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Kiss - Symphony: The DVD

4.0 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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(Sep 09, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Media Type: DVD
Artist: KISS
Street Release Date: 09/09/2003

KISS bassist/chief provocateur/world-class swagmeister Gene Simmons once infamously claimed that his cartoon shock-rockers were more influential than Dylan, though the driving sentiment behind this double-disc DVD chronicle of the band's liaison with the Melbourne Symphony seems to paraphrase "Love Minus Zero": "There's no success like excess / and excess is the best success of all." The history of the fusion of rock bands and orchestras is a long and notoriously spotted one, though matters of decorum have seldom concerned--or deterred--KISS. Disc 1 outlines the genesis of the project, with an earnest and typically irony-free Simmons meeting with perpetually bemused conductor David Campbell to discuss mutual musical quandaries, like synchronizing explosions and whether the orchestra can get their KISS makeup on with due haste. Rehearsal and preparation footage display an unusually affable orchestra and band, a mood that carries over into its pyrotechnic-punctuated greatest hits set with the band (Tommy Thayer ably filling the platforms of the departed Ace Frehley). It all works surprisingly well, if at some pitched, Vegas-showroom-in-hell level of bombast. It's a technically impressive show and package, if one that feels distinctly padded as a double-disc (the performance of the "Symphony"'s Act III is repeated on both discs). Less is more? Not here. --Jerry McCulley

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: KISS, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sanctuary Records
  • DVD Release Date: September 9, 2003
  • Run Time: 219 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000ARSSI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,502 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William F. Thompson on September 10, 2003
Format: DVD
Finally a full length live DVD release from probably the most visual band in rock history. There are two DVD's included with Disc 2 containing an entire full length Kiss Concert filmed in February, 2003 in front of 40,000 wildly enthusiastic fans in Melbourne, Australia. The concert is presented on Disc 2 in three Acts with Act 3 repeated on Disc 1 following an informative documentary on the preparation for the show including the band's rehearsals with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO). Act 1 is the four band members (Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Tommy Thayer doing a good job filling Ace Freley's shoes) in full make up performing six Kiss classics (See listing below). Act 2 is an semi acoustic set with a string ensemble from the MSO and Act 3 is Kiss on stage with the full MSO.
As far as the positives, the 5.1 sound mix is superb and the video quality is excellent. Kiss is in full makeup with the full stage show Kiss fans have come to expect. All songs are presented uncut and the band performs as well as they ever have although they did seem a little nervous at the beginning of Act 3 when they began playing Detroit Rock City with the full MSO. This quickly changed however and the band settled in to perform a tremendous show. A particular highlight of Act 3 was Kiss performing Great Expectations from the Destroyer Album with The Australian Children's Choir.
The only real negatives were that the video director seemed intent on constantly using all 45 camera angles available and sometimes the angles changed so rapidly as to become somewhat overwhelming. There also may have been a few too many crowd shots although seeing how enthusiastic the crowd was did add to the visual presentation.
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Format: DVD
First, let me say that I really like this DVD. The sound is superb and you can really hear the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra better than on the CD release. The fast-paced edits are a bit much but it keeps with the fast pace of the music...The documentary/making of segment is cool, as well as the TV show appearance. Overall, this is a very entertaining DVD from THE most entertaining band in the world.
I've been a KISS fan for 27 years (seen them live 26 far) and have tons of video (mostly bootleg) of the band live. I notice all the flaws...but, live shows (especially on the scale of KISS) are rarely perfect. At this one-off show they had one chance and one chance only to get it shot and get it right.
In response to the question of dubbing? YES. Absolutely. For whatever reason I found it really easy to notice using Gene as the source. This is why: after spitting blood prior to "God Of Thunder" can see parts AFTER that song where he has no blood on him...then he does, then he doesn't...and well, you get the idea.
Especially during "Great Expectations" where they cut to him and he has perfect make-up and NO BLOOD...then cut again and there's the blood...then again NO...then again yes! In addition, notice that he has TWO (2) basses during the song...the ax and signature.
Maybe they shot footage on the stage without the audience and cut it in later? Who knows...did anyone else notice this or am I imagining it all? Just wondering.
So, there is obvious dubbing involved. And yes, sometimes with their mouths covered by the mics you can splice in any part of any song and it isn't really noticeable especially when the shot is quick...which there is a lot of in this DVD. But, in truth...SO WHAT?...
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Format: DVD
I was looking forward to this one, as I already have the CD. Well, the sound of the DVD is great. Just turn off the picture and turn up the surround sound. The video itself is unwatchable. The worst editing in the history of video. I have read where some think this is nitpicking. It's not. When editing takes away from the viewing experience instead of adds to it, then it is a problem.
A brief example: I chose one of my favorite songs, "Shout It Out Loud" and decided to count the number of edits, camera, transitions, etc...196 in a 3 minute song. 196...that comes out to an average change every 1.08 seconds. Now, some shots actually lingered for maybe 2 seconds, and some just popped on screen for a fraction of a second, but 196 in 3 minutes? Also, you will notice that Gene has the punisher bass in some quick shots and the axe bass in others, all in the same song. This is called continuity, or in this case, lack of continuity...We all know Gene does not change basses back and fourth several times during the same song. It is just careless, sloppy editing.
Unwatchable...Sad, because this is a great concert. The editing actually makes me physically sick. I could only watch about half of this thing before a splitting headache made me turn it off. I would love to see this redone with some actual skill applied to editing. Some lingering shots of guitar solos, some wide screen views of the whole band, some scenes that last longer than 2 seconds.
Nitpicking...I don't think so. This is a great video documentary of a historic event by one of the world's greatest bands that has been reduced to unwatchable status by poor, thoughtless editing.
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