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Music DVD Review: Kiss – Rock the Nation Live

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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.

Draven99's Musings

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  • mario

    i SAW the ‘rock the nation live’ dvd and i like it, KISS is super tight and they sound good.
    people will never be satisfied, KISS fans are tough on KISS more than other bands… i have seen motley crue live and ac/dc and many others live and may i say that motley crue was the worst along with many others….. KISS has always been very good live , just go see other rock bands and you will see that KISS is top notch and professional,….

  • I guess this is better than nothing right? I imagine it is just as you described, not great, not too bad. I wish they would officially release some of their vintage live concerts on DVD though, then I’ll get a little more excited. Suprisingly, I am still looking forward to seeing this DVD, although a little less than when I saw them the first time on their Creatures Of The Night tour, and the last time on their Psycho Circus tour. Will I ever outgrow these damn guys?

  • Kiss have longevity not because they are very talented musicians (which they are not, compared to many other rock bands) but because they put on a fun spectacle. I saw them twice and enjoyed the shows although I am not really a fan. Like AC/DC, they are essentially a classic rock band, and draw fans due to their established older material. If they decided to call it quits, I wouldn’t care, but I can say the same for a ton of other bands who are well past their prime and are just resting on their laurels.