Kiss – ‘Kiss Rocks Vegas’ (2016) – DVD Review (The Kiss Review Series)

Believe it or not, Kiss released yet another live album and not a studio album. It is a sad commentary on the Kiss World at this time. And to this day, it still doesn’t look like a studio album is coming. But this is no ordinary live album…or is it? Kiss took a break from their killer 40th Anniversary World Tour and spent some time at a residency in Las Vegas…I mean who doesn’t nowadays. From November 5-23 of 2014, Kiss held up shop at the Hard Rock Hotel And Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer gave us the Kiss spectacle night after night in all its glory. The DVD set was released on August 26, 2016 almost two years later and not sure why the delay in getting it out.

And this package is a beautiful set and gives you everything you want. You get a DVD of the show in Full Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, you get a bonus acoustic set and then you get the show on CD of the same songs (less the acoustic). If you want the acoustic on CD you need to get the Japanese version…of course…and of course Ladano has that one if you want to here his take on it. You also get a booklet with tons of pictures from the band.

I started with the CD on this one. You get the same 16 tracks as the DVD minus the Fire breathing and blood spitting from Gene…because why keep that in when you can’t see what is happening. That alone makes the CD a little less inferior than the DVD by default. Paul’s vocals are not as clean and crisp as they used to be and that is one of the hiccups with the show. The other hiccup is the setlist. I mean, what the hell guys. You are in Vegas!! Vegas means deep cuts and doing things a little different. They didn’t really do that at all. I mean we get a couple cool songs with “Parasite” and “Hell or Hallelujah”, but outside of that it is the same ol’ same ol’ setlist they play tour after tour after tour after tour after tour…you get what I mean. They even included not one, but three songs of the album “Creatures of the Night”…really!! Now, they are all great songs, don’t get me wrong, but 3…Out of those three, just do “War Machine” as that is a really kick ass song. Enough bashing, let us move on to the DVD.

Now, the DVD is where it is at. Kiss is meant to be seen and not just heard. They are a visual band, thus the make-up. You can’t see that on a CD. Seeing the show and hearing it is what was the true intention of this release. The CD is nice and all, but the DVD is the selling point. The flames, the sparkles, the explosions…all that has to be seen to be believed. Kiss truly turns things up a notch visually than most bands. They are there to put on a show, a spectacle, a performance and no one does it better than Kiss!

As I said before, Paul’s vocals are the shortfall to the whole thing along with the Setliest, but musically, the band sounds as great as ever. Eric and Tommy bring so much to the band and their playing is tight and spot on. They rejuvenated Gene and Paul and make them bring their “A” Game every night. The best moments as always are Gene breathing fire at the end of “War Machine” and Gene spitting blood at the beginning of “God of Thunder”. When that green light shines on him and the bass is thumping, the blood oozes out and it is the most disturbing and evil visual and then suddenly he flies to the top of the theatre and sings “God of Thunder” elevated above the crowd. That is why the DVD is worth it. Another cool moment is when the band breaks in to a little The Who with “I Won’t Get Fooled Again” in the middle of “Lick it Up” and Paul tries to do the iconic Daltrey scream but doesn’t quite hit it. Paul’s voice might be shot, but he runs around that stage like a mad man. He even flies out to the center of the theatre and performs on a little stage “Love Gun”. So many great little moments and don’t let my forget Eric as he takes over vocals on “Black Diamond” and does an amazing job. Hell even Tommy rips it on guitar and his solos are all Ace sounding yet still has his own stamp. The band still can rock it.

Now I said the show’s setlist leaves a lot to be desired, but the bonus Acoustic Set is also where the money is at. Talk about deep cuts, they bring it. The Acoustic set was done prior to the show, no make-up and only in front of a few select people (those who probably mortgaged their house to see it). But is great and so relaxed. The band is joking around and having fun. They whip out songs such as “Coming Home”, “Plaster Caster”, “Christine Sixteen”, “Going Blind” and even “Love Her All I Can”. It is fantastic. They do sing “Hard Luck Woman” and “Beth” and Eric does another stellar job on vocals. There is even a cute moment where Gene asks this adorable little girl what they should play and she screams out “SHOUT IT OUT LOUD”…it was so cute. Gene loved it. Paul asked if she was going to be at the show tonight and when they said yes, he told the girl they would play it for her tonight at the show. Which was in the setlist. Those little moments are cool.

