Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kissology 3 DVD Review

Written by General Jabbo

You wanted the best, you got the best. Kissology: The Ultimate Kiss Collection Vol. 3 is the third and, depending on who you believe (Gene Simmons claims there will be 10 volumes total), final volume of the excellent Kissology DVD series.

Covering the years 1992-2000, Kissology 3 features six concerts, starting with the band's Auburn Hills, MI appearance on their 1992 Revenge tour. One is immediately taken aback by both the picture and sound quality of the show, as well as the musicianship of the excellent Revenge lineup. This was one of the shows recorded for 1993's ALIVE III.

Up next is a behind-the-scenes look at their now-legendary MTV Unplugged appearance - which featured their first performance with founding members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss in 16 years. It is here we learn from Unplugged producer, Alex Coletti, that Frehley and Criss were almost no-shows at the actual taping due to legal issues and that Paul Stanley and current Kiss guitarist, Tommy Thayer, had to help Frehley relearn his old guitar parts. Disc one concludes with the complete MTV Unplugged performance.

Discs two and three document the band's reunion period, with their performance at Tiger Stadium - the first full show of the reunion tour, their 1996 MTV Video Music Awards' performance at the Brooklyn Bridge, their Dodger Stadium show from the Psycho Circus tour, the Detroit Rock City movie premiere party in Los Angeles and The Last Kiss pay-per-view from 2000's farewell tour. While it is great as a fan to have the Tiger Stadium show, from a performance perspective, it is very sloppy with lots of missed notes and timing issues. In stark contrast, the Brooklyn Bridge performance shows a tight, hungry, focused band that looks to be enjoying each other's company. Peter Criss in particular seems to be having the time of his life, singing along to "New York Groove." We also learn from the commentary that when the band was assembling the footage for the Dodger Stadium show, they could not find any of the footage from the drum cams and, as such, Peter Criss is rarely seen up close in this show.

Though the band has continued since 2000, the farewell tour was indeed the last time the original lineup all performed together, so The Last Kiss pay-per-view is a nice document of that tour to have. It also features the added novelty of the band playing "Heaven's On Fire" as they had adopted songs from their non-makeup period into the set at this point.

Disc four may be the real gem of this collection, however. Teased as an Easter Egg on Kissology 1, the full 1973 performance from the Coventry in New York is included on Kissology 3. This is the earliest filmed performance of the band and while the picture quality is nowhere near the rest of this set, the historical value is immense. It's shot in black and white and the audio is not bad for it being a 34-year-old single camera video. It also features the seldom-played "Let Me Know," an added bonus to an already rare show.

Kissology 3 features commentary from Simmons, Stanley, Thayer, and Bruce Kulick and has regular stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes. It also has a number of Easter Eggs, including rehearsal footage for the VMAs in street clothes and no makeup, a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of Carnival of Souls, the last album recorded by the Revenge lineup, and "2000 Man" from the band's millennium concert in Vancouver, BC. Initial copies include bonus discs depending on which retailer they are purchased from. These shows are the KROQ Weenie Roast from 1996 (The first reunion performance by the band), Brazil 1994 and Madison Square Garden 1996.

While Kissology 3 touts having six complete concerts, that really isn't the case. Auburn Hills, Tiger Stadium and The Last Kiss all have songs cut, possibly to avoid repeats of material. The commentary and liner notes also include a fair amount of Ace and Peter bashing by Simmons and Stanley, which is surprising given the fact that they are on a large portion of the material presented, but also refreshing in the sense that the band isn't pulling any punches and is being very candid with the fans.

As this material is the most recent chronologically in the Kissology series, it is also of the highest quality, both in terms of picture and sound. The rarity and quality of the material more than make up for the fact that some of the shows aren't complete and make Kissology 3 a fine addition to any Kiss fan's library.


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