Kiss – Symphony: Alive IV Review

Posted: September 12, 2011 by kingcrimsonprog in Music Reviews, Rock, Rock DVD

Kiss - Symphony: Alive IV

Kiss - Symphony: Alive IV DVD

Kiss’s Symphony: Alive IV DVD was recorded back in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, with David Campbell conducting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The band consists of stalwart members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanely as well as origional drummer Peter Criss and ‘new’ guitarist Tommy Thayer in place of Ace Frehly, all back in make up and costumes.

The concert is split into three sections, one with just the band playing up tempo rock songs, one with the band and a string section playing ballads and another with the band as well as the complete symphony orchestra playing hits and rock songs. There are all sorts of explosions, pyro, band members flying on wires, fake blood, special lighting and big screens making the whole thing as interesting to watch as you’d expect from Kiss and this is in addition to the whole orchestra made-up in Kiss style make up.

As a concert; this is a great success, vastly entertaining, visually stunning, well performed and great sounding. The DVD is let down largely however by a crazy and over enthusiastic editing job that flits hyper-actively around, concentrating on all the right things and rarely settling long enough for you to get into anything. I can understand how the makers wanted to convey the excitement and scale of this special concert, and wanted to keep your attention but in my opinion things have been taken too far. After all, as a home viewer most people will want to watch the band play live, not the audience members dancing or jiggling their chests.

If you can get over this larger problem as well as any personal problems you may have with track listing or general cheesiness (people have complained on various levels including Paul Stanley’s dialogue, the more syrupy songs like ‘Shandi,’ or with the orchestra being painted up etc) then you will find a fantastic DVD that is a lot of fun to watch.

In addition to the concert, there is a fairly substantial, but not astounding, making-of documentary covering the origins, practices and build up to the concert.

Newcomers or people who actively dislike mixtures of rock and orchestras may be better suited checking out the fantastic Rock The Nation or Kissology Vol. 1 DVDs; however overall, Kiss Symphony: Alive IV is a very good product, hampered by odd editing choices, but ultimately worth the time and money of most Kiss fans.

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