Gigantour 2 DVD (2008)

Gigantour 2 DVD (2008, Image Entertainment)

Concert footage – (66 mins):

  1. The Smash-Up – ‘Effigy’
  2. Sanctity – ‘Beneath The Machine’
  3. Into Eternity – ‘Severe Emotional Distress’
  4. Overkill – ‘Necroshine’
  5. Overkill – ‘Rotten To The Core’
  6. Arch Enemy – ‘We Will Rise’
  7. Arch Enemy – ‘Nemesis’
  8. Opeth – ‘The Leper Affinity’
  9. Lamb Of God – ‘Vigil’
  10. Lamb Of God – ‘Now You’ve Got Something To Die For’
  11. Megadeth – ‘Take No Prisoners’
  12. Megadeth – ‘The Scorpion’
  13. Megadeth – ‘Washington Is Next’

Bonus Material – (60 mins):

  1. Behind The Scenes documentary
  2. Megadeth – ‘Peace Sells’ (bonus track)

(Region 1, NTSC, Total Running Time = approx. 126 mins)

Gigantour official website
Megadeth official website

Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine founded the Gigantour in 2005 to bring different styles of Metal, and some of the lesser known Metal bands, to more fans and bigger arenas annually. Currently the tour is in it’s third North American run, headlined by Mustaine’s Megadeth, and is bringing bands like Job For A Cowboy, High On Fire, and Children Of Bodom out of the underground and straight into the mass markets. That is now, what this DVD celebrates is the second Gigantour, featuring some of the big names in Metal: Arch Enemy, Opeth, Lamb Of God and Overkill, and most of the footage is from one of the tour stops in Florida in October 2006.

The DVD breaks down into two parts: the concert footage and the bonus behind the scenes documentary. The concert footage is pretty good…..both audio and video are flawless, everything is crystal clear and there are plenty of cameras. The only complaint I have, and it’s a minor one, is the editing. The edits are fast and furious…..one second you’re looking at the singer, then it’s a quick hit to the drums, quick to the audience, fast to the drums, to the bass, to the audience again, to the singer…..you get the idea. The editing is as fast and frantic as some of the music. Personally, I prefer some long wide shots of the full stage and some lingering shots on band members for more than a couple seconds. That said though, the picture and camera work is well done. I did notice that some of the swearing in the onstage banter (watch Lamb Of God’s set) is deleted, kind of odd for a Metal DVD.

The performances are top notch of course, each band is at the top of their game. The whole DVD is a sampling so it’s not each band’s full setlist but only a couple of songs. I have never heard the music of The Smashup or Sanctity and each only gets one song, as does Into Eternity who is a superb Metal band. I would have loved to get a couple more songs from Into Eternity but there is only so much room and ‘Severe Emotional Distress’ has to satisfy. Thrash legends Overkill sound just as good now as they did almost 25 years ago pumping out the classic ‘Rotten To the Core’ and the title track from 1999’s NECROSHINE. Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy showed me that she has an intense vocal delivery, I knew that from the albums already but to see her on stage was pretty cool. This great singer delivers some of the most brutal, almost painful looking, growls and screams I have ever heard/seen over some serious guitar work.

I was a little disappointed to only get one song (‘The Leper Affinity’) from Opeth but it was a seriously long one from BLACKWATER PARK (2001). Only so much time on the DVD for every band but you could tell that Opeth had to have put on a great show because it was a flawless performance. Lamb Of God gets the audience up to a moshing frenzy with ‘Vigil’ and ‘Now You’ve Got Something To Die For’. I remember when Lamb Of God debuted as Burn The Priest and now here they are second billing to the legendary Megadeth! The headliners get the most songs on the DVD with three barnburners in ‘Take No Prisoners’ (from 1990’s RUST IN PEACE), ‘The Scorpion’ (from 2004’s underrated THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED) and ‘Washington Is Next’ off the latest record UNITED ABOMINATIONS (2007). If you count the bonus track of ‘Peace Sells’, that’s four big ones from the headliner!

The Bonus Material section breaks down into two parts: the ‘Peace Sells’ bonus track and a 60 minute tour documentary. The documentary is a behind the scenes look at the tour from load in to break down, from backstage drama to on the road hi-jinx. What is cool is the commentary from Dave Mustaine on each band and why he hand-picked them for Gigantour and the interviews with the other bands. It’s a solid supplement to the actual performances and is something more than just a bonus.

Bottom Line:
I missed the tour last year (and now this year too!) but this DVD gives me a sample of what I missed. Audio and visual are professionally well done, the band’s are all in top form, and the performances are brutal, headbanging, and amazing. Some of the bands on the tour I was only a casual fan of (Arch Enemy, Opeth, Lamb Of God) but now I will pay a lot more attention to them. Into Eternity and Overkill were already bands I enjoyed but seeing a bit of live stuff has me looking forward to their next tours. Megadeth never disappoints…..I’ve seen them live many times and they always put in a solid show. If you want to see some different bands, some heavy bands, some bands that are huge in the Metal scene then go pick up Gigantour 2 DVD.

There’s also a CD version with a slightly different tracklisting but I haven’t picked that one up yet.

Rotting Corpse – Circus Of Fools DVD (2006)

Rotting Corpse – Circus Of Fools DVD (2006)  – A film by SPLarsen

(click on the picture for a close look at the Chapter list)

(Region 1, NTSC, Total Running Time including bonus features = 97 minutes)

Rotting Corpse – Circus Of Fools MySpace page
Rotting Corpse official website
Rotting Corpse MySpace page
Texas Metal Underground

Back in the ’80s, I used to be a big tape trader. You remember tape trading don’t you? You’d buy a Metal magazine and there would be tons of metalheads listed in the back that wanted to trade music. What a great scene it was, you could get Metal from all over the world! I started trading to get a lot of NWOBHM in the early ’80s but I included Hard Rock, Thrash, and Death Metal on my lists and I had a decent collection going. One of the bands I remember from back in the tape trading days was Texas Thrash band Rotting Corpse.

