Stirring the rock world into a frenzy with their decision to put the make-up back on and reverting back to their original line-up, in 1996 Kiss announced that the band would go back on the road and present their infamous original stage show to the world once again while playing their most beloved classic hits. For the first time in two decades it would suddenly become possible for people who had never had the chance to experience the band's original theatrics and bear witness to the hottest band in the world. The success of the tour was immeasurable and must have surprised even the band itself, as fans flocked to some of the world's largest arenas by the millions and came away starry eyed. There simply is no rock act that compares to Kiss live.
Now, the reformation of the band in its original line-up, the stage show itself, all that has been covered before extensively in releases such as "Kiss: The Second Coming" and of course ,the mother of all things Kiss, "KISStory." So what could be possibly new or exciting about yet another DVD release shining light on the subject?
"Kiss: Resurrection" in a way goes where no other release has gone before and will therefore make a great addition to any serious Kiss fan's collection. It starts by giving you access to the historic press conference on the S.S. Intrepid where the band announced their reunion to the world. The difference here is that you will see practically unedited footage. Not just little bleeps and snippets here and there. What you get is pretty much the entire video camera feed of one of the press conference participants. You see how the band made its first entry and posed for photographs, then the actual press conference where they took and answered questions from the reporters, and the photo opportunity after the conference. As a result you will find some nice little tidbits here and there that you may have not seen or heard before. Mind you, however, that the quality is rather poor. Using a consumer-level camcorder, the camera's autofocus feature constantly wreaks havoc on the image, while weak black levels give the image a muddy look that is emphasized further by the low quality of the recording itself, resulting ins an overall washed out and fuzzy look. But to get some of the extreme close-ups of Gene, Paul, Peter and Ace has its intrigue nonetheless, as you see them react to questions.
The next section of the release cover the actual stage set up. It is a lengthy backstage tour with the road crew. Recorded originally for Germany's Viva music television station I was surprised at the rather low-end quality of the recording, although it does serve its purpose, I suppose. Now this is something you do not get to see very often, and it is kind of geeky to watch Gene's stagehand restring the basses or take a look at Peter's drum kit from behind. It is simply a nice look at the overall scope of the Kiss stage production as you listen in on debates over where to place the confetti mortars, see the massive power generators or take a look at the unbelievable array of PA power amps. You can get a good feel for the effort that goes into the show as you follow the noisy tour while microphones are being tested and guitars are being properly equalized, all the while crew members banging away at scaffolding or preparing the video wall.
From there the camera follows the band itself during the meet and greet session. It has become customary for Kiss to have surprisingly extensive meet and greets before their shows. There are photo shoots for local media outlets and then a walk through the VIP area where they talk to fans who paid a premium for their meet and greet passes, and take pictures with them, while also posing for small TV interviews. I have to admit, even watching it felt exhausting and I am amazed that Kiss is doing this before every single show. I guess playing the actual show must be the ultimate reward for the band. :-)
The segment ends with the traditional huddle and pep talk by Kiss manages Doc McGhee and a look at the band heading for the stage.
Also included is footage from the premiere of the "Detroit Rock City" movie, which also celebrated the Kiss reunion in its own way, from the point of view of the fans.
While it may be disappointing that "Kiss: Reunion" does not contain any Kiss music or concert footage -- for licensing reasons, of course -- there is something here that is unique. So unique, in fact, that even the poor video quality doesn't hamper it all too much. For $15 or less, this DVD is another item serious Kiss fans should check out.