And that is really it. It is a fun show to see, but setlist wise it is a little boring. The CD doesn’t really capture the full energy of the video so my preferred method is to watch the DVD especially so I can get the Acoustic set. Paul’s vocals are weak, but musically the band really makes up for that as you end up not really caring after awhile. Now, this is not one I watch very often and in fact this was the first time I pulled it out in years. As a result, I am only going to give this a 3.5 of out of 5.0 Stars. For the casual fan, this is a great set. For the diehards, it is another in the collection. They needed to take a page out of Def Leppard’s Vegas shows and do something different with either a lot of deep cuts or play a whole album in its entirety…I mean who wouldn’t love to see ‘Music from the Elder’ played in the correct order all the way through…come on guys!! Maybe next time.

Next Up: Kiss – Kissworld: The Best of Kiss (2017)

Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!

The Kiss Review Series:

  1. Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
  2. Kiss – Kiss (1974)
  3. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell (1974)
  4. Kiss – Dressed to Kill (1975)
  5. Kiss – Alive! (1975)
  6. Kiss – Destroyer (1976)
  7. Kiss – “Flaming Youth” 45 Promo Single – Bonus Edition (1976)
  8. Kiss – Special Kiss Album For Their Summer Tour (1976)
  9. Kiss – The Originals (1976)
  10. Kiss – Rock & Roll Over (1976)
  11. Kiss – Love Gun (1977)
  12. Kiss – Alive II (1977)
  13. Kiss – Double Platinum (1978)
  14. Kiss – Paul Stanley (1978)
  15. Kiss – Gene Simmons (1978)
  16. Kiss – Peter Criss (1978)
  17. Kiss – Ace Frehley (1978)
  18. Kiss – Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park Movie (1978)
  19. Kiss – Dynasty (1979)
  20. Kiss – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” (1979) – 12″ & 7″ Singles (Bonus Edition)
  21. Kiss – Unmasked (1980)
  22. Peter Criss – Out of Control (1980)
  23. Kiss – Music From The Elder (1981)
  24. Kiss – Killers (1982)
  25. Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1982)
  26. Kiss – Lick It Up (1983)
  27. Kiss – Animalize (1984)
  28. Wendy O. Williams – WOW (1984) (Bonus Edition)
  29. Kiss – Animalize Live Uncensored (1985)
  30. Kiss – Asylum (1985)
  31. Kiss – “Tears Are Falling” 7″ Single (Bonus Edition) (1985)
  32. Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1985 Re-Issue)
  33. Vinnie Vincent Invasion – Vinnie Vincent Invasion (1986)
  34. Black N’ Blue – Nasty Nasty (1986)
  35. Ace Frehley – Frehley’s Comet (1987)
  36. Kiss – Exposed VHS (1987)
  37. Kiss – Crazy Nights (1987)
  38. Kiss – “Crazy Crazy Nights” – 12″ Single (Bonus Edition)
  39. Kiss – “Reason To Live” – 12″ Picture Disc (Bonus Edition)
  40. Kiss – Chikara (1988)
  41. Kiss – Smashes, Thrashes & Hits (1988)
  42. Kiss – Hot In The Shade (1989)
  43. Kiss – “God Gave Rock And Roll To You II” (1991) – 12″ Picture Disc
  44. Kiss – Revenge (1992)
  45. Kiss – Alive III (1993)
  46. Kiss – Konfidential VHS (1993)
  47. Kiss – Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved (1994)
  48. Kiss – MTV Unplugged (1996)
  49. Kiss – You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best!! (1996)
  50. Kiss – Greatest Kiss (1997)
  51. Kiss – Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions (1997)
  52. Kiss – Psycho Circus (1998)
  53. Kiss – The Second Coming Documentary (1998)
  54. Eric Carr – Rockology (1999)
  55. Mark St. John – Mark St. John Project (1999)
  56. Eric Singer Project – ESP (1999)
  57. Bruce Kulick – Audiodog (2001)
  58. Kiss – Kiss Symphony: Alive IV (2003)
  59. Gene Simmons – Asshole (2004)
  60. Kiss – Rock the Nation Live! DVD (2005)
  61. Kiss – Alive! The Millennium Concert (2006)
  62. Paul Stanley – Live to Win (2006)
  63. Kiss – Kissology: Volumes 1 to 3 (2006-2007)
  64. Kiss – Jigoku-Retsuden (2008)
  65. Kiss – Sonic Boom (2009)
  66. Kiss – Monster (2012)
  67. Kiss – The Casablanca Singles 1973-1982 (2012)
  68. Kiss – Kiss 40 (2014)
  69. Kiss – Kiss Rocks Vegas (2016)

