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Kiss - Rock the Nation Live

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Friday, December 16, 2005 @ 11:11 AM


Image Entertainment Inc.

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“Hey Paul--How much money do you think we could get for the shit I just cleaned out of my ass? I’ve been rummaging around in there for the last thirty minutes.”

“Woooouoouuuuu. Whoa yeah, Gene. An artifact like that could surely go down in ‘Kisstory’. Let‘s price it at $39.95 and sell that funky black fluff in tiny, clear vials that we can connect to little metal chains with Kiss Army dog tags.”

“Shrewd idea, Paul. Hey, I gotta ask you this one too--was that older woman giving me the eye downstairs?”

“Which one?”

“You know, the one ringing the bell for the Salvation Army.”

“Woooouoouuu. Maybe she could ‘lick it up..lick it up. Uhhh uhhh uhhh---“

“Yeah, I know the words to the song, Stanley. I was thinking more in terms of like a quick round of blumpie with her. Lunch didn’t sit well with me, and I really need to take a shit…hmm, but I’m really horny too though. Ahh, fuck it--she’s about sixty--I’m sure it won’t be a problem--she’ll just be grateful for the opportunity. If she’s good, I won’t even charge her the Platinum Experience price to meet me!”

“Haha, Gene.”

“Haha, Paul.”

That’s the wonderful part about Kiss—it’s all about sex and money…and a lucrative good time too! The new DVD from these musical entrepreneurs entitled Kiss Rock The Nation Live chronicles the joyous festivities from their recent tour in a tidy little package that everyone (with thirty bucks) can enjoy. As far as the performance goes, although there are a couple of surprises in store, the set list is pretty similar to the one the band was rocking throughout most of the Rock the Nation Tour. The first disc begins with “Love Gun”, “Deuce” and Makin’ Love” which are all performed in a visually spectacular fashion whilst some of the ugliest audience members ever assembled gawk drunkenly at two of their heroes—oh yeah, let’s not forget the other two guys either. I’ve heard pretty much all there is to be said about ferocious looking women all getting prettier at closing time and all that, but…you know what I said about Geddy Lee making a potentially really ugly lady? Well, some of these skanktacular ho’s appeared pretty close to that status here (special exemption given to the tanned woman in the short white shirt accompanied by the guy who looks like a date rapist)…who the hell cares though? I’m sure Gene’d pop each and every one of them anyway! You know, come to think about it, I don’t remember the crowd that went to see Kiss around here looking quite as horny and desperate as the ones featured here on this—I’m not sure what’s in the water in D.C. and Virginia Beach, but I after viewing this disc, I have become convinced that some of it must be getting pumped in directly from a choice radiation pool in Jersey or something.

What follows the first few songs on this DVD is a Paul Stanley stage rap that precedes the tune “Lick It Up”---it’s always great when Paul talks to the crowd because he sounds like a drag queen yelling instructions to a bunch of cognitively challenged athletes at the Special Olympics. I mean, his cadence and speed suddenly become even slower and more pronounced than even the famous Robin Zander intro to “I Want You To Want Me” from Cheap Trick’s Live At Budokan—at least Robin had an excuse, those fuckers didn’t even speak English. Then, during some bullshit commentary about licking this and that, Stanley sees some skag who lifts up her skirt to reveal a pair of officially licensed Kiss panties. The sight gets Paul all excited, and he tells the crowd, “If I were going buy a new coat, I’d love shaved beaver!” The Kissheads then roar in approval, but they obviously didn’t get to see the DVD quality close up footage of the woman’s razor bumps and welts she had around her panty line. Sure, it was a definite turn off, but who the hell cares? Gene’d still do her—hell, Gene’d probably still do her with the Special Olympics contestants watching.

“What he doin’? Coach, what he do-in’?”

“For the love of God, Gene! Put the woman with the egregious skin irritation back on the ground! We have to get the area cleared for the high jump! Jesus Billy, don’t eat the shot put!”

Budumbump.

After Paul points around and warbles for a while, he comes to some type of ambiguous resolution wherein said lead singer and the audience decide that…”YOU lick ME…and I’LL lick YOU!”

Insert crowd noise here.

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Kiss actually does a commendable job with the aforementioned “Lick It Up” when they finally get around to performing it. Afterwards, Kiss aptly follows it up with burning renditions of “Christine Sixteen”, “She” and the rarely played “Tears Are Falling” which truly turns out to be the highlight of the first disc which is kinda sad because it is followed by “Got To Choose” which is the definite low point. Sure, at times the antics here are about as quick witted and spontaneous as a hopelessly incontinent person’s bowel movement, but…it’s like a good movie—I don’t mind seeing it again. Now, if someone could just wake that Tommy Thayer up…

Dear Gene and Paul,

I know you guys really dig the spotlight and all of that, but would it kill you to get a guitarist who has even a little stage personality? Please. I mean, I’m sure Tommy is a nice guy, and yeah, he can play some guitar, but this dude makes Bruce Kulick look like Jimi Hendrix when it comes to enthusiasm and showmanship. If you could just do something about this one thing, I’d really appreciate it.

Guy Who Lives In Basement

P.S. I’m really getting good at my face painting.

