KISS – Kiss Alive 1975-2000

KISS - Kiss Alive 1975-2000


Release date: November 10, 2006

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Another year has passed and it looks increasingly unlikely that Kiss will be back into the studio to record a follow-up to their reunion comeback release of 1998, Psycho Circus. Since then, a plethora of reissues and compilations have plugged the gap … some good and some bad to placate the hungry hoards of the Kiss Army. Kiss Alive 1975-2000 is next up in the ever-expanding Kiss discography.

Bringing together the uber classic Alive and Alive II pairings from the golden era of the band with Alive III from 1993 and the previously unissued The Millennium Concert plus two bonus tracks, together with an outstanding 70+ page full color photo-packed booklet, along with insightful sleeve notes and band commentary, this makes for one pretty special package.

Alive has entered into Hard Rock folklore as one of THE ultimate live album: the disc that put Kiss on the Rock ‘n’ Roll map. From the explosive opening of “Deuce” to the upbeat “Strutter” to the bombastic ending of “Black Diamond” and the energetic closing pairing of “Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite” and “Let Me Go Rock ‘n’ Roll, Alive is the blueprint for all great live albums. Although there has subsequently been some dispute as to how “live” this album actually was, there is no denying that this is a right rollicking sonic experience from start to finish.

Alive II followed two years later, recorded on the mammoth Love Gun tour at the Los Angeles Forum, and in many way even manages to eclipse its illustrious predecessor. Featuring such Kiss staples as “Detroit Rock City,” “Calling Dr. Love,” and “King of the Night Time World,” Alive II is the sound of a band at their very peak. Side 3 in the good old days of vinyl, which runs from “I Stole Your Love” to “Shout It Out Loud” on the CD, still to this day represents the very pinnacle of live recordings, and in “God of Thunder” contains one of the heaviest riffs ever committed to vinyl. (For a more detailed review of Kiss Alive II, check out the MER review here.

It will always be a monumental task to match Alive and Alive II. Times have moved on, people’s perspective of the glory days of the 1970’s have become more rose-tinted, and Alive and Alive II had captured a moment in time that could never be repeated. Alive III from 1993 was a long-awaited follow-up to the earlier releases, and caught Kiss back on form following a less-than-inspiring trudge through the 1980’s. Featuring arguably their most musically gifted line-up — founding members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons together with long time guitarist Bruce Kulick and the well-travelled Eric Singer on drums; the band seemed rejuvenated following their best studio album in over a decade in Revenge. The tour, which featured a potent mix of classics with vintage obscurities, along with select cuts from their 80’s catalog and several from their Revenge platter, saw the band hitting heights not reached for many years, and the band felt that it was the right time to capture a show for posterity. Although not hitting the peak of Alive and Alive II, Alive III nevertheless is a good, solid live album.

Back on Millennium Eve, Kiss recorded what was planned to be the fourth installment of their legendary Alive album series, however, for one reason or another this was shelved and replaced by Kiss Symphony: Alive IV, recorded with The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and released in 2003, however, what the Kiss Army really wanted was a new live record by the original masked marvels, and their wish has now been granted as that very show is included as the fourth disc on Kiss Alive 1975-2000. Recorded during their still-continuing Farewell Tour in Vancouver in front of 45,000 rabid Canadians, The Millennium Concert featured 14 previously unreleased recordings, together with “Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite,” which made an appearance on the sumptuous 5-CD Kiss Box Set.

Including songs from Psycho Circus, together with a first appearance on a live Kiss album, the Destroyer cut “Do You Love Me,” The Millennium Concert also features three songs from the 80’s Kiss catalogue played by Ace Frehley and Peter Criss for the first time on an album. Overall, the band sounded up for a memorable night and provided a tight performance, although Criss, at times, does appear less energetic than in the band’s heyday. The Millennium Concert brings the band full circle, closing the 20th Century with a bang …literally!

The earlier recordings benefit from being newly remastered, giving more punch to the bottom end and a brighter, clearer, harder edge to the songs with a clarity absent from the original mix.

For existing Kiss fans, the lure of the Millennium Concert, together with a couple of bonus tracks in the form of “Take It Off” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite” (single version), combined with the superb flight case style packaging and an awesome booklet should be enough to tempt them to part with their hard earned cash, although it would have been good to see the likes of “Hooligan,” “Take Me,” and “Do You Love Me,” which were originally intended for inclusion on Alive II, show up as bonus tracks or perhaps a live recording featuring the much missed Eric Carr, but then fans shouldn’t be too greedy should they?

For those who have yet to be converted to the delights of Kiss, Kiss Alive 1975-2000 would be the perfect place to start, and for those who would only want to buy one Kiss album, then this is the one for you. As a testament to one of the greatest live bands of all time, Kiss Alive 1975-2000 is an essential release.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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