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Thank the Gods Of Rock & Roll because it is finally here! Yes, the legions of the KISS Army and the rest of the world finally have a boxed set collection of early KISS concerts in their entirety along with dozens of rare television appearances and promotional spots. KISSology Volume 1 is the first in a series of such DVD releases and in my opinion this is off to a flying start as it features concerts such as Winterland (1975), Cobo Hall, Detroit (1976), as well as Budokan Japan and Houston, TX (1977). Any KISS fan will admit this is the kind of footage that we have been screaming for the band to release for many years. Until now only some select clips were offered as teasers on releases such as Exposed and KISS My A**. The concerts for the most part are incredible in terms of quality based on their age and in most cases the sound is very clear as well. It's much better than any bootleg that you would find from these same shows if you had seen them around and it is surely better than the old video tapes that were made when some of this stuff was first broadcast (if you were one of those people lucky enough to have the means to tape things back then). The two DVD's run about six hours in length and they give you a 20 page photo loaded booklet along with a "backstage pass" from the Spring Tour which makes this one cool addition to your music video library. While the concerts are a great way to enjoy KISS, you are also able to witness the bands rise from their beginnings as we see them as early as 1974 as guests on the Mike Douglas show. Gene's interview and Mike's shocked guests are priceless (especially Ms. Fields who wonders aloud if under Gene's makeup is a nice Jewish boy). There is also a short but interesting documentary from when the band visited Cadillac Michigan in 1975 and literally took over the town for a couple of days. KISS received the key to the city that day and went down in history as a result. We get The Paul Lynde Halloween special but it only includes one of the three numbers performed on the show. Perhaps they will make the follow up unless the footage was lost. It's fun stuff to see and if you had been a fan for a long time this will take you back while if you are someone who only has a small idea of them then this will be an education.

I must inform that besides all of the amazing clips and concerts that there is one downside to this and it's based on the fact that three different DVD's were used as a bonus disk. So depending on where you get your copy, you will have one of those three as your bonus DVD. Fortunately it is not a mystery disk since it's listed on the front of the box for you to know beforehand. It is also no mystery why the band KISS has had such a lasting and powerful impact on the music scene. In 1973 four guys from Queens set out to give you something to remember forever. You Wanted the Best and You Got It, KISSology Volume 1 - I can hardly wait for the next one.

DVD1: "Acrobat" (1974), ABC In Concert (1974), Mike Douglas Show (1974), Winterland (1975), The Midnight Special (1975), KISS Alive! Promo Clips (1975), Documentary: Cadillac Michigan (1975), Cobo Hall (1976).
DVD2: So It Goes (1976), Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976), Budokan Hall (1977), Don Kirshner's Rock Concert (1977), The Summit (1977).

Bonus DVD: According to press these three bonus DVD's that are scattered about the various reseller mediums will only be part of the boxed set for the initial pressings. We have listed the three different ones for your better investigation into them. 1. Madison Square Garden (1977); 2. Concert Capitol Center, Largo MD (1977); 3. Cobo Hall, Detroit MI (1976).

Added: November 22nd 2006
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: KISS Website
Hits: 3278
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-11-22 15:52:20
My Score:

The late 1970's were a time when KISS was a bona-fide phenomenon. The mix of heavy rock, costumes, and makeup really clicked with young fans, and from the years 1975 through 1979 KISS ruled the world, selling millions of albums, merchandise, and playing to loads of people at concerts around the globe. Until now, many of the famous shows that were filmed and videotaped were only available on bootlegged VHS tapes and DVD's, as hungry fans were starving to have footage, regardless of the quality, of their heroes early in the career. Now with the release of KISSology, you can throw away most of those poor quality videos, as the band has finally given in and made some of these concerts available. This first installment contains two jam-packed DVD's, plus a bonus disc, containing a host of memorable concerts that the band played from 1974-1977.

DVD #1 contains plenty of vintage treasures. The famous Winterland show from San Francisco in 1975 is here in all its black & white glory, as well as footage from the Mike Douglas Show (hilarious interview with Gene) and three songs from the ABC's In Concert show from 1974. These all show the band in early costumes playing songs from the first two albums, and their sound and stage show is pretty raw at the time compared to the grandiose and bombastic nature that it would take on in the very near future. The second night of the historic 2 night stay at Detroit's Cobo Hall in 1976 is included, and many will remember that it was this gig that the KISS Alive album was culled from. While devout followers of this album will surely recognize this performance, it's plainly obvious that the recordings were touched up for the album, as you can hear most of the warts in the form of off key vocals and wrong guitar notes here in this set.

DVD # 2 has the splendid 1977 performance at the Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan, and here the band is firing on all cylinders, with a set filled with songs from Destroyer and Rock and Roll Over as well as a few older favorites. Paul Stanley is in fine vocal form here, and Ace Frehley really playing a mean lead guitar. The quality of this show is perhaps the best in this set, and the audio crisp and clear. Also on this disc is the band's appearance on the Don Kirschner's Rock Concert in 1977, and the second night of a two night stay at the Houston Summit in Houston, Texas in September 1977, where the band is celebrating the release of Love Gun.

With over 6 hours of content, this is a treasure chest for KISS lovers. While it's obvious that some of the material has been touched up here a tad (I would think that KISS would understand that many of their fans know they were not the best and most precise musicians on the planet), overall the footage and sound is very good here.Depending on where you purchase the DVD from, you also get a bonus 3rd DVD that includes another show from this time frame. My copy includes the Madison Square Garden show from February 1977, but sadly only about 1/2 the show is here. Hopefully the band will include this in its entirety on a future release.

» Reader Comments:

Posted by Hugh Dark on 2006-11-15 13:46:15
My Score:

Kissology is the best official Kiss release in a very long time. It is a fascinating look at the band in their heyday in the mid 70's. I was very interested to see if Ace and Peter would make the grade after hearing so much negative commentary on them by other band members. Ace, for the most part, is pretty much on the money in all of his performances and really holds the rhythm down while P. Stanley is pouting. It is amazing that he is even able to stand! I mean, one look at him in the Largo show and you will know what I mean. Peter, on the other hand, is the difference between day and night. On the Cobo bonus disc- he is manic and looks like he is literally going to explode! On the Largo disc- he is lethargic and uninspired! Ace fits in this description for Largo as he just looks positively bored with the whole affair and is probably looking forward to thrashing a hotel room after the show. I was also surprised by how boring the band can be in spite of all of their props! Other criticims I have is that many of these performances are touched up quite a bit. One has to watch with an honest and discerning eye to see this, but it is very apparent. I have heard from many sources that the band sounded like a "train wreck" when they played and some of this is certainly true. That aside, I will always be a fan and found the set to be very entertaining(Peter and Ace) as well as informative. As for the bonus items; they should have put a different back-stage pass in each one and differentiated the sets by different covers representing the era of the bonus disc. Anyway, that is my 2 cents. Get out there and pick this up while it is on sale!

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