It doesn’t really matter if you think that the Detroit rock perennials Kiss are legends or laughable – the indescribably dramatic progress of their career, from stadium glory to has-beens to classic artists, is undeniable. Their songs’ basic, FM-friendly nature is almost the least important element of the band’s appeal: it’s far more satisfying to dig into the personalities of the men behind the make-up, and to their great credit, the Kissology series scores highly in that area.
In 1992 Kiss had rebounded from the death of drummer Eric Carr, recruiting the blonde-haired sticksman Eric Singer and defying the grunge era by reuniting the classic Ace Frehley/Peter Criss line-up for a remarkable appearance on MTV Unplugged. That show, plus a making-of which explains just how much work went into it, is the highlight of the five-DVD set – unless you can’t get enough of giant arena shows, of which there are six here.
Only trainspotters will enjoy the 1973 footage of the band’s first filmed gig, recorded in black-and-white from the back of a horrible dive in NYC. Massive value is added by the commentaries from Gene and Paul, who – easy as they are to dislike because of their constant bleating about groupies and money – look back with commendable honesty at some of their mistakes.