Back in the day, Rotting Corpse were thrash legends that gained their popularity through live shows on the Texas circuit and their demos getting sent all over the world. For some strange reason, the band never got signed by a label. It was the underground ideal of not selling out that kept the band from signing but it also could have been the band’s name. Back in ’85, Rotting Corpse was a shocking and controversial name, one that even some of it’s own members didn’t want! It seems funny today with names like Cannibal Corpse, Vomitory, and Rotting Christ out there but something as simple as the right band name was a huge selling point for the corporate world. Getting signed wasn’t the priority for Rotting Corpse…..going out and giving the music (and lifestyle) 150% was all that mattered. These guys did it for the love of Metal, not for money or success. Well, at least some of the band wanted to be signed.

The DVD is an excellent documentary of the band from it’s beginning in 1985 right up until filming in 2005. Interviews with current and former band members trace the band’s history and give us an inside look about what it was like being a part of the underground scene that so many people still care about today. Additional interviews with Jason McMaster (Watchtower/Broken Teeth), Wes Weaver (Metal DJ), and Scott Fulwiler (Texas Metal Underground) help tell the story of Rotting Corpse’s place in Metal history. The interviews are central to the film but there is also home video footage of the band behind the scenes and on stage from all eras right up to a 2005 performance. Production and sound is solid and the archive footage is key to bring the interviews to life.

There are so many interesting and funny stories on this DVD that I couldn’t possibly mention them all. One of my favorite parts is when founding guitarist Walt Trachsler is talking about his leopard guitar that he used to destroy onstage. Walt is going through the story of how the guys in Pantera pooled their money and bought him the guitar and how they got pissed when he would smash it against the stage at the end of the show. Walt goes on to tell how he would re-build the guitar and do it all over again. Next clip is in Walt’s shed where he has bits and pieces of the guitar! Another funny story is about a show where singer Jim “Moe” Mulqueen lost his high-top sneaker in a mosh pit. He gets back to the stage and announces to the crowd that he needs his sneaker. The fans decide to play “keep away” with the high-top so Moe decides he’s not performing until he gets it back! Priceless!

Bottom Line:
I love watching documentaries on bands, especially ones that were central to the underground Metal scene but never made it to the stadium and platinum level. This DVD encapsulates the do-it-yourself attitude of the underground, the hijinx behind the scenes, and the raw power of the performances that Rotting Corpse provides to this day. This is a really good time capsule on the band that anyone into the ’80s Metal underground should check out.

(This DVD can be bought through the Texas Metal Undergound website, see the link above.)

Iron Maiden – Live After Death DVD (2008)

Iron Maiden - Live After Death (2008)

Iron Maiden – Live After Death DVD (2008, Universal)

DVD 1 – Live After Death – (90 mins)

  1. Churchill Speeh/Aces High
  2. 2 Minutes To Midnight
  3. The Trooper
  4. Revelations
  5. Flight Of Icarus
  6. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
  7. Powerslave
  8. Number Of The Beast
  9. Hallowed Be Thy Name
  10. Iron Maiden
  11. Run To The Hills
  12. Running Free
  13. Sanctuary

DVD 2 – Documentary/Bonus Concert Footage – (231 mins)

  • History Of Iron Maiden (Pt.2) – (60 mins)
  • Behind The Iron Curtain – (57 mins)
  • Rock In Rio ’85 – (50 mins)
  • ‘Ello Texas – (15 mins)
  • Artwork/Photo Galleries & Promotional Videos (‘Aces High’ & ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’) – (49 mins)

Band Lineup:
Bruce Dickinson – Lead Vocals
Steve Harris – Bass
Adrian Smith – Guitars
Dave Murray – Guitars
Nicko McBrain – Drums

(Region 1, NTSC, Total Running Time = 5 hours & 21 minutes)

Iron Maiden official website
Iron Maiden on MySpace

In 1985, Iron Maiden was the top Heavy Metal band in the world: they had a multi-platinum album with POWERSLAVE (1984) and were touring the planet on the World Slavery Tour. MTV, Circus, Hit Parader, and local Rhode Island radio all featured Maiden regularly and band mascot, Eddie, seemed to be everywhere. The announcement of the LIVE AFTER DEATH album and home video was highly anticipated in my circle of friends because we were all still too young (12) to go to the Powerslave concert and we were all dying to see it. I remember the day my friend’s older brother brought home the vinyl gatefold album…..we listened to that album over and over while staring at the cover. Then he brought home the VHS and we wore that tape out over the course of a year. We were caught up in the Maiden hysteria and we all had Eddie’s image on our shirts and bedroom walls.

It has been about 20 years since I’ve seen the Live After Death concert and this 2 DVD set has definitely been worth the wait. The first DVD is the live show from the Long Beach Arena in California and it is just as good now as it was then. The band firing on all cylinders and running through a setlist full of Maiden classics (‘Iron Maiden’, ‘Run To The Hills’, ‘Sanctuary’, ‘The Trooper’, etc.) along with four new songs of off the POWERSLAVE album (‘Aces High’, ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’, ‘Powerslave’ and ‘Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’). Looking at the set now, it’s a greatest hits collection mostly culled from the Dickinson era. If you had the band live in your town today, this setlist would satisfy most fans. There’s also the huge Egyptian themed stage show and the mummified Eddie that appears from the back of the stage during ‘Iron Maiden’. Fireworks, flames, lights, sound and show all mixed together with Maiden’s superior brand of Metal and it’s no surprise that this was a mega-successful worldwide tour and propelled the band to super-stardom.

Iron Maiden always brings their devoted fans a little extra and this DVD is no exception. The second DVD includes The History Of Iron Maiden (Pt.2) that traces the band’s movements from the end of the Piece Of Mind tour through the release of Live After Death. Interviews with members of the band, management, and crew all provide a unique insight as to what live in the studio and on the road was like. Home movies and pictures all help provide the time capsule that was the Maiden machine from ’84 to ’86. Behind The Iron Curtain has been out of print for two decades but it is included here highlighting songs performed in Eastern Europe at the beginning of the Powerslave Tour. The landmark Rock in Rio ’85 shows the band’s concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (opening for Queen) that was broadcast live in South America. Surely, Maiden was at the top of their game and I’m sure the headliners, Queen, needed a career performance to top it. Just look at the sea of people in attendance, I’m amazed everytime I see a concert from Rio. There’s also a quick promotional ‘Ello Texas (15 minutes), as well as, promo clips for ‘Aces High’ and ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’. Add the photo and tour galleries and the extras added to the original concert are amazing.

