By Greg Prato
Make-up clad rock icons Kiss will on December 13 release a double-disc concert DVD, "Rock the Nation Live!," which aims to distinguish itself from countless Kiss videos on the market with an abundance of rare songs and special features.
Taped in summer 2004 in Washington, D.C., and Virginia Beach, the Image Entertainment release features core members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons flanked by guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer.
"We were playing a lot of songs that Kiss hadn't played in years, or haven't played at all," Thayer told Billboard.com. "One day, Doc McGhee, the manager, came into the dressing room, and said, 'We really need to film and record this show, because it's so good. It's probably the best Kiss performance I've seen.' So we said, 'OK.' That was the spark that got the whole thing going."
"Rock the Nation Live!" boasts the "Kiss Powervision/Select-A-Kiss" option to hone in on an individual member as well as candid behind-the-scenes vignettes.
"At any moment, a viewer can choose what they want to see, and use different camera angles," Stanley said. "So if you happen to have the good taste to see me, you can watch pretty much solely that. It's really your mix and your version of the show. I don't think we can forget that the band is really in peak form, and that's really shown on this DVD."
Stanley said he was thrilled to air out such Kiss oldies as "Christine Sixteen," "She" and "Parasite" during the tour.
"To be able to go out and play every and any Kiss song was very freeing," he enthuses. "We reached a point where a lot of the tours after the reunion tour were virtually the same set list, and it wasn't because we didn't want to play other songs. Once Tommy and Eric came in, on any given night, we could change the show, and really dig deep into our catalog. A band that's been together this long not only should be able to play 'Rock and Roll All Nite' and 'Love Gun,' but (also) 'Two Timer' or 'Got To Choose."'
Still, fans continue to await a vault-clearing visual release, a project that Stanley said is closer to reality than ever before.
"Yesterday was the beginning of planning really the ultimate Kiss experience," he said. "That Scorsese/Dylan piece ('No Direction Home: Bob Dylan') was eye opening, at least to me, in terms of how you can be immersed in a time capsule, and not only see the music and be part of the crowd, but also get a sense of who Dylan was then. There are times when I'm much more interested in actual footage of somebody in the moment than somebody reminiscing 20 or 30 years later. It's fascinating to see where somebody was at, and what their mindset was in the midst of storm, as opposed to looking back on it. That set a really high bar, and I think that is more likely our approach at this point."
For now, it is unknown when Kiss may return to the road. "There's definitely talk," Stanley said. "I had a hip replacement a year ago, and that unfortunately didn't go as well as it should have, and they did it again, and that also didn't go as well as it should have. So the recovery from that has been longer, although about six weeks ago we did a corporate show for 15,000 people, in Columbus, Ohio. The band is as good and ready to go as ever. The difference is that I have to make sure that I can commit 100% of my energy for a tour, and not just a show."
This DVD will feature the "fake" KISS (no Ace and Peter), but I most likely get it anyway.