December 28, 2005

Music DVD Review: Kiss - Rock the Nation Live

30 years later and Kiss is still packing the arenas. I have never been a Kiss fan, and will probably never be a member of the Kiss Army, but there is no denying the standing that this kabuki painted quartet has attained over their long career.

Not sure where to start. As the show started, I was excited to listen to some live Kiss, to see the energy, to experience the theatrics, all which I will probably never witness in person. My hopes were deflated a bit as the show started, the performance was a bit rough on all fronts. Has Kiss lost the luster? Are they losing their edge? Maybe.

Don't get me wrong, I think Kiss has given us some great music, but I also think it is about time for their era to end. This DVD would be a fine capper on their career. A collection of the known and the unknown, a show that allows fans to relive the heyday, and the band to show that they can still rock. But, the cracks are showing.

I mentioned earlier that the show started off a bit rough, but it gets better. It just took them a little while to get warmed up, mainly Paul Stanley. Paul's voice is getting a little raspier, and at times sounds a little bit off. Gene Simmons' voice is even worse.

On the other side, Tommy Thayer was a pleasant surprise. His playing was excellent, nailing each and every one of the songs. Even if it is too bad not to have Ace Frehley involved.

The theatrical side of the show is all first rate. We get it all, the pyro, the dripping blood, the fire spitting, the raised drum kit, the big screens above the wall of Marshall stacks, everything you would want. In front of all that is Kiss in their painted glory, running around the acting like they were in their twenties again.

There are a few brief breaks from the action across this two disk set. We get to see the guys as they get ready for the show and talk about touring and how they each get ready in their own way. Sort of interesting, but would have been better off as separate extras, rather than interrupting the flow of the concert.

Technically, the DVD is first rate. The video is sharp, bright, and captures everything on the stage in vivid detail. The sound recording is also very good, capturing the imperfections of the live arena, no overdubs here.

The most interesting aspect of the disk is the alternate viewing which, for a seven song selection, allows you to control the camera angle. If there is one particular band member you want to watch, you can choose his camera. Pretty cool feature, too bad you can't do it for the entire show.

Bottomline. This is a pretty good concert disk, although for a two disk set it does not seem to be all that packed. The show is fun, and I am sure all of the Kiss Army will need to add this to their collection. I liked it, but I think I will ultimately stick to the CD's.

Mildly Recommended.


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