The second disc includes classic tracks such as “War Machine”, “Shout It Out Lout”, “I Was Made For Loving You” and of course, the closer “Rock and Roll All Nite.” It’s all the standard stuff—Paul flies around—yeah, strangely enough kinda fairy-like and Gene spits blood while the other two kinda do their nameless, faceless thing. It really is worth watching though—the video is really super clear and the sound quality is stellar as well. This DVD also comes with an option called Kiss Powervision wherein the viewer can click on one of the four boxes on the side of the screen in order to view that particular member’s stage antics close up---like for instance, when Tommy Thayer stands up there with a blank look on his face, you can click on that box and actually compare it to the expression he had fifteen seconds before—you know….uh, the one where he stood there and had the blank look on his face. Hmm, never mind. I’m sure the Genies will still dig it.

Besides a total of twenty live tracks, this two DVD set also contains some exclusive footage that showcases the band “behind the scenes”. One particular selection is entitled “meet and greets” and shows the band backstage consorting with the dozens of fans who happily forked over an entire grand for the privilege of getting upgraded seating, a picture with their heroes (taken using the band’s professional camera—no fan cameras allowed) and a few meaningless words with the painted icons. At this point, many of you might be saying to yourself, “hey, I really love this band. I’d pay anything to meet them!” Yeah…well, hmm, how do I want to word this? I could candy coat it I guess, but….nah--you’re idiots. If a person wants to spend a certain amount of money for good tickets to a show, then that’s their prerogative, but to spend this type of cash for the primarily purpose of having Gene and Paul and the other two guys take a photo of with you, then…that’s just sad, and your mother should have loved you more as a child—maybe given you another cookie…or a Fig Newton. If that isn’t bad enough, hearing Paul muttering such supposedly sincere sentiments as, “I’ve always wanted to maintain a connection to the fans” is almost too much to bear. Of course, what he left out was the part where he says, “boy howdy, it’s also really great when this ‘connection’ makes me a ton of money and pays for my wig.” Then, there are these really sad testimonials where the poor saps from Trailerpark USA talk about taking their kids for this “once a lifetime experience” and how great it was to get their 4.6 seconds with the boys. What kills me is that these wonderful parents will spend a thousand bucks or so to meet Kiss, but their freakin’ kid needs dental work like a sumbitch just to keep from looking like Jethro. Is Gene or Paul gonna help with that? Where are those new “friends” then?

Other portions of the film show the band backstage where we learn that undoubtedly Eric Singer likes humping around on Gene’s leg—not making this up---and that the ceremony surrounding middle aged men painting themselves up isn’t really all that exciting and that in actuality, it is the “calm before the storm.” Whatever. In any case, video documentation of what goes on between those four before the show is about as exciting as actually watching Gene Simmons rummage around in his ass for a half an hour. There is also some sound check material here where the guys play their instruments while trying out different songs. Ordinarily that isn’t very exciting….it isn’t here either, but what is funny is when Paul exclaims, “Tommy and Eric knew The Elder better than I did!”

Why? Just…why?

Then, Paul also goes on to say that they could have a whole other set list because they have so much material to work with---you know, they could too—it’s just that it would just suck.

“C’mon D.C.! Let’s hear it for “Trial By Fire”! Whoooaoaoaoa! What about some ”Reason To Live”?

There is also some footage of the Kiss club tour of Australia where the band “proves” that it is about more than just pyrotechnics. It’s all about the music, and if you don’t believe it, doggonit, you wuz never a Kiss fan to start with! Although it would be sort of cool to see the band in this type of stripped down setting, it isn’t like Kiss isn’t still all painted up and everything during these performances—it’s just done on a much smaller scale. Really, musically speaking, once the layers of makeup are gone and the history of the band is extracted, the listener is left with…an older group of metal musicians with a catalogue and musicianship that is more on par with Ratt than Led Zeppelin. No one wants to see that acoustically—again, and even Kiss was smart enough to make sure they had the original lineup make an appearance on that occasion or their previous unplugged experience would have been about as successful as a new Poison record.

“YOU WANTED THE BEST—well, Priest and Rush weren’t available.”

That being said, Kiss Rock The Nation Live is still pretty darn decent, and if all of the band’s products were of this quality and at least tangentially musically based, the respect factor for this group would probably increase tenfold. Well, that’s NEVER gonna happen--instead, Gene and company always seem to go for the most expedient cash grab that appeals to the lowest common denominator—those hopelessly devoted to this band to the exclusion of all good sense. Face it, society doesn’t benefit from Kiss rubber duckies. They aren’t really funny or even ironic either—in the end, they are just kind of stupid. When Kiss blew up during the seventies, they were dangerous—or at least the perception existed that they were, and that’s all that mattered. Now, the whole Kiss persona is based on a rote show blatantly based on extracting cash from those who love them most. I’m not a socialist or anything, and I have a pretty good grasp of what capitalism is all about, but…I just have this lingering belief that once a celebrity becomes wealthy and rich that maybe they could occasionally give something back to the fans that doesn’t cost a grand. Taking exorbitant amounts of currency from these people seems about as morally elevated an endeavor as consistently poking a retarded kid with a knife and a fork---please, Kiss, save the fans from themselves and come out with more products like this one, and leave the next “Official Kiss Colostomy Bag” on the production development table where it belongs.

***


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