"You Wanted The Best And You Got The Best, The Hottest Boxed Set In The World --- KISSology Volume 2!!!!" Yes indeed fellow KISS fans - our favorite band has returned with the second installment of unreleased footage from deep inside their historic vaults and believe me there are some real gems on this one. KISSology 2 picks up right where its predecessor left off and covers the years spanning 1978-1991 so that means there is a fair amount of Eric Carr footage to enjoy on top of all the other goodies that they decided to share with us this time around. Given the amount of actual songs that are featured across the three DVD's in the set, I have opted to instead line out the included main features and then discuss the contents as a whole. There are quite a bit of treats presented on the release and for the most part KISS fans already know about many of these segments existence. Let's face it - the tape traders and bootleggers were once rampant at music conventions of the past and as result much of this footage was available for years until they cracked down on it something fierce. I have to admit that it's really nice to see this stuff released officially and restored and cleaned up for maximum viewing/audio pleasure. Let's go over some of the highlights now shall we?
"The Land Of Hype And Glory" piece is nice and captures KISS mid-way in their career climb around the time of the Dynasty album but it's an excerpt. Since I don't recall the actual piece from when it aired I am not sure what's exactly missing from it. The band was still regular and relevant entertainment news at the time and was able to easily snare television spots like this and the hilarious piece with Tom Snyder. Ace Frehley takes over this interview with the normally stoic reporter and you can almost hear Gene Simmons' stare melting the very air around him as he speaks. We get "Attack Of The Phantoms" or "KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park" ala the European theatrically released version of the same television movie that all US KISS fans of the proper age watched back in 1979. While it was viewed as a disaster by the band themselves, they still realized its historical importance and cult status among the fans and since they were never able to get the rights back from NBC have given us the theatrical release instead. There are quite a few differences such as an extended KISS soundtrack for a lot of the backing scenes as opposed to crowd noise or dead silence. I personally did not recall any additional footage but some areas did seem longer than I remembered so this worked for me and it was nice to feel like the kid who was sitting in front of my Grandmothers television once again as I watched it. If you have not seen this movie yet in any fashion the price of the DVD is worth it for this alone. The "Shandi" video is cute but nothing all that special as was the rather boring interview with drummer Peter Criss who was meeting with a reporter to talk about his "quitting" the group. KISS in Australia was a cool commentary and the Sydney Australia show was fantastic. We get Eric Carr the Fox on drums and we even find the band introducing him in a commercial for their appearance. They don't include his official presentation on "Kids Are People Too" anywhere and I thought this was a grievous omission. They did manage to win me over by including the three song appearance from Friday's which found the band performing numbers from their new album Music From The Elder. There is a Creatures Of The Night concert and while it's not the full show it does feature Vinnie Vincent. A great Hot In The Shade concert is delivered, but again seems to be missing key tunes like "Rise To It" and "Forever" which were signature tunes during this tour. The DVD comes to a close with the somber "Day In Rock" from MTV which informs the world that drummer Eric Carr had passed away. We get his last video with the band and we even see him in his hospital bed as he recovered from his operation. He would die soon after and Hard Rock music mourns him still.
I loved this release despite their cutting out portions of certain key segments (like Tom Snyder or Land Of Hype and Glory) as well as the fact that they were delivering incomplete shows when most fans already know that the full version exists based on the bootlegs they had seen over the years. They could have made me forgive them all transgressions had they included the "Animalize Live Uncensored" which was a great concert and found KISS on top of their non-makeup game. Either way this is something that is really worth looking into for any KISS fan and even those who are building their own historical catch up as new fans. Don't worry, the KISS Army loves when new recruits so sign on up.
Contents: "Land Of Hype And Glory" excerpt (1979), "The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder" (1979), "KISS in Attack Of The Phantoms" (1979), "Shandi" – video, CNN Interview with Peter Criss, Rockpop, KISS Invades Australia documentary, KISS in Sydney, Australia, Fridays, Top Pop, Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro 1983, MTV Unmasking & Interview (1983), Cascais Hall Lisbon, Portugal (1983), The Spectrum Philadelphia PA (1987), Palace Of Auburn Hills, Detroit MI (1990), MTV "The Day In Rock" (11/25/91), "God Gave Rock & Roll To You" (1991).
Bonus DVD's: Ah KISS you have done it to us once again and released your amazing boxed set with three, yes three, separate bonus DVD's that features content that you have not issued elsewhere nor included on this boxed sets predecessor. Given this is the second chapter in the series we now have a total of six such bonuses across the sets. I have lined out some brief comments and the songs that appear on the bonus DVD's and can shed a little insight as I was able to actually see two of them.
New York Ritz Club: Filmed from the "Crazy Nights" tour in 1988 (Best Buy only). This show was a practice run for KISS who was headed over to Europe to perform at The Monsters Of Rock festival. The Ritz was an incredible club and to see a band of KISS stature at the time performing there was a treat for anyone who attended. The appearance would be broadcast over one of the area Rock stations for the larger public to enjoy. I am happy to exclaim that I myself was there and still remember it like it was yesterday. I also have an audio tape of the same appearance which made me unhappy to find many songs from the show omitted. The video itself is a little shaky and sometimes the sound is inconsistent but it is filmed right from the audience and gives the viewer the sense that they are also at the show and mingling with the KISS Army of 1988. Featured songs are: Deuce, Love Gun, Fits Like A Glove, Heavens On Fire, Cold Gin, Black Diamond, Firehouse, Crazy Crazy Nights, Calling Dr. Love, War Machine, Tears Are Falling.
Budokan Hall, Tokyo Japan: Filmed during the "Crazy Nights" tour in 1988 (all major retail and online outlets except Best Buy and Wal-Mart). This was a great visual and audio experience to find included and shows KISS at the top of their commercial year's game in front of a music hungry Japanese audience. The region has always embraced KISS, so I enjoyed being a part of the action as well. Of course much like the Ritz DVD, this one is clearly missing more tracks than it included. Featured songs: Love Gun, Cold Gin, Crazy Crazy Nights, Heaven's On Fire, War Machine, I Love It Loud, Lick It Up, I Was Made For Loving You, Detroit Rock City.
Largo, MD show from "Dynasty" tour: I wasn't able to see this one but I do remember that this tour featured material from the band's individual solo albums and that alone makes this worth searching for. When KISS performed on home turf at Madison Square Garden for this tour I was in attendance. It was my first concert ever so I have the songs forever etched in my mind. Like its bonus DVD brothers in the other boxed sets this one is missing a number of tunes. Featured songs: Radioactive, Move On, Calling Dr. Love, Firehouse, New York Groove, I Was Made For Lovin' You, Love Gun, Tossin' And Turnin', God Of Thunder, Shout It Out Loud, Black Diamond, Detroit Rock City, Rock And Roll All Nite.
*** These bonus DVD's are only available in the initial production run of the boxed set.