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CD / DVD REVIEW: KISS – Kiss Rocks Vegas

| 24 August 2016 | Reply


Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Release Date: August 26, 2016

Rating: 10/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Anyone who knows me may think I am a bit prejudiced when reviewing anything KISS, but how can you not be?  I mean, they are after all the ‘Hottest Band In The World.’  Watching and listening to this live show recorded during the bands Las Vegas residency in November 2014, you can’t help but be transported not only to the Hard Rock Cafe where this was filmed, but to every live show of theirs you have seen.  This collection has captured KISS at their tightest and most cohesive in years, if not decades!  “Detroit Rock City” kicks this show off and the band is firing on all cylinders from first note to last.  The pyro and stage show highlight and accentuate the band and help draw you in visually, especially with Gene Simmons stalking the stage with his famous appendage leading the way.  “Creatures Of The Night” comes next and the song has never sounded better.  The guitar work is top notch and the drumming from Eric Singer maintains the same punch as the original.  “Parasite” brings classic old school KISS to the table and while not one of my favorite tracks from the band holds up note for note against the original, especially when Tommy Thayer tosses hit proverbial hat in the ring and tackles the original solos and riffs.  “Tears Are Falling” is a surprise and welcome addition to the typical KISS setlist.  Paul Stanley’s vocals are crisp and and give this song the energy and feel of the original.  “Lick It Up” sounds crunchier and fuller than it has in years and even includes a cool tip of the hat to The Who, but I don’t want to spoil the fun for you if you haven’t seen or heard them over the last few years.  The guitar duet between Stanley and Thayer punctuates a killer track.  “Hell Or Hallelujah” is the newest track featured in the tracklist, but it fits in perfectly with the classics, thanks to the bands attention to detail when writing the track.  The guitars are perfectly suited for the song and the rhythm section anchors the track.  Another live staple in the band’s live show, “Do You Love Me” brings Simmons heavy handed bass to the front of the mix on the chorus and allows the background vocals to really shine as well.  “Black Diamond” has a cool sound and flavor that only a song like this can deliver – soft and sweet to open, but heavy and full to close.  The guitars are great, the bass and drums perfectly in time, and this track features the more than capable lead vocals of Singer.

“Psycho Circus” delivers on all levels and sounds better live than it does in studio form and as good on this collection as it did live in 1998 when I heard it live for the first time.  Stanley’s voice on the bridge enhances the lyrics alongside the solos.  “War Machine” is arguably one of the heaviest songs in the bands catalog, and that translates live as well.  From Simmons delivery of the lyrics (and a little fire breathing) to the heavy skin pounding from Singer, this version seems to take on a life of its own on the stage, as evidenced here.  “Deuce” is one of the signature KISS songs that I love to hear every time I see these guys live – and this recording is no exception.  The vocals are excellent and the choreographed moves from the trio up front have stood the test of time and never seem cheesy.  “I Love It Loud” is another heavy track in the same vein as “War Machine “(probably because they come from the same release), but Thayer’s solo seems a bit cleaner than the original, breathing a different life into the bridge.  “God Of Thunder” is Simmons’ signature track, thanks to the cultivation of its live performance through the years.  The visuals during this track are over the top and one of the highlights of the bands live performance, complete with blood and flying demons.  Not one to be outdone, Stanley takes to the sky before “Love Gun” and treats the fans at the back of the venue a closer glimpse into a KISS live show.  “Shout It Out Loud” is another anthem the band recorded that seems to encapsulate the bands mantra – nothing else matters if you have rock and roll.  The song kicks off a two-song encore that leads perfectly into one of the most recognized rock songs of our era (or any other for that matter), “Rock And Roll All Nite.”  Complete with explosions, confetti, pyro, a broken guitar, and vocal call outs from Stanley to the audience, this song drives home the love the band has for their fans and vice versa.

The real gem on the DVD is the acoustic performance that is included.  This inner sanctum performance was exclusive to fans across the world that opted for the upgrade and Meet & Greet package the band has been offering on the last few tours.  To hear some songs you won’t during the live show is fun.  The real magic behind this portion is the bands up close and personal interaction with the small audience that packs themselves into a room to see Simmons clowning around, Thayer play the solos we all know and love acoustically, Stanley delivering his showman attitude in a stripped back setting, and Singer perfectly anchoring the band regardless of the volume or intensity.

CD Tracklisting: Detroit Rock City – Creatures Of The Night – Psycho Circus – Parasite – War Machine – Tears Are Falling – Deuce – Lick It Up – I Love It Loud – Hell Or Hallelujah – God Of Thunder – Do You Love Me – Love Gun – Black Diamond – Shout It Out Loud – Rock And Roll All Nite

DVD Tracklisting:

Concert: Detroit Rock City – Creatures Of The Night – Psycho Circus – Parasite – War Machine – Tears Are Falling – Deuce – Lick It Up – I Love It Loud – Hell Or Hallelujah – God Of Thunder – Do You Love Me – Love Gun – Black Diamond – Shout It Out Loud – Rock And Roll All Nite

Acoustic: Coming Home – Plaster Caster – Hard Luck Woman – Christine Sixteen – Goin’ Blind – Love Her All I Can – Beth






Category: CD Reviews, Movie & Theatre Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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