Bottom Line:
I would have been happy if Iron Maiden just released the Live After Death show on DVD by itself but they released it with so many quality extras making this probably the best DVD of 2008. I know it’s only February but Iron Maiden has delivered another quality video package based on their excellent musicianship and stage show, it will be hard to beat this year. Obviously, the original concert from Long Beach is my favorite part, especially seeing ‘Powerslave’ and Bruce with the feather mask. My favorite part of the second disc is the Maiden history because it comes straight from the band and members of the extended Maiden family. It’s the DVD of the year for me, knocking it off will take a massive effort (KISS take notice!). For the normal price of $15, everyone should own this.

Jetboy – The Glam Years Movie DVD & CD (2007)

Jetboy - The Glam Years Movie and CD (2007) DVD

Jetboy – The Glam Years Movie DVD & CD (2007, Deadline/Cleopatra)

Live At The Whiskey A Go-Go 1986 DVD:

  1. Fire In My Heart
  2. Car Sex
  3. Rockin’ And Reelin’
  4. Quick Draw
  5. Shout It Out
  6. Cut Me Down
  7. Bad Disease
  8. In The Alley
  9. Little Teaser
  10. Don’t Mess With My Hair
  11. (If You Don’t Wanna Fuck Me Baby) Fuck Off!

DVD Bonus Material: Slide show photo movie, Interviews & Footage from the re-recording of ‘Feel The Shake’

(Region 1, NTSC, DVD Running Time = 110 minutes)

CD tracklist (rare demos + 2 new recordings):

  1. Little Teaser
  2. In The Alley
  3. Don’t Mess With My Hair
  4. Car Sex
  5. On The Lips
  6. Fire In My Heart
  7. Bad Disease
  8. Quick Draw
  9. Losin’ Streak
  10. Cut Me Down
  11. Feel the Shake 1987
  12. White Rock Devil
  13. High Gear
  14. Bullfrog Pond
  15. Moonlight
  16. Groove Tube
  17. Crank It Up
  18. Slowgrind
  19. Folsom Prison Blues
  20. Feel the Shake 2007
  21. In The Alley 1991 (bonus track)

CD Total Time – 1:18:23

Jetboy official website
Jetboy MySpace page
Cleopatra Records

Back in ’80s, there were so many talented bands coming out of California that the scene began to get overcrowded and diluted. Bands got signed by big labels one day and promptly dropped the next. a string of sold out shows would be played in L.A. and then going on the road wouldn’t be as kind. So many bands went through this fate but still cultivated a strong fanbase that is still alive today…..Jetboy is one of these bands.

I remember hearing about Jetboy through music magazines, they were an up and coming band that took their influences from Punk, Hard Rock, and Glam and had a connection to another new band, Guns ‘N Roses. How could you not get into a band that had a connection to GNR? GNR had just taken the rock world by storm in ’87 so I had to check out Jetboy on affiliation alone. I also knew of the band by the unfortunate death of Todd Crew (bass), who was a good friend of GNR, the guys in Guns went out of their way to mention Crew in interviews. I picked up FEEL THE SHAKE (1988) when it came out and DAMNED NATION (1990) right after.

THE GLAM YEARS MOVIE is split into two parts: the Whiskey ’86 concert and the interview documentary. The concert footage is straight from Billy Rowe’s archive and is obviously a home video. The video is decent but the sound is rough…..your basic, one camera, raw bootleg that’s a nice time capsule of where the band was in ’86, pre-label. Jetboy is energetic and having fun on stage while entertaining a packed house. Yes, I said “a packed house”, you don’t get that today for an unsigned band. What makes the DVD is the interview portion where the surviving original members (Mickey Finn, Billy Rowe, Fernie Rod & Ron Tostenson) talk about life in the band: the formative years, Tod Crew’s death, getting signed, getting dropped, and the future. There’s insight into the band’s history as told by the members who lived it without regret but with full appreciation of the era with an eye on the future. I enjoyed the interview section the most.

The accompanying CD is an added bonus. Mostly comprised of rarities and demos, some released in the mid to late ’90s on independent labels, the album is a look back at the early Glam days of the band. You can feel the Punk vibe mixed with the hard Rock flair that the band easily created. Somehow it all sounds fresh 20 years later. It’s also nice to get to new recordings: the Johnny Cash classic ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and a re-work of the band’s first single ‘Feel The Shake’.

Bottom Line:
A great package overall with the highlights being the interview segment of the DVD and the accompanying audio disc. I liked the Whiskey concert, it was OK, but it could have been better if the audio was re-touched a bit. All in all, a solid historical release on Jetboy…..here’s hoping that the band puts out some new material in the future.

Rat Skates – Born In The Basement DVD (2007)

Rat Skates - Born In The Basement DVD (2007) 

Rat Skates – Born In The Basement DVD (2007, Kundrat Productions)

(Region 1, NTSC, Running Time = 66 minutes)

Rat Skates official website
Rat Skates MySpace page
Kundrat Productions

If you didn’t know who he is, Rat Skates is the original drummer for Thrash legends Overkill. Rat left Overkill in 1987 due to the pressures touring and the boredon of life on the road, he gave the keys to the Overkill machine to D.D. Verni and Bobby Ellsworth and has remained out of the Metal public’s eye for two decades.

The DVD is Rat’s account of the early days of his music career and the evolution of Overkill. What was so striking to me was that Rat was the main guy that made Overkill into what they became and he has been perceived as only a small part of the band. Everything from designing the Overkill logo, to making the homemade t-shirts and merchandise, to creating elaborate stage sets was from the mind of the Rat! The undying passion to make it is shown through the hard work the guy put in to making the band bigger than what they were and you can tell that he is still passionate about Overkill’s history to this day.

What makes the DVD is all of the pictures, home movies, and memorabilia that Rat has kept in order to present the proper history and timeline of his, and Overkill’s, history. Watch the footage of using stolen milk crates to make elaborate stage sets and drum risers and the proper use of rubber stamps to make authentic Overkill merchandise is classic! Rat lays it all out on how to start a bedroom based business in Heavy Metal Merchandise and band promotion. The ingenuity is so simple you wonder why other bands didn’t use the same ideas.