The Bootleg Series:

  1. Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
  2. Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
  3. Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
  4. Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
  5. Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)
  6. Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
  7. Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
  8. Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
  9. Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
  10. Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
  11. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)
  12. Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (LICK IT UP TOUR 1983)
  13. Kiss – Barbarize (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – North American Tour)
  14. Kiss – They Only Come Out At Night (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – EUROPEAN TOUR)
  15. Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)

Kiss – The Box Set:

  1. The Box Set (Part 1 of 6)
  2. The Box Set – Disc One 1966-1975 (Part 2 of 6)
  3. The Box Set – Disc Two 1975-1977 (Part 3 of 6)
  4. The Box Set – Disc Three 1976-1982 (Part 4 of 6)
  5. The Box Set – Disc Four 1983-1989 (Part 5 of 6)
  6. The Box Set – Disc Five 1992-1999 (Part 6 of 6)

Gene Simmons – The Vault:

  1. Part 1 – The Grand Opening
  2. Part 2 – Disk 1
  3. Part 3 – Disk 2
  4. Part 4 – Disk 3
  5. Part 5 – Disk 4
  6. Part 6 – Disk 5
  7. Part 7 – Disk 6
  8. Part 8 – Disk 7
  9. Part 9 – Disk 8
  10. Part 10 – Disk 9
  11. Part 11 – Disk 10
  12. Part 12 – The Bonus Disk
  13. Part 13 – The Best Songs of the Vault
  14. Part 14 – The Worst Songs of the Vault
  15. Part 15 – The Final Verdict

27 thoughts on “Kiss – ‘Kiss Rocks Vegas’ (2016) – DVD Review (The Kiss Review Series)

    1. Yep, it was okay. It was the Gene & Paul Show and not much else. I didn’t learn anything new that I didn’t already know. I enjoyed watching it and seeing all the old footage which some of it I hadn’t seen, but outside of that it is still the story Gene and Paul want to tell and needed Ace & Peter in it with their take.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I must admit it’s cool how the DVD has a picture of guitar picks, including signed picks from the band. Another positive is that it looks like they didn’t play “I Was Made For Loving You”?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re right John. They could have went outside the box and changed it up and done what Lepp did. Thats probably why I like the current Off The Soundboard release. It’s different yet the same lol yet its live!
    Fair enough score for the same ol same ol

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey John…I’ve watched some of the Kissology…it is really good. With Casablanca like it was…I didn’t know they were close to going under.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t bad, the problem for me it was nothing new and still the Gene and Paul show. I do wish Ace & Peter would’ve had a say in it.

      And yes, Casablanca was in real trouble. Neal Bogart was a lavish spender and drug addict if I recall.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree Ace and Peter would help…not only help but are needed.
        Of all the bands I’ve look around for on youtube. Kiss has probably the most fan made documentaries of anyone. I’ve watched some about their early days and a few are really good and seem accurate…I’m surprised they are allowed to use their music.

        KISS Alive saved that company it seems.

        Liked by 1 person

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