Entertainment Weekly (3/15/96, p.63) - "...Sounding crisper than anyone has a right to expect, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, and the gang remind anyone who still needs reminding that few bands wrote funnier, more knowing babes-and-fast-times anthems..." - Rating: A
MTV UNPLUGGED was recorded live as part of MTV's "Unplugged" television series.
Kiss: Paul Stanley (vocals, acoustic guitar); Gene Simmons (vocals, acoustic bass); Eric Singer (vocals, drums); Bruce Kulick (acoustic guitar).
Additional personnel includes: Jon Grindstaff (conductor, arranger); Ace Frehley (vocals, acoustic guitar); Peter Criss (vocals, drums); Phil Ashley (piano).
Recorded live at Sony Music Studios, New York, New York.
Never given their due by critics but loved by legions of fans, Kiss have become accepted in rock folklore partly because of their ability to write fun songs about groupies, sex and the glamour of being a rock star, without coming off as pretentious louts. These topics get revisited on MTV UNPLUGGED, with the added bonus of prodigal sons Ace Frehley and Peter Criss returning to the fold after almost 15 years in post-Kiss exile.
The song selection on UNPLUGGED goes well beyond the perfuctory greatest-hits album made with acoustic guitars. Although the bulk of Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons' tune choices are from classic '70s albums like DRESSED TO KILL ("Rock Bottom"), DESTROYER ("Do You Love Me") and LOVE GUN ("Plaster Caster"), more obscure albums like CREATURES OF THE NIGHT ("I Still Love You") and MUSIC FROM THE ELDER ("A World Without Heroes," co-written by Lou Reed) are also touched upon.
As enthusiastic as the crowd was during this performance, their ardor overflows when Frehley and Criss appear three-quarters of the way through. For their first two songs--Ace's take on Jagger and Richards' "2,000 Man" and Criss' signature ballad, "Beth"--only the original members of Kiss are heard playing together. Current guitarist Bruce Kulick and drummer Eric Singer return to jam on "Nothin' To Lose." Appropriately enough, the disc ends with the ultimate anthem, "Rock And Roll All Nite," with each of the original members taking a verse and sounding like they're having a ball doing it.