You can easily tell that this is a professional release that had a lot of time and effort put into it. My only complaint is that the guy asking Rat the questions is so bad in front of the camera that he actually makes it sound like a poor product. Good thing Rat is a professional!

Bottom Line:
If you want a nostalgic look back to the early days of Overkill, and Rat Skates’ career, then this is a great DVD to have. It’s a great way to take a look back 20-25 years ago to remember how exciting the Metal scene was and to see how it’s grown. Look for the milk crates!

KISS – KISSology Vol. 3 1992-2000 DVD (2007)

KISSology 3 DVD

KISS – KISSology Vol. 3 1992-2000 (2007, VH-1 Classic)

DVD Tracklist: (I’m going to cheat here and post a picture of it. Click the picture to the right and then click on it a second time to zoom in.)KISSology 3 sales sheet

The bonus DVD inside is the one available at the majority of retailers: The KROQ Weenie Roast – 6/15/96 at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater in Irvine, CA. (There are two other versions of the bonus DVD, one from Best Buy and the other from Wal-Mart.) The KROQ setlist is 58 minutes and includes:

  1. Deuce
  2. Love Gun
  3. Cold Gin
  4. Calling Dr. Love
  5. Firehouse
  6. Shock Me
  7. 100,000 Years
  8. Detroit Rock City
  9. Black Diamond
  10. Rock And Roll All Nite

Musicians:
Paul Stanley – Vocals & Guitars
Gene Simmons – Vocals & Bass
Ace Frehley – Vocals & Guitars
Peter Criss – Vocals & Drums
Bruce Kulick – Guitars
Eric Singer – Drums & Vocals

(Region 1, NTSC, Total Running Time = 10 hours & 24 mins for 5 DVDs)

KISS official website
Paul Stanley official website
Gene Simmons official website
Peter Criss official website
Bruce Kulick official website
Eric Singer official website
VH1 Classic

I have a hard time reviewing KISS related products, that’s because I’m a diehard, card carrying member of the KISS Army. I own KISSology Vol.1 & Vol.2 but I decided not to review them because of my bias but, after watching all 10+ hours of Vol.3, I knew it was time for a review.

To many KISS collectors, most of the footage on KISSology 3 may be nothing new. Most of the shows have been readily available in trading circles for years. The notable exception being the 1973 show at The Coventry in New York City during the band’s formative years. Collector’s got a taste of that show as an “easter egg” on the previous KISSology Vol.1 but the whole show has never been released until now.

As with all things KISS, the package is top quality: full-color digi-book with slipcase, full color booklet with band member notes and pictures, bonus DVD, and top quality picture and sound. There is sound extras: 5.1 Surround, etc. but my favorite is the commentary as the programs run.

11/27/92 – The Palace Of Auburn Hills (Detroit, Michigan): This show was in support of REVENGE (1992) and features the band doing older songs that hadn’t been played in years (‘Watchin’ You, ‘Parasite’) alongside four new tracks. The band is really tight and is full of energy: Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley have a youthful exuberence on stage and Bruce Kulick & Eric Singer prove why they are considered some of the best in the business. The band is in your face, raw, and live…..putting the music first and then the show. There still is a show, check out the Statue Of Liberty behind the drum riser. This concert was recorded for part of the ALIVE III record in 1993 and parts of the video footage was released on a previous KISS VHS release, KISS Konfidential. Konfidential was released on DVD with another VHS tape, KISS Xtreme Close Up, but no additional footage of this concert was added in. I caught the Revenge Tour in Boston, MA (when the band did a round of club dates to break in Eric Singer) and in Worceter, MA at The Centrum months later.

MTV Unplugged (Behind The Scenes) & MTV Unplugged 8/9/95: Unplugged was released on Cassette, CD, VHS, & DVD in March of 1996 and the DVD quickly became out of print commanding large sums at online auctions. A lot of the footage from Behind The Scenes was included on a later KISS DVD release, THE SECOND COMING (1998), that celebrated the Reunion Tour. The only difference is that the commentary is by MTV/VH1 producer Alex Coletti instead of Matt Pinfield on The Second Coming. The actual concert includes some songs that were left off previous releases and only found on the raw bootleg that makes the rounds with collectors: ‘Hard Luck Woman’ with Paul on vocals, ‘Heaven’s On Fire’, ‘Spit’, ‘C’mon And Love Me’, and a Country version of ‘God Of Thunder’. This was the show KISS fans had waited years for: the reunion with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.

MTV dropped the ball on this show. It was filmed in August ’95, aired on Halloween that year, and was released March 12, 1996. I had already seen the 3 hour uncut video that I paid top dollar for through a KISS collectible dealer but I still waited in line outside Strawberries Records & Tapes to buy the official copies.

6/28/96 – Tiger Stadium (Detroit, Michigan): Opening night of the Reunion Tour. This is the show that the live ‘Shout It Out Loud’ video was recorded to promote GREATEST KISS (1997). Another widely traded show but never officially released, although clips were shown on THE SECOND COMING DVD. It’s nice to have a show on DVD from the Reunion Tour, I saw the tour in Boston, Worcester, Springfield (all in MA), and Providence, RI. Watching this, I still feel the excitement I felt in Boston for my first reunion show. Probably KISS at their best aside from their ’70s heyday.

9/4/96 – MTV VMA Performance at The Brooklyn Bridge (New York, NY): Only one song was televised on the MTV Video Music Awards but the band did give a short performance for the crowd that was lucky enough to attend. Highlist here is ‘New York Groove’.

10/31/98 – Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles, CA) – Parts 1 & 2: Opening show of the Psycho Circus Tour and it was a special show that was broadcast over Westwood One Radio. I took the night off and listened to the show, I also taped it but it got lost somewhere along the way. I saw this tour in Boston, MA on the first two nights after the Halloween L.A. show and in Hartford, CT a couple weeks later, I had great seats each time and I thought the shows were really good. Notable performances from the L.A. show: ‘She’ & ‘Nothin’ To Lose’…..these two songs were pulled from the set after this concert.

8/9/99 – Detroit Rock City movie premiere party (Los Angeles, CA): I went to the movie opening night and left it feeling taken advantage of. The movie was not much better than KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM and the new KISS song, ‘Nothing Can Keep Me From You’, was pure sap. I would have rather seen this performance in the theater.

