As I said a few weeks back when I reviewed the 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition Box Set, 1982 was a pivotal year for Kiss. After the disaster of their last album, ‘Music from the Elder’, Kiss were in a do or die situation. They needed to get back to their hard rock roots and show the world that Kiss was still Kiss. Producer Michael James Jackson was brought in to produce the album and Kiss new they needed to rock. Heck, Eric Carr was telling them that all the time…and he was right. To celebrate this pivotal album, Kiss delivered the 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition Box Set, but that set was only CDs (and a lot of goodies). They also released a 3-LP Deluxe Edition Vinyl set to commemorate the album as well. And that is what we will review this time around.
The 3-LP set has the original album remastered, a set of Demos, Rarities and Outtakes and the 3rd LP is a live set with songs taken from various shows. It doesn’t have any where near as much as the box set, but if you have the Super Deluxe, you don’t need that stuff again. This set does have a 20 page booklet as well.
The album is packaged in a tri-fold album jacket with some stunning pictures included. The first two spaces have a large group photo, then on the 3rd tri-fold, you get individual shots of the members on both the front and pack of that section. Although the cover has Ace, these pictures all include Vinnie, who is actually on the album…not all songs, but most.
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.
Kiss had to get back to their hard rock roots after the disaster of their last studio album ‘Music from the Elder’. The band had been on a downward spiral since ‘Dynasty’ with their sound going softer, Peter Criss leaving the band and now Ace was pretty much done. Due to his disillusionment the last few years with the band, the fact he had no say in anything, his alcohol problem and his prescription drug problem related to a car crash, Ace was done. He was so done in fact, he does not show up anywhere on this album. Well, that isn’t entirely true. Kiss still credited him as a member of the band, his picture is on the cover and he made some public appearances in support of the band including appearing in the music video for ‘I Love it Loud” which he didn’t even play on. After that video shoot though, Ace was no longer in the band.
Kiss was basically a trio for this whole album. Additional musicians and songwriters were brought in to help them write and record this album. Michael James Jackson was brought in as the producer and Michael had worked on the four new songs used on the ‘Killers’ album early in the year. They went in to the studio with the sole purpose of bringing back the heavy rock. Paul’s writing friend, Adam Mitchell, was back to help as well as Jim Vallance, Bryan Adams and Mikel Japp. All these guys co-wrote on the ‘Killers’ album, so it stands to reason that all these songs for both ‘Killers’ and ‘Creatures’ were part of the same writing sessions.