Kiss Symphony: The DVD

Well, Gene Simmons, that old demon prince of rock marketing, has figured out yet another way to milk the Kiss trademark, this time with a DVD of the band playing a concert with a 60-piece symphony orchestra. The results are, at times, hilarious, beginning with the claim that "somebody had the crazy idea to put a world-renowned orchestra… with a rock band." I wonder if they mean Deep Purple or Metallica, who've both done the exact same thing. In any case, what you get is the preparation and rehearsal of the songs with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the one-off show they did in Australia for the DVD and CD. Highlights include the classical musicians being fully painted in Kiss make-up for the show and the priceless performance of "Great Expectations" with a Kiss-faced children's choir. Kicked out of the band, guitarist Ace Frehley is not even mentioned and new guitarist Tommy Thayer is simply explained as "being in the Spaceman make-up," which seems harsh. The big question (other than Paul Stanley's sexuality) is how do the old Kiss classics stand up to the classical treatment? Well, they sound pretty great, and the strings and horns are really just hammering it out with the guitars, so the result is usually a bigger sound. The most successful adaptation is the violin-fuelled complete disco-fication of the already the dance-oriented "I Was made For Loving You." Also included is a set of six Kiss songs played sans symphony, and a more intimate acoustic set with a smaller ensemble. As for Stanley's sexuality, let's just say he repeats the words "wonderful" and "fabulous" as often as possible, and during an interview clip for Aussie TV he throws out an all-too authentically lisped "hey, sailor!" without provocation. Plus: web links, more. (EMI)