Finally!! Kiss decided to release another live album and this one is ‘Alive III’ which was 17 years after their last release. Now they did release a live video, but this is the first album since ‘Alive II’ in 1977. The band recorded the album during the Revenge Tour in 1992 and used the recordings from the Cleveland, Detroit and Indianapolis stops of the tour. This is also the first live album of the Non-Makeup era and the first to not have the original Kiss line-up. The line-up is of course Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, but now it is Eric Singer on Drums and still Bruce Kulick on guitar. Oh yeah, and off to the side of the stage on keyboards is Derek Sherinian who toured with the band at this time since they added keyboards to a lot of the late 80’s songs.
Before we get to the music, let’s talk the packaging. We get a 2 LP set in a beautiful Gatefold cover. One side of the Gatefold has a really cool Kiss Family Tree. Although hard to read at times, it is a cool tracing back of where all the Kiss members, current and past, come from in their musical careers.
On the flip side of the Gatefold, you get the track listing and all the tour credits as well as some band pictures and a little note from the band.
My copy of the album isn’t the original vinyl release, no I’m not that lucky. It is the 40th Anniversary re-issues the band did back in 2014 and it is on 180-Gram Audiophile Vinyl, but honestly I don’t think it sounds any better on this vinyl then the CD, yes I will admit that.
Now unlike ‘Alive!’ and ‘Alive II’ which stayed away from repeating a song the other release had, this one does not do that. It has a few repeats with “Deuce”, “Watchin’ You”, “Rock & Roll All Nite” and “Detroit Rock City”. I have to say with 17 tracks, to only repeat 4 is actually not that bad. I’ll take that. The rest of the songs cover albums from ‘Dynasty’ up to their latest release ‘Revenge’ which is a very broad spectrum, however, they don’t cover any songs from ‘Unmasked’, ‘Music From the Elder’, ‘Asylum’ or even ‘Crazy Nights’ which I think is a mistake on their part. Drop the 4 repeats and guess what, all albums could be covered!!
The band brought in Eddie Kramer to produce the album as he had done both ‘Alive!’ and ‘Alive II’. Why would they not. I am sure this album is full of overdubs and really isn’t that live, but I didn’t care on the other two, I don’t really care now. It sounds live and that is all I care about anyway. I am okay with that illusion. The album was certified Gold and actually went to #9 on the Billboard Charts, however, I actually missed this album when it came out. I didn’t buy this album or even hear it until a couple years ago when I bought the re-issue. And dang I missed out as I think this is really a great album. Now, I still think Kiss: Animalize Live Uncensored should have been released as an album and been ‘Alive III’, but I will let that go as this is pretty darn good.
Now on to the music. I won’t go song by song in any kind of detail as there are 17 tracks. I will stick to summaries and highlighting my favorite moments instead for sanity and time saving purposes.
The album opens with “Creatures of the Night” as it should as that is great opening track although here it sounds a little slower paced for some reason to me. Not as much umph! Not overly explosive which is my only real gripe otherwise it is still a great song. Then they go straight in to “Deuce” and I have to say “Deuce” fits nicely with the more recent songs as it is so timeless sounding. Plus Bruce lays down a great Ace solo. “I Just Wanna” is one of the band’s corny lyrical songs that Paul was used to doing, but live it sounds better. A lot of fun and very energetic and Paul sounds really great. Then we get to Gene on “Unholy” and what I loved on the ‘Revenge’ album doesn’t work as well here. It doesn’t groove and seem as menacing as the album version. It is really lackluster. Then we end with Paul and his “Oooooh” for “Heaven’s on Fire” and it has definitely been reworked in the studio, however, it still sounds awesome here and always a crowd pleaser…even if the crowd in this album sounds faker than my old girlfriends on any given night.
The second side opens with the classic “Watchin’ You” and let me tell you Singer and Kulick kill it on this one so no doubt these guys can play. A favorite song of mine live and so this was a treat to see the new guard play the old tracks. We then get another ‘Revenge’ track with “Domino” and why wouldn’t we as they are touring this album. This one sounds better for Gene than “Unholy” and Bruce…well he’s Bruce and is a great guitar player. Then we get “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” off ‘Dynasty’ and I cringed when I saw this on here, but damn! I think they do a killer job with this one. Might be the best version of this song I have heard live maybe because it is less disco sounding and more rocking. Eric’s drums are very prominent as well as Gene’s bass. The only negative is the backing vocals need a little work. Then we end with Paul’s best ballad (IMO) with “I Still Love You”…yes it is probably overdubbed significantly, but I Still Love IT!!
This record opens and not closes with “Rock And Roll All Nite” and there is nothing I need to say about this one except I would’ve been fine if this wasn’t here. “Lick It Up” is up next and I will tell you this one actually sounds live. I can hear the backing vocals really well and they sound live as well which is a good thing. It wasn’t overly reproduced for the record which is really the way it should be. The band slows things down with “Forever” which sees the band go somewhat acoustic and Bruce does a nice acoustic solo. Then we get the bonus track “Take It Off” which was not on the original release and only available on the CDS everywhere in the world but the U.S. This actually has a little of Paul’s sexual banter which is still embarrassing to hear. It is such a corny song, but does sound great live as it has that energy the crowd feeds off and it rocks out really well.