6/27/2000 – The Last KISS (Pay-Per-View), Continental Airlines Arena (East Rutherford, NJ): Filmed for a 90 minute pay-per-view special that aired 10/7/00. This is not the full show from that night but it is a good representation of the band on their Farewell Tour. Saw this tour multiple times as well and the highlight was the original band doing some of the ’80s tunes: ‘I Love It Loud’, ‘Lick It Up’, and ‘Heaven’s On Fire’. Only ‘Heaven’s On Fire’ appears on KISSology Vol. 3 and that’s too bad because I thought the band was better on the Farewell Tour than the Psycho Circus Tour and Peter & Ace did a solid job on the songs they didn’t record. A small complaint but I’m still glad to have it.

12/22/73 – The Coventry, (Queens, NY): The holy grail for KISS fans! There was a teaser as an “easter egg” on KISSology Vol.1 but having what seems to be the full show on DVD is worth the money. If memory serves, former manager Bill Aucoin had this footage in his personal archives and released it to Gene & Paul. Probably the earliest video recording to date of KISS live in concert. This is my favorite part of the video so far.

Bonus Disc :
6/15/96 – KROQ Weenie Roast, Irvine Meadows Amphitheater (Irvine, CA): This is the bonus DVD on the regular edition found at all retailers except Wal-Mart & Best Buy (they have their own bonus DVDs). This was the pre-tour tune-up show for the reunited KISS to see how the live show would translate to an audience. I’ve never seen the video of this show until now, I did buy an audio bootleg a month after the show but the sound quality was fair. Again, nice to finally get this professionally done.

Bottom Line:
If you like KISS, this is essential. If you’re a casual KISS fan, this is essential. If you aren’t a KISS fan…..well, that’s your problem! In one year, KISS has released KISSology Vol. 1 and Vol.2 DVD sets and they are top notch products, professionally done, and full of extras…..Vol.3 is no exception. The whole thing is a highlight, I can’t find one thing I don’t like. My favorite shows: Unplugged, Tiger Stadium, and The Coventry ’73 show. Price of admission is worth it just for the Coventry footage but that’s coming from a guy who worships at the platforms of KISS.

KISS has struck gold (and multi-platinum) with the KISSology series and I hope they continue releasing archival footage. Gene & Paul are smart business men and they know that releasing concerts on audio/video will be what sustains them when their touring days are over. I hope they put the same care and quality into possible future releases as they have with KISSology 1, 2, and now Vol.3.

****** KISSology Vol.3 (1992-2000) is to be released on Tuesday 12/18/2007. There are 3 different bonus DVDs available, Best Buy and Wal-Mart have different bonus discs than this general release.

Blackmore’s Night – Paris Moon CD/DVD (2007)

Blackmore’s Night - Paris Moon CD/DVD (2007)

Blackmore’s Night – Paris Moon (CD/DVD) (2007, SPV USA/Steamhammer)

DVD tracklist:

  1. Introduction
  2. Past Times With Good Company
  3. Rainbow Blues
  4. Play Minstrel Play
  5. World Of Stone
  6. Under A Violet Moon
  7. Soldier Of Fortune
  8. Durch Dem Wold Zum Bach Haus
  9. Diamonds & Rust
  10. Minstrel Hall
  11. Home Again
  12. Streets Of London
  13. Renaissance Faire
  14. Keyboard solo
  15. Ariel
  16. Loreley
  17. The Clock Ticks On
  18. Fires At Midnight
  19. Saint Teresa
  20. The Village Lanterne

Bonus Features: Documentary & Photo Gallery

CD tracklist:

  1. Past Times With Good Company/Rainbow Blues
  2. Play Minstrel Play
  3. World Of Stone
  4. Under A Violet Moon
  5. Minstrel Hall
  6. Home Again
  7. Ariel
  8. The Clock Ticks On
  9. Fires At Midnight
  10. The Village Lanterne (studio version)
  11. All Because Of You (radio edit)

Musicians:
Ritchie Blackmore – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin, Mandola, Hurdy-Gurdy
Candice Night – Lead Vocals, Renaissance Woodwinds, Pennywhistles, Tambourine
Sir Robert of Normandie – Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Bard David of Larchmont – Keyboards & Vocals
Squire Malcolm of Lumley – Drums & Percussion
Lady Madeline & Lady Nancy – Backing Vocals

(Region 1, NTSC, DVD Running Time = 128 minutes)

Blackmore’s Night official website
Blackmore’s Night MySpace page
Candice Night official website
SPV USA

I have been a Deep Purple/Rainbow fan for a long time so I take an interest in what Ritchie Blackmore does. I discovered Blackmore’s Night in 1998 when the band released their first album, SHADOW OF THE MOON. What I was hoping for was a continuation of Rainbow under a new band name but I knew about the concept but still hoped for the best. For a change of pace, SHADOW OF THE MOON, and the sophomore effort, UNDER A VIOLET MOON (1999), were pretty good. I found it interesting and enjoyed it even though it wasn’t Metal. Eight years later, I’ve lost touch of Blackmore’s Night.

PARIS MOON is the band’s live show during their 10th anniversary celebration. The bulk of the set is from the Blackmore’s Night catalogue and includes a good rendition of the Purple track ‘Soldier Of Fortune’ (listen for the audience reaction) and a cover of Joan Baez’s ‘Diamonds & Rust’. These two songs are the only break from the medieval stylings of Blackmore and company and even these are given the Blackmore’s Night treatment.

For fans of the band, the setlist is a good overview of all the albums. I like the first two, and I own the third album, FIRES AT MIDNIGHT (2001), and 2006’s THE VILLAGE LANTERNE,  so I knew a lot of the songs. To the uninitiated, it could seem that all the songs sound the same but there is enough to separate them. I enjoyed ‘Under A Violet Moon’, ‘Play Minstrel Play, and ‘Renaissance Faire’ but the rest of the set was kind of boring. I say that as a Heavy Metal fan who is used to a high-powered assault sonically and visually. The actual performance is top-notch: the band is tight and diverse, Candice Night has an excellent singing voice for this type of music, and then there is Mr. Ritchie Blackmore…..a musical legend. There is a lot of passion and enjoyment from the band (except Ritchie, he’s as stoic as ever!) during the performance and that translates to the audience. Best part of the performance is when Mr. Blackmore plugs in his Fender Strat, the audience goes wild! Granted, he doesn’t bang out the main riff to ‘Smoke On The Water’ but it’s seeing the instrument in his hands that fans are longing for.

