts in their entirety along with dozens of rare television appearances and promotional spots. “KISSology” Volume 1 is the first in a series of such DVD releases and in my opinion this is off to a flying start as it features concerts such as Winterland (1975), Cobo Hall, Detroit (1976), as well as Budokan Japan and Houston, TX (1977). Any KISS fan will admit this is the kind of footage that we have been screaming for the band to release for many years. Until now only some select clips were offered as teasers on releases such as “Exposed” and “KISS My A**”. The concerts for the most part are incredible in terms of quality based on their age and in most cases the sound is very clear as well. It’s much better than any bootleg that you would find from these same shows if you had seen them around and it is surely better than the old video tapes that were made when some of this stuff was first broadcast (if you were one of those people lucky enough to have the means to tape things back then). The two DVD’s run about six hours in length and they give you a 20 page photo loaded booklet along with a “backstage pass” from the Spring Tour which makes this one cool addition to your music video library. While the concerts are a great way to enjoy KISS, you are also able to witness the bands rise from their beginnings as we see them as early as 1974 as guests on the Mike Douglas show. Gene’s interview and Mike’s shocked guests are priceless (especially Ms. Fields who wonders aloud if under Gene’s makeup is a nice Jewish boy). There is also a short but interesting documentary from when the band visited Cadillac Michigan in 1975 and literally took over the town for a couple of days. KISS received the key to the city that day and went down in history as a result. We get The Paul Lynde Halloween special but it only includes one of the three numbers performed on the show. Perhaps they will make the follow up unless the footage was lost. It’s fun stuff to see and if you had been a fan for a long time this will take you back while if you are someone who only has a small idea of them then this will be an education.
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“Rock The Nation” by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “Rock The Nation”
Label: Image Entertainment
Release Date: 12/13/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8/10

KISS returns to the small screen following their “Rock The Nation” tour with a concert film that is sure to satisfy a large amount of their fans. The KISS of today is a little different than legacy fans might remember as Ace Frehley and Peter Criss have been gone from the group for a couple of years. In their place and their signature makeup is Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer on guitar and drums respectively. When this first became practice the original KISS fan in me was annoyed at this aspect but it was clear after some time that Ace and Peter simply were not going to be able to cut it or follow the directives lined out by Simmons and Stanley to keep this group running. I would have preferred these fine musicians join in and KISS carry on without the greasepaint, but in truth KISS in makeup is what fills the seats and allows them the larger than life personas that so many recognize. Having seen them in the live setting I can say that they do the original members justice and perform with an enthusiasm that Peter and Ace no longer seemed to have during their final appearances of their tenure. This DVD takes us to the front row of one of their performances on the “Rock The Nation” tour and it is a great follow-up to their last release of “Alive IV: KISS Symphony”. That particular DVD still had Peter but Thayer was already made up as the Spaceman. “Rock The Nation” was a show that if you were able to get by the other cast members now in famous makeup you were able to enjoy the concert as it featured a large amount of songs that had not been played in years. Songs like “Parasite”, “Love Her All I Can” and “Makin’ Love” had not been part of the live set for a long time and it was indeed a treat to hear them performed again. KISS also had begun the practice of adding non-makeup era songs to their set and this was a welcome change since so many good songs came out after their makeup removal in 1983. As a result we find “Lick It Up”, “Tears Are Falling” and “Unholy” on the film and these were MTV Staples at the time of their release. During this tour there were all sorts of added tunes and I felt KISS could have found a place for them on this double DVD. Sadly they did not and while the concert itself is done and shot well they did not add more of the tracks for the ardent KISS fan to enjoy.
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“The Second Coming” by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “The Second Coming”
Label: Image Entertainment
Release Date: 1/4/2000
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8.5/10

The phenomenon that is KISS ruled the concert stage and record books on album sales during their heyday. Known mainly for the bombastic shows and presentation as well as catchy music there was literally no stopping them. The end of the 70’s saw core member Peter Criss leave and by the early 80’s Ace Frehley had moved on as well. The band chose to continue with new members and eventually found themselves wiping off the trademark face paint. It was still a great band, but the whole super-hero mystique and appeal would be gone. Years passed with KISS maintaining a steady release of albums, videos and selling out arenas but the fans always wondered if the makeup and original lineup would ever come back. The makeup idea was used as a teaser in the video for “Rise To It” from Hot In The Shade which finds Gene and Paul backstage in their glory days donning it before they hit the stage. They jibe how it will remain on and never off. I remember seeing this video and being on edge about it since it made me really crave a reunion of the original four. Fast forward to the KISS episode of MTV’s “Unplugged” show and fans are given a non-makeup reunion of the original four. The response was quite amazing for not only did we have the appearance of Ace and Peter but we were treated to an all out jam with new and old lineups. History was re-written that day and the wheels were set in motion on a reunion that was to be like no other. As a result we get this DVD that serves as a “Rock-umentary” of the classic KISS lineup, how they reunited and put together this world tour.
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