Review: KISS Rocks Vegas


KISS Rocks Vegas

Eagle Rock (August 2016)

Reviewer: Paul Nicholls

As a KISS fan of many many years, I’ve followed the band through it’s many incarnations and remained as hooked as I always was. Until the final departures of Peter Criss & Ace Frehley the band could do no wrong for me.

Has any band, with maybe the exception of The Beatles, polarised their fan base as much as KISS have done? The factions within the fans of Ace & Peter Vs Tommy & Eric supporters has been a long running and for the most part a 100% pointless exercise. KISS 2016 are Paul, Gene, Tommy and Eric, that’s how they like it, that’s how its going to remain, get with the program people…..

That’s fine, but with any band, the proof is most certainly with the pudding, and to that effect here is a beautifully presented 16 track live extravaganza (which includes as a bonus 7 acoustic tracks and an audio CD).

Recorded live in Las Vegas, the band show off the pyrotechnics for which they are world famous. Musically, I doubt the band have ever sounded better, tight, energetic and bang on the money. Of the 16 tracks here all bar two (Psycho Circus & Hell Or Hallelujah) date back to at least ‘Lick It Up’. That’s not particularly a problem for me but would have liked to have seen more modern material where Tommy Thayer can play his OWN solo’s and not Ace’s ( which he plays note for note perfectly).

Where it begins to fall down for me is on the tracks that Vinnie Vincent or Bruce Kulick did the originals, because the word ‘Mangled’ doesn’t come close … the solo’s are supplanted by something I know not what , but it ain’t a solo ladies and gentlemen. Tommy is an excellent guitarist, so it’s even more mystifying why he doesn’t play the original solos on these songs when its blatantly obvious he could …

Surely in a nostalgic rock gig and kid yourself not, this is 100% what a KISS show is, it’s a pre-requisite? I really didn’t like them breaking into ‘Lick It Up’ with bars from The Who classic ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, inadvertently it served to show how much better the Who song was.

Gene Simmons, the ‘Demon’ of old has, for me, lost some of that menace he possessed on stage, the fire breathing dragon is still there, the blood is still spat … and yet, and yet …. something now is missing.

Paul Stanley is still the consummate front-man, with the crowd in the palm of his hand, guitar slung low & that beautiful make up. Paul’s voice may not be what it once was, but I’d still pay to see the Master!

In fairness Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer are fine musicians, with a fantastic gig but are hired hands (in fact once the KISS Company broke up, I believe all the past members were) And I cannot help but feel that they have so much more to offer than they get to show .

A very worthwhile DVD/CD combination here, and you should get it for your collection as it shows the band as they are now … Me? I’m still watching Largo ’77.