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Kiss: KISSology: The Ultimate Kiss Collection, Vol. 1: 1974-1977

Album Notes

Longtime Kiss fans have been clamoring for decades for the group to clear out their video vaults and start releasing classic performances. And while such past video/DVD releases as Exposed and Kiss My Ass: The Video included a few nuggets, it never seemed to satisfy the entire vast legion of the Kiss Army. The Kiss chaps finally got wise in 2006, and issued the two-DVD set, Kissology: The Ultimate Kiss Collection, Vol. 1: 1974-1977. As the title suggests, the set comprises TV and concert footage from this four-year period, which just happens to be the group at their prime. Included are concerts from 1975 at Winterland, 1976 at Cobo Hall, and 1977 at the Budokan Hall and the Summit, as well as such TV performances (which served as the primary introduction to the group for many fans) as ABC's In Concert, The Mike Douglas Show, The Midnight Special, and the Paul Lynde Halloween Special. Admittedly, many Kiss fans will have had bootleg copies of much of this material for years by this point, but the picture and sound quality certainly exceed what has been passed around over the years. That said, there are a few flubs. Since some of the footage was over 30 years old at the time of the DVD's release, the picture and sound quality vary -- especially on the 1974 and 1975 footage (this is evident during the two songs from The Midnight Special performance -- one in color, one in black and white). Also, the source seems to have been off of video tape for much of the material here -- which is puzzling, since some of the same footage was included on Exposed with better picture quality. But honestly, these complaints are insignificant when you consider the quality of the actual footage and performances included here. Again, this is Kiss at the peak of their powers, back when they were packing arenas worldwide with stage shows that had simply never been taken on the road before. Additionally, Kiss' best songs were from this period -- resulting in some of the strongest set lists of their career (which mixes the expected -- "Detroit Rock City," "Deuce," etc., with the unexpected -- "Ladies Room," "Take Me," etc.). And while the majority of this material has been viewed in collector's circles, there are several bits that have never been widely circulated, including a performance of the unreleased song "Acrobat" from early 1974 and footage of their first Euro tour on the U.K. TV show So It Goes. There's also a pair of Easter Eggs that turn out to be two of the rarest Kiss video items to ever surface (good luck hunting!). Overall, Kissology Vol. 1: 1974-1977 definitely lives up to its lofty billing. [Note: ever the kings of merchandising, there is a third bonus disc included with initial copies of Kissology for a limited time. However, there's a catch. If you purchase the set at Best Buy, the bonus disc is "Cobo Hall 1/25/76" -- which was a night before the Cobo Hall performance included on Kissology. ~ Greg Prato



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