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Kiss

Alive

Review by Gary Hill

Without question, Kiss’ biggest claim to fame, especially in the early days, was their live show. This was their first live album, and, as such, was many a music fan’s first introduction to that live presence. It still holds up pretty well, although, some of their best music hadn’t yet been written. Still, it’s interesting to note how many of the classic tunes were already in the setlist.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Deuce
Starting with the “You wanted the best and you got it, the hottest band in the land – Kiss!” introduction, the guys launch into this classic stomper. It’s a straightforward Gene Simmons penned rocker.
Strutter
This one’s got more of a rock and roll feeling in comparison to the opener’s nearly metal approach. This is a Paul Stanley cut and it’s catchy. The chorus is a bit harder rocking.
Got To Choose
A cut that is more in keeping with the “Strutter” musical concept, this hasn’t been the Kiss mainstay that both the openers have remained over the years. 
Hotter Than Hell
This one is another Kiss classic. It’s got a harder rocking edge to it, more like “Deuce.” The chorus is extremely catchy. 
Firehouse
Here’s another that’s remained a big part of Kiss since the beginnings. It’s another killer rocker and I’d say it’s got some of the best guitar soloing of the set.
Nothin' To Lose
This is a good tune, but not up to the same level as the songs that came before. To me, it feels like Kiss taking on early Beatles.
C'mon And Love Me
Perhaps not the powerhouse that some of the cuts that have become classic are, this is better than “Nothin’ To Lose.” It’s got some cool guitar soloing, too. 
Parasite
One of the hardest rocking numbers here, this has all the markings of an Ace Frehley penned piece. It’s not been held in as high a regard as some of the other music here, but I’ve always liked this track a lot. It’s got a raw metallic riff driving it and some killer guitar soloing. 
She
This is one of the more extensive and powerful cuts on the disc. I really like this one a lot. It has a number of different sections and the whole thing both rocks out and is catchy. 
Disc 2
Watchin' You
This is built on an extremely tasty riff and the jam later in the track is just plain classic. This might not have remained the show stopper that some of the others have, but it’s still a great tune.
100,000 Years
Here’s another track I’ve always really liked. It’s just built on such meaty riffing and the vocals are catchy and insistent. This is a real rock music powerhouse. My only complaint here is the extensive drum solo. It’s not that it’s a bad drum solo; it’s just that most drum solos bore me – this one included. 
Black Diamond
Another killer old school Kiss classic, this has some great riffing and some excellent musical motifs. I love the guitar solo on this. There were obviously lots of pyrotechnics on this track. 
Rock Bottom
This is an “eh, it’s OK” old Kiss tune. 
Cold Gin
A lot of Kiss fans really like this cut. It’s never done that much for me. It’s basically an alcoholic’s anthem, and it’s musically rather ho hum. 
Rock And Roll All Nite
This is definitely Kiss’ anthem. They deliver a smoking version, as always. 
Let Me Go, Rock 'N Roll
Here’s another Kiss rock and roll song. It’s kind of Kiss does Chuck Berry. It’s a good tune, but not the best by a long shot.
 
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