I know what many of you are thinking. "KISS put out another live album? Why?" It's really quite simple and makes a whole lot of sense to followers of the group. First, a new live album serves as a gauge of the band's career as performers. Secondly, it's a fantastic way to mark the milestone and celebrate 40 years of KISS hits. That's really all the reasons KISS Army members need to embrace a new live record.
November of 2014 saw KISS take up residence at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. For nine eruptive nights, the group unleashed their powers and legendary songs on the masses who attended these special performances. Bringing with them all the show-stopping vivacity they've become known for, KISS left the venue in a shambles of explosions, smoke, confetti, and blood.
Every single wonderful trope of a KISS performance is included in “KISS Rocks Vegas”, and they should be. Here is a band delivering the goods to many times folks from all walks of life. Some have never seen them before in a live setting. Just as they always do, KISS puts their best foot forward and strives to win over newcomers and make new fans. That’s how a rock group becomes immortal.
Now that we've addressed the visual performance of the band briefly, let's get on to the musical aspect featured on the CD. KISS trims out quite a bit of material in between the songs that leave dead space which doesn't make much sense if you can't see it. What this does is allow the listener a no-nonsense, rapid and well-paced run through the group's four decades of musical output.
When watching a band as visually pleasing as KISS live, it's easy to get distracted from their actual performance. Explosions and other pyrotechnics can mesmerize an audience and keep them from fully taking in the actual musical output. KISS once again proves that they deliver on all levels of audio-visual excellence.
KISS injects vigor and exuberance into every tune they play for the Vegas spectators. You can hear the passion each member still has for the material, whether it be a song off of the band's 1974 debut album or their latest release, "Monster". They play new or older tunes with just as much energy as they did the first time.
Eric Singer pounds the drums with ferocity while steadily carrying the tempo. Tommy Thayer continues to fill the Spaceman's seven-inch leather heels very well while adding his own flavor of lead guitar playing. Starchild Paul Stanley delivers his unique vocals and onstage banter with the same pure energy he always has. Gene Simmons growls and croons his way through each of his trademark beastly tunes while commanding his legions of fans.
As a sort of special feature, KISS also includes one of their acoustic performances they held for the folks who bought VIP and Meet and Greet tickets for the shows. We get to see the four members of KISS in a much more relaxed setting playing a list of songs we don't get to see often when the band hits the stage in full makeup. Without their masks on, the group's individual personalities shine through. It's fun to see Gene interact with kids and ham it up for the audience of around 150. Paul, Gene, Tommy, and Eric even harmonize like a barbershop quartet at one point, much like they did with the "Scooby-Doo! and KISS" original song "Don't Touch My Ascot".
"KISS Rocks Vegas" is literally the whole package. You get either the Blu-ray or the DVD and a CD capturing the band's highly successful, both musically and visually, residency at the Joint in Hard Rock Cafe. The digibook the discs come in contain great liner notes and tons of exciting behind-the-scenes and live performance photos. No matter if you're in your living room in front of your TV or sitting behind the wheel of your car, you have the Hottest Band in the World at your fingertips to enjoy over and over again.
"KISS Rocks Vegas" is available now in a Blu-Ray / DVD + 2 CDs Deluxe Edition, Blu-ray + CD, DVD + CD, and LP + DVD versions.