The only real criticism I have is with Candice Night’s stage presence and Ritchie’s lack of emotion. Candice on stage reminds me of a Stevie Nicks clone costume wise and a deer caught in the headlights when she has to interact with the crowd. Not only are her words to the crowd unintelligible, they are also confusing. At times, I couldn’t tell if she was talking to herself, Ritchie, or the crowd. She enjoys herself and gives a solid performance but you can just tell that she lives and breathes Renaissance style. As far as Ritchie, well he never was one to interact with the audience. He rarely acknowledges the crowd and keeps focused on the instrument at hand. Talented as hell but not Mr. Personality.

The packaging is nicely done: the slipcase looks like an old book, full color booklet, and there is a CD of highlights from the concert as a bonus. On the DVD, there is options for sound (5.1 Surround, etc) and a documentary that is really an interview with Candice and Ritchie.

Bottom Line:
Great musicianship, solid performance of the material, but a lack of stage presence from the two primary band members. Filmed with many cameras, the visuals are done extremely well and everything sounds rich and vibrant. Favorite songs here: ‘Soldier Of Fortune’, ‘Under A Violet Moon’, ‘Renaissance Faire’, ‘Fires At Midnight’, ‘Play Minstrel Play’. If you like Blackmore’s Night and/or Renaissance music, this is a nice package to have. If you’re looking to rock out, this is not the DVD for you

KISS Loves You (A Film By Jim Heneghan) DVD (2007)

KISS Loves You DVD (2007)

KISS Loves You DVD (2007, MVD Visual/8th Grade Films)

A film by Jim Heneghan for 8th Grade Films

Main Feature: KISS Loves You documentary film

Bonus Features:

  • Super-8mm footage of KISS live in Stockholm, 1976 (no audio)
  • 90 minutes of Outtakes from the film
  • The Beyond Vaudeville KISS Spectacular program
  • Extended footage of the 1996 KISS Reunion press conference from the USS Intrepid

(Region 1, NTSC, Total Running Time = 2 hrs 48 mins)

MVD Visual
8th Grade Films

KISS Loves You is a film ten years in the making that began in 1994 when KISS was probably at their lowest point of their success and popularity. Despite the changes in the music industry, and in the musical tastes of the public, fans of KISS were congregating at unofficial KISS conventions, starting KISS tribute bands, and networking through various mailing lists and fanzines. Remember, this was years before the Internet took over the world, the ingenuity and dedication of fans t o put these things together are incredible.

The film follows a select few super fans (the “KISS family”, Bill Baker from Fractured Mirror, etc) and various tribute bands (Hotter Than Hell, Strutter, Dressed To Kill, Fractured Mirror) and sees their 10 year journey through the highs and lows of being a KISS diehard. You get to see personal collections, hear personal statements, and witness real emotion when it comes to the band. There is plenty of convention footage of fans dressed as KISS members, fans giving testimonials, merchandise, art…..put it this way: if it’s KISS-related, it’s here! Also, a few well-known Rock celebrities are interviewed briefly: Dee Snider, Sebastian Bach, Dick Manitoba (The Dictators).

A real treat is home video footage of Ace Frehley out with his good friend Bill Baker at a mall, Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley raiding a KISS convention with police to recover stolen costumes from their warehouse, and also Peter Criss doing a Q&A at another unofficial KISS con. I also liked the various tribute bands performances and the dedication of the fans.

There is a huge bonus section that includes outtakes, a New York cable access show (The Beyond Vaudeville show) on KISS, and especially the never before circulated Super-8 silent film of KISS performing in Stockholm in ’76. For collector’s, the Super-8 footage is reason enough to buy this DVD.

Bottom Line:
What the film really shows is the dedication, rather the fanaticism, that some people have for the band KISS and all it’s universe. The fans are all characters, all unique and quirky. It takes a special breed to love something/someone that much that it borders on addiction. KISS fans are like Trekkies or Star Wars fans: they live for and through the band.

There are times when the stories are fun and pretty cool but then, as the years go by, the tales become a little pathetic. I can say “pathetic” because I am one of those people, I am a KISS diehard. I have been in the lines to buy KISS albums the day of release. I have attended many KISS conventions (what ever happened to New England KISS?). I have seen tribute bands in concert and I have seen the real band over 20 times since 1987. I could easily relate to the film because I should have been in it!

If you’re a fan of KISS, go out and get this!

Vader – And Blood Was Shed In Warsaw DVD (2007)

Vader - And Blood Was Shed In Warsaw DVD (2007)

Vader – And Blood Was Shed In Warsaw DVD (2007, MVD/Metal Mind Productions)

Live from the Stodola Club:

  1. Intro
  2. Shadow Fear
  3. Sothis
  4. Helleluyah!!! (God Is Dead)
  5. Warlords
  6. Silent Empire
  7. Blood Of Kingu
  8. Out Of The Deep
  9. Carnal
  10. Dark Age
  11. Back To The Blind
  12. Intro: Para Bellum
  13. This Is War
  14. Lead Us
  15. What Colour Is Your Blood
  16. Epitaph
  17. Cold Demons
  18. Predator
  19. Wings
  20. Wyrocznia

Videos:

  1. Sword Of The Witcher
  2. Helleluyah!!! (God Is Dead)
  3. Interview with Peter

Extras:

  • Interview with Peter
  • Band history
  • Gallery
  • Discography
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound

Band Lineup:
Peter (vocal, guitar)
Daray (drums)
Novy (bass)
Mauser (guitar)

(Region 1, NTSC, Running Time = 1o5 mins)

Vader official website
Vader Myspace page
Music Video Distributors (MVD)
Metal Mind Productions
Metal Mind Productions MySpace page

When this Vader DVD crossed my desk, I had no idea what to expect, Death Metal isn’t my usual Metal genre but I do enjoy some. Unfortunately I haven’t really checked out many of Vader’s albums, this Polish band has been assaulting the ears of metalheads since 1992.

