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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 12/21/99

KISS: The Second Coming
1998 (1999) - Image Entertainment

review by Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits

KISS: The Second Coming Program Rating: B

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): C/B/C

Specs and Features

133 mins, NR, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered, Snapper case packaging, discography, additional live concert videos for Shout it Out Loud, Shandi and Detroit Rock City, animated program-themed menus with music, song access (30 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0), subtitles: none

"I was made for lovin' you baby…!"

Oh yeah! Watching this disc brings back my metal years, big-time. Yes… your erstwhile editor went through a serious head-banging period in high school. Couldn't get enough - Quiet Riot, Scorpions, Night Ranger, Metallica, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Van Halen - you name it. I had long shaggy hair down to my shoulders, man. And I was walking tall. And right there in the thick of things, was KISS. Like Todd, I vividly remember the KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park TV special. I was SO there. Even when I was a younger kid in grade school, everyone I knew had two t-shirts they wore proudly: KISS and Star Wars. And they got LOTS of wear. You remember the ones - with the colored sleeves and collars, and the white body? KISS kicks ass man! Yeah! Yeah! Sorry - got carried away. What can I say? You grow up in North Dakota, you watch a lot of MTV. There's not much else going on, so music was serious s**t.

If you're a current or former fan of the band, KISS: The Second Coming is a blast. This is the ultimate video documentary history of the band. You'll learn about the origins and history of KISS - how Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley first got together. You'll find out how they named the band, how they choose the costumes, and where they played their first gig. You'll learn how they thought Beth was going to be a throw-away song, so they released it as a B-side, only to see it become their biggest early hit. You'll see how they grew and eventually began to fall apart as success made them greedy. And you'll learn how their reunion came about, and how the band came back stronger than ever. KISS: The Second Coming is loaded with interviews, rare footage and photographs. The program includes video of their first session together in more than 15 years, rehearsing for their stint on MTV Unplugged. You even get to see them practicing putting their makeup on, for a walk-on during the Grammys - funny. And all the while, they talk candidly about how they felt being back together, and the nervousness, and the feeling of family that they got being back together again. There are no egos here - you can tell that these guys really care about each other, and realize that they each got out of control in their glory days. Now they're older and wiser, and they are genuinely grateful for their fans and each other. To top it all off, this documentary features a bunch of new live concert footage, recorded on their recent reunion tour, and mixed in full 5.1 sound. This is just great stuff.

Let's talk DVD quality. The video is a mixed bag - I'll be honest. But that's to be expected. What you've got here is a mix of home video footage, 8mm & 16mm film, and new and old material alike. It ranges in quality from very good, to very not good, and averages at about fair quality. But so what. Given the nature of this program, every little bit of the footage you get here is welcome, regardless of its quality. This is a DVD where reference quality anamorphic widescreen video means absolutely nothing. You get what you get, and be glad for it. The audio, on the other hand, is very important. And while much of the documentary material here is straight stereo, the disc is mixed in full 5.1 sound, so that when you see the scenes on-stage, as the band plays their music, you're hearing the music large and in charge - in full 5.1 surround, with the band spread across the front of the soundstage, and the audience filling in from the rear. Again, this isn't reference quality, but who cares? It doesn't need to be. This is fun, and having the 5.1 for the live stuff is a treat. You even get a couple of extras, specifically a discography, and a trio of live performances not included in the documentary - Shout it Out Loud, Shandi and Detroit Rock City - all in 5.1 audio. And the animated menus are cool and easy to use. What more do you want?

This isn't the kind of disc I would have expected from Image, but I'm really thankful for their work on this one, and I'd like to see lots more like it. This DVD is an absolute must-own for KISS fans, period. It probably isn't for everyone, and it isn't for the little ones (there's some swearing and nudity). But I am SO glad to have KISS: The Second Coming, I can't even tell you. What a treat. You fans out there trust me - just hand over the cash for this disc when it comes out. Rock on, Wayne!

Bill Hunt
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