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Kiss: KISSology: The Ultimate Kiss Collection, Vol. 2: 1978-1991

Album Notes

2006's Kissology: The Ultimate Kiss Collection, Vol. 1: 1974-1977 DVD set did a splendid job of covering Kiss at their peak during the '70s -- but there was much more of the story left to tell. So with demand still high for classic live Kiss footage (less than a year since its release, Kissology has been certified platinum -- five times over), the masked masters of merchandising have done the next logical thing: issue Kissology, Vol. 2. Similar in setup to its predecessor, this multi-disc set (three DVD's total) features a few complete vintage concerts, promo bits, interviews, and TV appearances -- spanning the years 1978 through 1991. Of the three discs, the first is the only one not to include any live material, as its centerpiece is the painful to watch made-for-TV movie, Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, which is included in the rarely seen "European theatrical version" titled Kiss in Attack of the Phantoms and includes different scenes and music in certain spots. If you want to inflict pain upon yourself -- try watching this entire stinker from beginning to end in one sitting. But the disc also includes the group's entertaining interview on The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder from 1979, complete with comedic banter from a visibly inebriated Ace Frehley. The second disc features a complete concert from the group's blockbuster 1980 tour of Australia -- drummer Eric Carr's first -- which features such rarely subsequently performed Unmasked tracks as "Shandi," "Talk to Me," and "Is That You?" Additionally, the show provides quite a bit of substance to claims by some hardcore Kiss fans, that the Carr-Frehley-Simmons-Stanley line-up was their strongest. But from an oddity standpoint, nothing can beat the group's appearance on the short-lived Saturday Night Live knock-off, Fridays (which featured the then-unknown Michael Richards and Larry David) from January 1982, during which the group performs a "mini-Music from "The Elder" set" for the only time in their career ("The Oath," "A World Without Heroes," and "I"). The third disc is comprised mostly of non-makeup era Kiss, but begins with a bang -- the largest concert the group ever put on from their original "makeup era" (and the first tour with guitarist Vinnie Vincent) -- in support of their underrated Creatures of the Night album, at Maracana Stadium in Brazil. Also included is the group unmasking on MTV (which features the late, great VJ, J.J. Jackson), as well as a complete performance from 1990 in support of the tepid Hot in the Shade album (which would prove to be Carr's last tour with the band; sadly, he would die a year later). Unlike the first Kissology, several tours go either largely or entirely undocumented here. This includes the tours in support of Dynasty (a show from this tour is only available as a bonus disc), Lick It Up (a pair of songs from their first-ever performance sans makeup, from Portugal in 1983), and Asylum (which featured the most gaudy/inadvertently hilarious costumes the group ever sported). Also mysteriously absent is the group's 1985 home video, Animalize Live Uncensored, which has never been officially released on DVD Stateside. But again, these complaints are small, and certainly don't take away from the big picture: Kissology, Vol. 2 is another smartly assembled package of live Kiss. [Three separate "bonus discs" will be included with each copy of Kissology, Vol. 2 depending where you purchase it: Capitol Center 1979 from the Dynasty tour, and two shows from the Crazy Nights tour in 1988 -- Budokan Hall and the Ritz] ~ Greg Prato


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