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Symphony: Alive IV Live

188 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, July 22, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jewel case

In the Kiss universe, more is always, well, more. With this latest installment in the masked rock marauders' live franchise, they have gilded the already overweening lily even more by hiring the 60-piece Melbourne Symphony to accompany them on 10 tracks. Like those who have gone before them--from Deep Purple's coupling with the London Philharmonic Orchestra back in 1970 to Metallica's 1999 pairing with the San Francisco Symphony--Kiss's symphonic partners add a dimension and complexity hitherto absent from their hard-rock ethos. But that's not necessarily a good thing since Kiss are true American primitives, and their anthemic songs work best in their raw, unvarnished state. The addition of the orchestra muddies their trademark sound: at times Paul Stanley's bombastic in-your-face delivery is strangled by an aggressive army of strings, which also tend to totally subsume Gene Simmons's sturdy bass playing. The symphony musicians (who all performed in Kiss makeup) are best appreciated on a lumbering beast of a song like "God of Thunder," where they become an ominous presence adding menacing sound effects and a chilling dynamic as Simmons croaks out the lyrics, or on "Beth," the band's Top 10 ballad, which brandished strings in its original form. For those who aren't enamored of the pairing of black tie and black leather, Kiss has considerately included six unadorned tracks, as well as six never-before-performed-live acoustic versions of classic hits. --Jaan Uhelszki

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. DEUCE
  7. BETH
  11. SHANDI

Disc: 2

  8. Black Diamond - Kiss w/The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  9. Great Expectations - Kiss w/The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  10. I Was Made For Lovin' You - Kiss w/The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  11. Rock And Roll All Nite - Kiss w/The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 22, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2003
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Sanctuary
  • ASIN: B0000A1REJ
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,874 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Keith K. on August 9, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Being a die hard KISS fan for almost 30 years now, this new release posed some challenges to my loyalties. I've read the comments ranging from the tunnel visioned "The greatest album ever!", to the equally closed minded "They sucked then, they suck now" routine. I really believe the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Yes, I know this is the 6th collection of live material from "The Masters Of Bombastic Musical Theatrics" (if you count "Unplugged" and "You Wanted The Best..."), but face it...that's what these boys do best...Perform Live. In my book, it's just plusses and minuses as to how good (or bad) this album is.
MINUS: This is, for the most part (actually, with the sole exception of "Psycho Circus"), a rehash of the live stuff that made them the kings of the stadium shows in the 70's and 80's...and that they have continued to exploit for the last 7 years with nothing new or original to be seen anywhere in the near future.
PLUS: This collection has some of the best live recordings of these songs ever released, most notably "Let Me Go Rock & Roll", "God Of Thunder", and "Black Diamond". There are also some songs that have never been released live before..."Psycho Circus", "Shandi", and "Great Expectations" (which lends itself incredibly well to this format), so there is a trace of uniqueness to this particular live set.
MINUS: Some of the songs don't sound as good with full orchestration.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By demien on July 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I've been a Kiss fan since 1976 so i was really weary about purchasing a live album featuring the makeup lineup minus ACE and also a performance with an orchestra.
In some cases their concept worked and in some it didn't...
First i must point out that their is an energy present from the band that i haven't felt in many years.
They really sound hungry again most likely because they want this concept to work so much yet i sense also for the first time a sense of insecurity.
You can hear it in Paul Stanley's comments between songs such as "Is this Cool?"
The band knows deep down that it's pretty sad that they have to resort to putting a guy from a Kiss tribute band in Ace Frehley's makeup and costume and sell this off.
The fact that no one can deny is that Tommy Thayer can look like Ace but he will never be Ace Frehley.
Ace Frehley composed those guitar parts for those songs and he gave Kiss their raw unchained sound which Tommy does not have.
Ace also invented his space Ace character not Tommy.
Paul Stanley says that Kiss is not about one member but i must disagree with the point that Ace gave Kiss their sound with his guitar playing.
Basically Paul is saying that any member is replaceable in a rock band.
The sound from a great guitarist comes from his soul and you can not reproduce someone's soul.
Anyway here is my review.
Side one starts off with the usual and overplayed crowd pleasers of "deuce" and "strutter" which are played effectively and with big gutsy bombast.
Gene Simmons is really pumped as you can hear him screaming during the opening of "deuce", "Let me hear you!"..
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Ball on July 27, 2003
Format: Audio CD
So Alive IV finally came out after being promised to the KISS Army for, what, two or three years now? This KISS Symphony is waaaaaaaaaay better than what the original incarnation of ALive IV was supposed to be (the Millenium New Year's show in Vancouver). And who can blame KISS for taking the opportunity to fix their old record label's mistake (delay after delay of Alive IV and finally missing the boat completely when KISS left to start their own label) by finding something that they had never done yet - play with an orchestra. Tommy Thayer shines through as the Space Man of Right Now, Peter is back behind the kit where he belongs (E. Singer is great, but No), Gene keeps things tight on the bass, and Paul is, well, hard to shut up between songs. The biggest treat for KISS fans are the performances of Lick It Up, Forever, Shandi, and Great Expectations, all songs never recorded live in make-up. This version of Lick It Up is also the best version I've ever heard played. The show-stopper is God of Thunder with the orchestra adding even more ominous tones to an all ready dark arrangement - Gene had to be happy to with getting the top draw.
Overall it's not fair to compare this to the other three Alive albums, this one plays by its own rules. 4 out of 5 stars since Ace didn't show up to play.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. C. H. Banen on January 2, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've always been a Kiss fan but ever since the reunion of the original line-up in 1996 their (old) songs have been rehashed and repackaged too often. The DVD version of Symphony is AWESOME and the sales figures of it say it all: Kiss is an audio-visual spectacle, hence the excellent sales of the DVD. On double CD -especially the 'limited' (ahum...) edition digi-pack - the band rocks equally fantastic but the general audience didn't buy the album so saleswise the CD version failed miserable. Let me make clear that this album deserved to be #1 but this cheaply repackaged single disc.... what a joke !!! The beautiful digi-pack double CD only costs some $ 4 more than this sh**ty CD and who oh who is gonna buy it then ??? If you want this CD, spend the $ 4 extra and get the digi-pack double CD.
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