Customer Review

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag of Tricks, July 29, 2003
This review is from: Symphony: Alive IV (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!"..and the fans just eat it up.
I was most impressed with "Lick it Up" as they tear it up with a new arrangement and an exciting mid tempo stop where Paul tells the audience to "Clap your hands". Tommy also provides some blistering leads which add to this highlight.
"Calling" is lackluster and is missing it's bite but "Psycho Circus" is a roaring beast live.
Sadly,Peter Criss's drum playing is mediocre through most of the concert with sloppy fills and very weak sound.
The acoustic set begins and unfortunately songs from "Unplugged" are played AGAIN... WHY not play something different like "Hard Luck Woman" or "Reason to Live".
Anyway "Shandi" is exciting and inspired as the band responds to australia's curious love for this song and "Forever" is seen in a new tender light with the help of the melbourne ensemble strings.
Side 2 is a mixed bag as some of the songs work with the full orchestra and some don't.
"Black Diamond" and "I Was made for loving you" are tailor made for the orchestra band blend but tunes such as "Love Gun" and "Do You Love me" fall flat.
The orchestra just gets in the way of these songs and more than anything become a nuisance to the songs original uncultivated rawness.
Finally we come to the expected closer of "Rock and Roll all Nite" which surpisingly rips like it never has before and is one of the most exciting moments ever in live rock n' roll history.
It's unbelieveable.
So to sum it up... a mixed bag hitting some high's and some major low's but those high's might just make it worth your dollar.....
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 1, 2012 6:34:26 PM PDT
Peter Criss' drumming is mediocre because he always was mediocre at best.

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 9:33:18 AM PST
Mr. H says:
I too had a problem with seeing Tommy wearing the spaceman gear. I saw it for the first time on this cd art. What a crappy way to find out, AFTER I bought the cd! If I want to hear Ace I'll listen to Ace, not some guy who's been told to play like him. I owned a couple of Black & Blue albums back in the day & Tommy did NOT sound like Ace. It was so embarrassing when I heard it on Sonic Boom that I had to sell my copy. Once I found out how little Ace actually played on Psycho Circus & that it was really Tommy I sold that cd too. He sounds enough like Ace that I was fooled into thinking it was Ace playing! Sadly this has become the norm for KI$$ corp.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2013 6:44:18 PM PDT
Donovan88 says:
I saw Ace, Paul, and Peter Criss at Toad's place in the 90s with their own bands, and it was remarkable how each of them brought their piece of KISS to the show, especially when they all did Detroit rock city. The all showed how irreplaceable they are in the band.
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