Welcome back to Kiss Review Series and this time around we will discuss the album ‘Unplugged’ or is it ‘MTV Unplugged’, I wasn’t really sure. I stuck with ‘Unplugged’ as that is what it says on the spine of the vinyl cover. But it was recorded for MTV so didn’t know the right way to label this post. But enough of that garbage, let us get back to the Kisstory.
Kiss seemed in no hurry to do an album. It had been several years since ‘Revenge’. They have been putting out product as we have reviewed it, but yet no studio album. And with this review, still no studio album. In 1995, the band set out and did these Convention Tours as around this time, Kiss Konventions had started popping up. Kiss would go play these and they were all done as acoustic performances. They would even get some special guests to join them and one time Peter Criss showed up and jumped on stage with them. Kiss started to play lesser known songs at the audience requests and they seemed to be enjoying themselves. Well, around that time MTV came a calling and asked if they wanted to do an episode of MTV Unplugged and the band agreed.
For My Sunday Song # 199, we are going to discuss one of Bon Jovi’s most popular and famous songs, “Wanted Dead or Alive” off the band’s 1986 album ‘Slippery When Wet’. The song was the third single from this album and the third to crack the Billboard Hot 100 reaching #7. The band was on a roll and growing to become one of the world’s biggest rock bands thanks in large part to his song.
The song’s title was inspired by old western movies and Jon thought the lifestyle of a band was similar to that of the outlaws in those movies. Instead of horses, the band takes the tour bus (which is sort of a large steel horse) from town to town and raping and pillaging in each town…okay not really, but they were getting all the chicks and making tons of money performing, just not stealing it.
That whole cowboy vibe is felt in the music using acoustic guitars as well as electric. There was a western sound with a hard rock edge and when they do play this as full acoustic, it is drenched in that sitting around the campfire feel telling stories of the road (or old west). Richie Sambora’s guitar playing on this song spectacular and his background vocals mixed with Jon’s vocals takes this song to the next level. And Richie’s solo is one of the most memorable he has done and how well it fits in with vibe of the song is magical. Musically, according to Jon Bon Jovi, the song is inspired by Bob Seger’s song “Turn the Page” and if you listen to the song you hear that the slow driving tempo and groove and seriousness of the song and you can see why it was so inspiring.
For Record Store Day Black Friday 2019, I got up bright and early to go stand in line for some Exclusive vinyls and most notably was for Matt Nathanson’s 2007 album ‘Some Mad Hope’. This was the first time that record was to be released on vinyl. Another exclusive I wanted was Pearl Jam’s MTV Unplugged appearance from 1992 finally being released on vinyl. And I’ll be honest, this is the FIRST Pearl Jam album I have actually bought on vinyl…I know, crazy right!! But what a way to start.
The album was recorded in 1992 right after the end of the Tour for their debut album ‘Ten’ and a set list that covers that album quite nicely, you are treated to one mesmerizing and very special performance. When I watched this back in the day, I realized than that the guys were pretty freaking great. I was not a Grunge fan at all as I come from the 80’s and the whole 80’s Rock scene. Grunge was blasphemy. But there was something about this show that resonated and when I saw it was coming out on vinyl, it was a no-brainer.
The packaging is a beautiful gatefold for only 1 LP which I always love to see.