Venue: Regal Theater’s (New York, NY)
Event: “Symphony: Alive IV” Theatrical Presentation
Label: Sanctuary Records
It was only a few months earlier when I had found myself on line at a Best Buy in the city to not only purchase a copy of the newest CD by KISS, but also to get a chance to pose for a photograph with them. I still laugh at how much of a fan boy I become when it concerns anything about this band but they have always been able to remain one of my favorites for many, many years. Who could blame me about this because when the fans had purchased the CD they would be able to get their copy signed as well, or at least what we found out when we did this was that the signed inserts were given to you as you hit the cash register. By now all the readers and KISS fans around the globe are aware that the album “KISS: Symphony Alive IV” captured the band in concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the CD kicked many different levels of ass when it came down to it. It is a sure fire recommendation to any existing KISS fan and even those who just want a superb live album.
A couple of months had passed and the DVD that was once soon in coming had arrived and to coincide with it, a local theater had decided to team up with Sanctuary Records and present this on the big screen for one night only. Fans would be able to see the DVD on a giant screen, as well as be able to purchase a copy should they need one (and you know they all would when it came down to it). The price for this movie was a mere $6 so I could not pass it up and it was “Something different to do on a Tuesday night” I had mused. So, a few friends and I headed over to the area and since I had not yet received my DVD copy in the mail yet this whole thing was going to be a little bit of a surprise to me. I had seen commercials for the CD and they showed the scenes that would make up the DVD and of course the clips were rather exciting and proved that this would be one interesting DVD release. As I got myself on the line to enter the theater I saw so many familiar faces and that is one of the greatest things about anything relating to KISS. You end up seeing the same people that you saw at the last tour or event where they were hawking something and you end up becoming a little bit like a musical family. So many of us know one another or have Friends of Friends in common so it makes any waiting time move pretty quickly.
Once in the theater it was pretty amusing to find the crowd beginning the chant of “We Want KISS” and I had to laugh aloud as I thought of how funny we must seem yelling this to a giant screen with no band members anywhere near the place. I had to say that getting to see the DVD on a huge movie screen was pretty much awesome and it was almost like being there. Here is how it would be presented, because if you own the CD you know that the show is presented in three separate acts. The first act is just KISS doing some classics, while the second act is an unplugged/ensemble setting and the third is the bombastic symphonic finale. The fans tonight would get the symphony act three presented to them and this footage also included a lot of behind the scenes stuff that led up to the actual event. Think of it as “Behind The Music” and once that was done the film went all out. I found one of the cooler points was seeing the members of the Symphony each in the KISS warpaint and even the conductor made sure to get in on the fun. The set list was nothing less than thrilling and I don’t want to ruin any of the highlights you will find out about but instead leave it as what a good time viewing this was.
At the close of the Full Symphony portion, they show a few songs from the Unplugged/Ensemble portion (Act Two). It was nice, but they passed on letting you see the just KISS piece from Act One. The fan would have to wait until they watched their own copy of the DVD at home for that other stuff. Oh well, like I said it was only $6 so how could you lose. For maximum viewing pleasure I sat in the lower seats of the theater which made the “big” presence of the group all the more larger than life. Of course there were viewers above who decided it would be fun to toss confetti and glitter down onto the lower sections during “Rock & Roll All Nite”. I thought it was fun at first, but they did not stop and it eventually became whatever paper they could find was getting tossed. We got hammered by napkins and newspapers but thankfully no hotdogs or sodas made their way down. I didn’t realize how much had come down on us until I hit the light and found myself covered with glitter and confetti. Fun stuff in the end and true to the spirit of the video performance we all had enjoyed.
My only complaint is the fact that the fans never truly got to have the original “Alive 4” that was supposed to come out over a year ago. This one featured Ace Frehley on guitar and as many know he is no longer with the group and instead Tommy Thayer has taken his place. There is numerous amounts of online scuttlebutt as to the reasons why it was never released, but none of it seems to lead to the real answer. In any event, no matter what the critics have said, this is an excellent sounding CD and beautifully laid out DVD set. Any KISS fan will want to own it, and any casual fan will get a great idea of what the KISS World is all about. For the purposes of this review, I have decided not to list every track on it. Suffice it to say this CD includes all the great KISS songs that you know and love. There are probably a few remaining special edition CD’s out there somewhere, and the DVD itself is worth owning. So activate your “Gene Simmons Implant” and get to ordering yourself a copy or two of this stuff.
Notes: This was actually written before I was a Music Journalist and was instead shared with an online site that I enjoyed reading. The Nightwish show that kicked off my interests in this had actually happened the weekend before I attended this film, and once PiercingMetal.com was launched the text would be expanded and reformatted for use for its readers.
1. Detroit Rock City
2. King of the Night Time World
3. Do You Love Me
4. Shout It Out Loud
5. God of Thunder
6. Love Gun
7. Black Diamond
8. Great Expectations (featuring the Australian Children’s Choir)
9. I Was Made for Lovin’ You
10. Rock and Roll All Nite
Official Web site: http://www.kissonline.com
Editor’s Note: This article was written for another medium prior to the 2005 launch of PiercingMetal.com and has been added to our content for your enjoyment.