KISS CD box-set featuring Alive (*****), Alive 2 (*****), Alive 3 (***) and the Millennium Concert (****). Alive (1975) was released after just three albums and of the 16 tracks featured, 7 are from incredible debut album KISS. These tracks - Black Diamond, Cold Gin, Firehouse etc - are concert staples, even today. It was always felt that KISS were a better live act than studio one and Alive demonstrates that. Alive 2 (1977) was released after six albums and features material from Love Gun and Destroyer. Similar in many ways to Alive 2, it showcases KISS as a formidable live act. The treat here though is the five extra studio tracks (on side 4 of the LP) which include 'All American Man.' The first two Alive albums are rightly described at two of the very best live albums of all time. Although there's no doubt they're live, all four albums have that weird fake crowd noise (listen to 'Live In The Raw', you'll know what I mean) which make them sound a tad artificial. It would be another 16 years before Alive 3 was released in 1993. The concert isn't bad at all, Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer doing an excellent job on guitars and drums respectively however the concert itself borrows heavily from new album 'Revenge' and lacks many KISS classics. Of the 17 tracks, 5 are from Revenge and notable KISS anthems are missing - there's no 'Love Gun', 'Calling Dr Love' etc but there is a rare outing for 'I Was Made For Loving You.' Unfortunately, Paul Stanley struggles to reach those high notes. The real surprise for me was the excellent Millennium concert from Vancouver featuring the classic line-up of Gene, Paul, Ace and Peter. Although, they were touring with 'Psycho Circus' only two songs from that album (Psycho Circus, Into The Void) make it onto the set-list. Otherwise, it's classics all the way - 'Deuce', 'Firehouse', 'Heavens on Fire', 'Shout It Out Loud' ... ok, it's a little bit sloppy but who cares, right? I think this is an excellent package, two classics, one very good gig, one okay gig ... although I wish they'd included the Monsters of Rock gig from 1988 which I had on tape for many years ... it must be around somewhere, gathering dust at the BBC no doubt. It comes with a glossy collectable booklet and a plastic sleeve to keep it together so it doesn't flop about everywhere. You can't call yourself a member of the KISS Army unless you have this.
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