This concert was filmed on February 12, 2007 at the Stodola Club (Warsaw, Poland) as Vader was wrapping up their tour promoting IMPRESSIONS IN BLOOD (2006). The show is absolutely brutal! I was very impressed with the energy and power the band displays live. These guys just never stop delivering song after song of ear splitting Metal, 20 songs worth. The crowd feeds off the band and is as energized as any I’ve ever seen. 

What helps the band, and overall package, is the way that the DVD was created. This was a multi-camera show so there are plenty of angles and closeups…..I thought the shots from the back of the club were excellent because you could see the rabid fans. The audio is excellent as well and you can choose to enjoy it in 5.1 Surround Sound. I watched this using the 5.1 Surround, it was awesome!

I enjoyed the interview with Peter because it gave me a little more insight into the history of the band. There were some really good questions and Peter gives full insightful answers. The discography, gallery, and band history will also appeal to diehards and newer fans.

Bottom Line:
I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Vader before I put this on. After watching this a few times, I’ve found another band to add to my growing list of bands to check out. The music is aggressive, raw, and brutal. The band performs with explosive energy and the crowd is frenzied. Definitely a surprise DVD for me. If you want to pick this up, try to get the CD/DVD edition so you can enjoy the audio as well.

All That Remains – Live DVD (2007)

All That Remains - Live DVD (2007)

All That Remains – Live DVD (2007, Prosthetic/Razor & Tie)

Live In Baltimore:

  1. Become The Catalyst
  2. This Darkened Heart
  3. The Air That I Breathe
  4. Six
  5. For Salvation
  6. Tattered On My Sleeve
  7. The Weak Willed
  8. Not Alone
  9. It Dwells In Me
  10. Focus Shall Not Fail
  11. Indictment
  12. This Calling

Live In Philadelphia:

  1. Become The Catalyst
  2. This Darkened Heart
  3. Six
  4. Not Alone
  5. It Dwells In Me
  6. For Salvation
  7. Tattered On My Sleeve
  8. Regret Not
  9. We Stand
  10. Indictment

Bonus Material:

  • ATR Fans
  • Guitar Hero 2 – Oli vs. Mike
  • History Of The Band
  • Life On The Tour Bus
  • Autograph Sessions
  • Photo Slideshow 1
  • Photo Slideshow 2

Music Videos:

  1. The Air That I Breathe
  2. Behind The Scenes of ‘The Air That I Breathe’
  3. This Calling
  4. Tattered On My Sleeve
  5. This Darkened Heart
  6. The Deepest Gray
  7. Not Alone

All That Remains

Band Lineup:
Philip Labonte – Vocals
Oli Hebert – Guitar
Mike Martin – Guitar
Jeanne Sagan – Bass
Jason Costa – Drums

(Region 1, NTSC, Running Time = N/A)

All That Remains official website
All That Remains MySpace page
Razor & Tie Records
Prosthetic Records

I went into this DVD only knowing the name All That Remains rather than what the band actually sounded like. Living in Rhode Island, that’s odd for me because I usually have a good idea of what’s going on in the New England Metal scene. All That Remains comes from Boston, Massachusetts (my backyard) and they play many local dates among bills that have been in larger venues like Ozzfest and Sounds Of The Underground. Not only that but their last studio album, THE FALL OF IDEALS (2006) has exceeded 100,000 units sold and is closing in fast on 150,000! All That Remains is also featured on the GUITAR HERO video game and MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. With all this success, and the band’s close homebase, it’s surprising that I haven’t come across their music.

When I pressed PLAY, I watched a serious and energetic performance from The Recher Theatre in Baltimore with fan reaction before and after. Knowing nothing about the music, I was immeadiately drawn in by Phil Labonte (ex-Shadows Fall) commanding presence at the mic and the guitar dueling of Oli Hebert and Mike Martin. Songs like ‘Six’, Tattered On My Sleeve’, and ‘Indictment’ are explosive and just make the crowd go wilder as evidenced by the pit and the floor that never stops moving and is slam packed. Interviews after the show reveal a list for the ER: broken feet, fingers, cuts, bruises, sprains…..all with an undying enthusiasm for All That Remains.

The concert from Philadelphia, at The Theatre Of Living Arts, is slightly shorter but no less powerful. ‘Become The Catalyst’, ‘This Darkened Heart’, and ‘Not Alone’ pound the audience into a frenzy. The crowd eats up the band’s blend of Hardcore and Melodic Death Metal and responds like Baltimore: more broken bones, cuts, bruises…..to be young again! Not sure I’d venture into the pit!

For someone that had no clue about the band, the inclusion of six videos, backstage footage, and interviews really helped me get an idea of who the band are and what there studio albums sound like. My favorite extra is the fans…..hearing how they react before and after the two concerts, at the meet and greets, etc is truly what being a Metal fan is all about.

Bottom Line:
If you like All That Remains, this is essential to your collection. If you’ve just discovered the band, this DVD is a great introduction. For me, this was a great way to discover a new band (to me, they have three albums!) and become a fan. This DVD was just released on October 30th and is well worth the money spent…..now I have to spend some more and get their studio albums.

Twisted Sister – A Twisted Christmas Live DVD (2007)

Twisted Sister - A Twisted Christmas Live DVD (2007) 

Twisted Sister – A Twisted Christmas Live DVD (2007, Razor & Tie)

2006 Live Concert from the Starland Ballroom, New Jersey:

  1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  2. Shoot’em Down
  3. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  4. The Fire Still Burns
  5. You Can’t Stop Rock & Roll
  6. White Christmas
  7. The Price
  8. Oh Come All Ye Faithful
  9. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
  10. Burn In Hell
  11. Silver Bells
  12. I Wanna Rock
  13. Heavy Metal Christmas (The 12 Days Of Christmas)
  14. We’re Not Gonna Take It

Bonus Features:

  1. Oh Come All Ye Faithful (music video)
  2. Oh Come All Ye Faithful (animated video)
  3. Heavy Metal Christmas (The 12 Days Of Christmas) (in-studio performance)
  4. Exclusive Interviews
  5. Mendoza’s Choir

Band Lineup:
Dee Snider – Vocals
Jay Jay French – Guitars
Eddie Ojeda – Guitars
Mark ‘The Animal’ Mendoza – Bass
A.J. Pero – Drums

(Region 1, NTSC, Running Time = N/A)

Twisted Sister official website
Razor & Tie Records

Twisted Sister decided to film their 2006 holiday show at The Starland Ballroom in New Jersey and release it on their latest DVD – A TWISTED CHRISTMAS LIVE. That special performance captured the band doing live renditions of new Christmas classics from their last album, A TWISTED CHRISTMAS (2006), and Twisted Sister concert staples like ‘I Wanna Rock’ and ‘You Can’t Stop Rock & Roll’.