Now on to the final side of the album and it opens with the Gene track “I Love It Loud” which sounds a lot more powerful. Backing vocals are more prominent and I think that adds to the boost in the song. Really nicely done. Then we get to “Detroit Rock City” and I am going to just skip right over that if you don’t mind as it is another overplayed song. The final Kiss song is “God Gave Rock ‘N Roll To You II” off Revenge. It isn’t the most rocking track to end the album or set list, but is still an anthem and is great Kiss song…I mean cover. The song then goes in another anthem thanks to Bruce doing the “Star Spangled Banner” and is it good? Uh, yes. It was actually voted #7 on the Ultimate Classic Rock’s Top 10 National Anthem Guitar solos. And that is Record #2 and I will say I think it sounded more live than the first record which makes me like this a little more for that fact.
There is a ton of overdubbing as they always do thanks to Eddie Kramer, but that doesn’t bother me too much. What bothered me the most is the fake crowd noise. At times, it didn’t really sound like a live album and seemed forced especially on the first record (second record sounded better). I would’ve liked to have seen at least “Detroit Rock City” and “Rock And Roll Night” dropped as they are so overplayed. They could’ve picked up a couple more songs from omitted albums to make this even better. In fact, I would’ve liked an Eric and Bruce solo added in, but it is still a fantastic representation of this era of the band and for that I am happy. You get to see the real talents of Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick in full force. The Animalize Live Uncensored had Bruce but he was so new they didn’t highlight him much. He was here. I would probably give this a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars as it is still a great live record and one I still pull out today, but when compared to ‘Alive!’ and ‘Alive II’, it isn’t quite as good. Still worth grabbing it though if you get a chance.
Next Up: Kiss – Konfidential (1993)
Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!
The Kiss Review Series:
- Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
- Kiss – Kiss (1974)
- Kiss – Hotter Than Hell (1974)
- Kiss – Dressed to Kill (1975)
- Kiss – Alive! (1975)
- Kiss – Destroyer (1976)
- Kiss – “Flaming Youth” 45 Promo Single – Bonus Edition (1976)
- Kiss – Special Kiss Album For Their Summer Tour (1976)
- Kiss – The Originals (1976)
- Kiss – Rock & Roll Over (1976)
- Kiss – Love Gun (1977)
- Kiss – Alive II (1977)
- Kiss – Double Platinum (1978)
- Kiss – Paul Stanley (1978)
- Kiss – Gene Simmons (1978)
- Kiss – Peter Criss (1978)
- Kiss – Ace Frehley (1978)
- Kiss – Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park Movie (1978)
- Kiss – Dynasty (1979)
- Kiss – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” (1979) – 12″ & 7″ Singles (Bonus Edition)
- Kiss – Unmasked (1980)
- Peter Criss – Out of Control (1980)
- Kiss – Music From The Elder (1981)
- Kiss – Killers (1982)
- Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1982)
- Kiss – Lick It Up (1983)
- Kiss – Animalize (1984)
- Wendy O. Williams – WOW (1984) (Bonus Edition)
- Kiss – Animalize Live Uncensored (1985)
- Kiss – Asylum (1985)
- Kiss – “Tears Are Falling” 7″ Single (Bonus Edition) (1985)
- Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1985 Re-Issue)
- Vinnie Vincent Invasion – Vinnie Vincent Invasion (1986)
- Black N’ Blue – Nasty Nasty (1986)
- Ace Frehley – Frehley’s Comet (1987)
- Kiss – Exposed VHS (1987)
- Kiss – Crazy Nights (1987)
- Kiss – “Crazy Crazy Nights” – 12″ Single (Bonus Edition)
- Kiss – “Reason To Live” – 12″ Picture Disc (Bonus Edition)
- Kiss – Chikara (1988)
- Kiss – Smashes, Thrashes & Hits (1988)
- Kiss – Hot In The Shade (1989)
- Kiss – “God Gave Rock And Roll To You II” (1991) – 12″ Picture Disc
- Kiss – Revenge (1992)
- Kiss – Alive III (1993)
The Bootleg Series:
- Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
- Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
- Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
- Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
- Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)
- Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
- Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
- Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
- Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
- Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
- Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)
- Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (LICK IT UP TOUR 1983)
- Kiss – Barbarize (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – North American Tour)
- Kiss – They Only Come Out At Night (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – EUROPEAN TOUR)
- Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
Kiss – The Box Set:
- The Box Set (Part 1 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc One 1966-1975 (Part 2 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Two 1975-1977 (Part 3 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Three 1976-1982 (Part 4 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Four 1983-1989 (Part 5 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Five 1992-1999 (Part 6 of 6)
Gene Simmons – The Vault:
- Part 1 – The Grand Opening
- Part 2 – Disk 1
- Part 3 – Disk 2
- Part 4 – Disk 3
- Part 5 – Disk 4
- Part 6 – Disk 5
- Part 7 – Disk 6
- Part 8 – Disk 7
- Part 9 – Disk 8
- Part 10 – Disk 9
- Part 11 – Disk 10
- Part 12 – The Bonus Disk
- Part 13 – The Best Songs of the Vault
- Part 14 – The Worst Songs of the Vault
- Part 15 – The Final Verdict