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KISS - Alive 4 Symphony - the DVD

Review: 190
Date: 21 Aug 04


Rating: 5 KISSes

Star child Paul Stanley - Guitar and Vocals.
The Beast Gene Simmons - Bass Guitar and Vocals.
The Cat Peter Criss - Drums and Vocals
Spaceman Tommy Thayer - Lead Guitar
Dressed as the Beast David Campbell - Conductor
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
The Australian Children's Choir

Tracks Listing:
Songs by KISS:
Let Me Go Rock ‘n’ Roll
Lick It Up
Calling Dr. Love
Psycho Circus

KISS with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra:
Goin' Blind
Sure Know Something

KISS with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Children's Choir:
Detroit Rock City
King Of The Night Time World
Shout It Out Loud
God Of Thunder
Love Gun
Great Expectations
Black Diamond
I Was Made For Lovin' You
Rock and Roll All Nite


"You Wanted The Best? You Got The Best. The Hottest Band In The Land, KISS." This is the taped introduction to every KISS concert since the year dot. Who would be brave enough to dispute this claim? Their stage shows are folklore now, and after 30 years, 32 albums, and over 90 million record sales, the band is still going strong.

The lineup has fluctuated dramatically over the years with only main stays Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley remaining constant. Some musicians leave and return, as does original drummer Peter Criss, for these shows, but already less than a year down the road he has been replaced by the returning Eric Singer. The make-up of each replacement musician stays the same so the crowd hardly ever notices. The idea is that once you are in the band, make sure you don't upset Gene or Paul or you will find yourself on the outside again. So, on this recording you have Tommy Thayer, playing the role of Silver Spaceman and Ace Frehley on lead guitar, never missing a note or smudging his make up.

Alive Four Symphony is the first Full length concert available from the masters of Theatre Rock and what a concert it was, too. Over 40 thousand rabid KISS fans attended, and it is spread over two DVD’s. The first documents the arrival of the band in Australia and their meeting up with the conductor and musical director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with its classically trained musicians. Although it starts out in distrust and coldness, but by the time of concert, band, Orchestra members, and choir are as one and have the time of their lives.

On Disc two is the full concert broken up into three acts. The first act is the 4-piece rock band playing six of their classic songs stripped to the bone. Act two consists of five songs given the acoustic treatment with a 12-piece string section. Songs like 'Beth' and 'Forever', two ballads, gave KISS surprise ballad single hits, and have been screaming out for in the live context. Act three is where all the action really kicks off. The four members of the band look great despite the fact that all of them are in their sixth decade. They rock ‘round the stage shaking their booties like never before; all in their adopted make up and specially made stage space suits.

The Cat behind the drums only comes to the front to play up to the crowd during his solo singing spot in ‘Beth’. The Spaceman on lead guitar takes every opportunity to blaze out as many notes per second solos as possible, and, being new to the band, obviously loves every second of it.

The Beast on bass, forever sticking out the longest and most suggestive tongue in rock, spits blood and eats fire during his bass solo before flying bat-like sixty feet into the gantry above the stage, and then is flown down again to join his crewmen.

Center stage is the Starman in his 8-inch stack heeled boots, flouncing and pouting at the audience, playing his guitar over each shoulder before bringing it crashing to the ground, and being flown round the audience on a flying trapeze. Add to this a 60-piece Orchestra and Conductor all in full KISS make up (each member of the Orchestra was allowed to choose which member of KISS' make up they wanted to wear) enjoying their new found freedom in being able to play rock music instead of the strict rigors of the classics. When they are then joined by a 40-piece Australian Children's Choir (naturally also in full make up), the audience (half of them are also in full KISS dress) go completely wild. Add to this KISS playing all their classic songs (ranging from selections from their first album to their latest studio effort); a great stage set; a hilarious Paul Stanley in-between song raps; some of the biggest and loudest pyrotechnics ever set off on a rock stage, and you have one of the greatest rock shows ever recorded on this DVD.

Over the course of the two DVD's the playing time (including bonus features) clocks in at over three and a half hours. So with KISS, as usual, everything to excess.


Drawn by Mott the Dog
Colored in by Ella Crew


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