The concert is a multi-camera shoot, audio and video are very well done. That’s it for the technical stuff. This is one fun show! The band is all made up in full costume, the stage is decorated, and the band plays flawlessly. Dee still belts it out, Eddie and Jay Jay are at the top of their game on guitar, but the strongpoint live is the rhythm section. Mark Mendoza really slaps that bass around and A.J. Pero is a monster on the skins. Best performance has to go to A.J. though, the drum sound just pounds and he really puts in serious energy.

The Xmas songs are just as good live as they are on the CD and there were a few surprises added to the set: ‘Shoot’em Down’ and ‘The Fire Still Burns’. Nothing pleases me more than to hear a deep track or two live, especially when bands like Twisted Sister can stand up there and just play the hits. Getting to hear ‘Shoot’em Down’ from UNDER THE BLADE (1982) and ‘The Fire Still Burns’ from COME OUT AND PLAY (1985) are an added bonus having never seen the band live myself. The Christmas song highlight of the set has to be ‘Heavy Metal Christmas’…..to hear a sellout crowd sing-a-long with the line “And a tattoo of Ozzy” is priceless. A quality show by a top quality band.

The bonus are features are simple and quick but they add to the package. You get both versions of the ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithful’ video, I like the original best. The studio performance of ‘Heavy Metal Christmas’ is very good, anytime you can hear the song is a treat, it’s hilarious! The interview with Gamestop is quick, as is the Mendoza’s Choir segment, but they are a nice add-on. 

Bottom Line:
A good concert by a great band and some quality bonus material to fatten the package. That’s a win-win situation especially considering the price, I’ve seen this at retail anywhere from $9.99 to $14.99 and that is a pretty good deal! Want some holiday cheer? Do it Twisted!

Scorpions – A Savage Crazy World DVD (2002)

Scorpions - A Savage Crazy World DVD (2002)

Scorpions – A Savage Crazy World DVD (2002)

Live Material:

  1. Bad Boys Running Wild
  2. Hit Between The Eyes
  3. I Can’t Explain
  4. The Zoo
  5. Rhythm Of Love
  6. Crazy World
  7. Can’t Live Without You
  8. Blackout
  9. Dynamite
  10. Lust Or Love
  11. Big City Nights
  12. Rock You Like A Hurricane

Music Videos:

  1. Rhythm Of Love (uncensored version)
  2. Believe In Love (Russian version)
  3. Walking On The Edge (Russian version)
  4. Rock You Like A Hurricane (Russian & Original versions)
  5. Still Loving You
  6. Passion Rules The Game (Uncensored version)
  7. Tease Me Please Me
  8. Don’t Believe Her
  9. Send Me An Angel
  10. Wind Of Change

Bonus Music Videos:

  1. Alien Nation
  2. Holiday
  3. No One Like You
  4. I’m Leaving You

Easter Eggs (Hidden Videos):

  1. Big City Nights (live version from World Wide Live)
  2. No One Like You (live version from World Wide Live)

(Region 0, NTSC, Running Time = 116 mins)

Scorpions official website

A SAVAGE CRAZY WORLD is a nice DVD package that brings together all of the Scorpions music videos plus a live concert that was only released on VHS called CRAZY WORLD TOUR LIVE…..BERLIN 1991.

The Live Material section is the Berlin 1991 concert from the original VHS. At the time, the band was at the height of their popularity and success after the blockbuster album CRAZY WORLD and the worldwide hit single ‘Wind Of Change’. The performance is top notch, classic Scorpions. The video and audio are superb. My only complaint is that this is not the full show from the original VHS. The missing songs from the set are: ‘Tease Me Please Me’, ‘Don’t Believe Her’, ‘Send Me An Angel’, and ‘Wind Of Change’. There is no explanation online as to why these songs were left off this DVD release, I can only speculate that it was due to time constraints in making the DVD. Too bad because all four songs are excellent and an integral part of the 1991 concert as all four were off the album the video is promoting!

The Music Video section consists of all the Scorpions videos that were popular on MTV. There are a few uncensored videos and Russian versions but they are basically the same as you remember them. The only video that is different is ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’: you can watch the Russian version with live footage or you can enjoy the original concept video by pressing the ANGLE button on your DVD remote.

The Bonus Video Section is basically the same deal as the Music Video section: four music videos by the band that were popular on channels like MTV. Not sure why there has to be a “bonus”, maybe these could have been put with the other videos and we could have gotten some additional live footage or an interview?

There are two Easter Eggs on this DVD: ‘Big City Nights (live)’ & ‘No One Like You (live)’. Both videos promoted the WORLD WIDE LIVE album and VHS and were very popular back in the mid-80s so I’m not really sure why they aren’t included in the regular Music Video section.

To access ‘Big City Nights (live)’:
At the Main Menu, select the ‘Special Features’ option.
At the next screen, there will be a jagged yellow line under Dolby Digutal 2.0. Press LEFT twice. A blue scorpion appears on the globe left of the audio options. Press ENTER. A video for “Big City Nights” begins playing.

To access ‘No One Like You (live)’:
At the Main Menu, select LIVE.
At the next screen, select NEXT in the lower right hand corner.
At the next screen, there will be a yellow target icon next to Song 7 (Can’t Live Without You). Press LEFT twice. A blue scorpion will appear on the revolving film reel left of the song menu. Hit ENTER. A video for “No One Like You” will begin playing. It is different than the one listed in the Bonus Vidoes section.

Bottom Line:
A nice DVD package of all the band’s videos and a classic live concert from 1991, a really good retrospective on the band’s career from 1982 through 1991. My only complaint is about the four songs missing from the Berlin 1991 show. With this show released on this DVD, a separate release is highly unlikely. This forces the completist in my to seek out a mint VHS copy or DVD copy of the VHS.