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“20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection 2” by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection – The Best Of KISS v.2”
Label: Mercury/Universal Records
Release Date: 6/15/2004
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 5/10

Released as a follow-up to the 1st volume in the Millennium Collection comes volume II which continues its “Best Of KISS” editions. The first CD handled a brief sampling of the bands earlier material from the “KISS” to “Dynasty” albums. This release delivers some choices from “Creatures Of The Night” to “Hot In The Shade” and as you can see the pickings are on the slim side. These releases under the “20th Century Masters” label seem to be merely a nice way to introduce a person to a particular band as they leave far too many seminal tracks off to fully be a “Best Of” with any note to it. In a nutshell this CD features 2 songs from each of the 6 albums that it covers and while there are a few highlights among them they have left off tracks that should be represented. For an introduction piece this is fine but for a retrospective piece it falls very short. This CD leaves off “Revenge”, “Carnival Of Souls” and “Psycho Circus” so perhaps a Volume 3 was being planned but of that I am not all that certain.
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“20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection 1 by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “Millennium Collection: Best Of KISS v.1”
Label: Mercury/Universal Records
Release Date: 8/5/2003
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 5/10

KISS has released a number of Greatest Hits packages in their career and with “The Millennium Collection” series by Mercury/Universal Records you get a standard sampling of some of their best songs. This CD focuses on the years from the 1st album “KISS” to the “Dynasty” album and with only 12 tracks proves to be a real disappointment. The CD only runs about 41 minutes leaving over 35 available that could have been used correctly and given you additional tracks from these particular years. However, this is the record label move as all of the “20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection” editions are limited in the music they give you. It does come with a nice foldout insert that showcases some good photos of the band in full makeup from these years as well as liner notes that also cater to the era by Jeff Kitts. As a KISS fan I end up grabbing every release over time but the limited number and scope of this piece made me wait. Some highlights are of course “Strutter” and other early numbers yet “Hard Luck Woman” could have been omitted for tracks like “Shock Me” or “I Stole Your Love”. These songs had a greater impact on the band musically and should have been represented on this type of piece.
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“KISS My A**” [DVD] by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “KISS My A**”
Label: Mercury/Universal Music
Release Date: 1/25/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8/10

This DVD was released as a companion to the CD bearing the same name and on it we saw music superstars like Garth Brooks and Lenny Kravitz giving us their versions of KISS classics. There were a number of good performances on the record and served as a reminder that more people were influenced by KISS than you would have perceived. With the DVD you don’t get an exact copy of the music from the CD with all of those artists and instead are treated to a plethora of vintage makeup clips that are shown in full. When KISS released “X-Treme Closeup” the viewer was able to see a lot of these clips but they were not presented in their entirety. Having them in full to enjoy the complete song was a pleasant change to be found on this DVD. In the format of the CD we do have Anthrax doing their rendition of “She” and The Gin Blossoms performing a nice version of “Christine Sixteen”. The two tracks are pretty much shown as a whole but not a lot more in that aspect is showcased. KISS makes sure to treat you to added interview commentary and thoughts as well as maintaining a focus on vintage makeup era clips. The big product at the time was the comprehensive “KISSStory” book. This was a massive photo history tome that was 9 pounds and 400 pages. Gene and Paul give some background on this as well. There are 13 full clips with several being from the “Love Gun” and “Dynasty” tour which are nice to see. However, the teaser aspect of this makes you want the full show no matter how good or bad the quality is. KISS fans being very strong in what they want to purchase from the band will jump for even the grainiest of footage. Let’s hope for more full-content vintage shows in the future.
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“Konfidential & X-Treme Closeup” [DVD] by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “Konfidential & X-Treme Closeup”
Label: Universal Music
Release Date: 1/25/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8/10

This DVD finds two individual VHS tapes that were released in the nineties finding a new home on one single DVD release. As someone who owned these originally and finding my own copies in sore need of replacement I was very happy to see them come out in this fashion. Given they are two unique programs we will address them as such for the review.

KISS: Konfidential: This was a live concert that featured the “Revenge” lineup of Simmons, Stanley, Eric Singer & Bruce Kulick. The concert as a whole is good and is also what viewers will find on the CD for “Alive III”. As the concert plays the band interlaces a lot of backstage and studio banter with the members of the group. Some of it is amusing and some is filler but it is still fun to see KISS in a relaxed manner. With their album “Revenge” we would find KISS at their strongest with a Hard Rock/Metal record that showed that they were not only back but meant business. I would have preferred that the bantering and discussions be left as a bonus which would allow for the show to be watched alone but this DVD is essentially a straight transfer of the original VHS . There are also four full makeup era clips from live shows around 1975-1977 and those always make for fun watching. Seeing these will probably cause the same reaction in you as other fans who are demanding full concert releases from these years. The teaser clips prove to us that they have this footage and it is high time for their release on individual products.
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“Live In Las Vegas” by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “Live In Las Vegas: The Unseen Concert”
Label: Passport Video
Release Date: 4/2/2002
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 2/10

Over the years the band KISS has released a large number of video products and there is enough for all the fans to enjoy practically every video and incarnation that the band has had. Most of the releases have been fantastic while others have been lacking in only some minor areas. The KISS Army fan base is perpetual in their fostering of the original ideal of the band and is very hard to discourage. This release however lacks on almost all counts and will truly disappoint even the most ardent of fans. It is not only poorly laid out but does not give you anything more than four live performances. The band is the original lineup and this recording from 10/1999 pretty much features them before the dramas set in once again and lead to the lineup changes that would carry KISS forward. The four songs at the Las Vegas appearance are nothing you have not seen anywhere else a million times. Perhaps adding a few more tracks and some difference could have redeemed it but I doubt it. KISS themselves seem to be merely going through the motions on the video and look like they cannot wait to finish. The band appears in Destroyer-era costumes making this film from around the “Psycho Circus” or “Farewell Tour” time frame.
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