“KISS Boxed Set” by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “Boxed Set” (remastered)
Label: Mercury/Universal Music
Release Date: 11/20/2001
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

It was really only a matter of time before KISS got around to releasing a career spanning boxed set after delivering what seemed to be endless editions of “Greatest Hits” packages that often featured the same songs as the last one had dished out or ones that only featured a minor change in the track listing, order of the songs or the photos. Even though I have been a lifelong KISS fans, the sheer number of these kinds of releases from the band was making me start to feel a little bit played. Despite this viewpoint, I still picked up a copy of the boxed set when it was released and wanted to present to you its track listing and some thoughts on what I liked and where I felt that they let us down a little bit. The massive release does give us five CD’s with a total of 94 tracks and 30 of them are ones that were never before released. These unreleased tunes cross a wide gamut from missing tracks, demos, live recordings and alternate versions. Percentagewise that means that of the whole package, just under a third of it will be “new” to the fans ears. I used quotations there based on the amount of bootlegged CD’s that had been circulating the conventions that often had this stuff.

As a lifelong KISS fan I was eager to hear more of the demos of the tracks that became legendary parts of Rock and Roll history and I was very interested in cleaner copies of the Wicked Lester stuff. Yeah that particular band was a total out of left field sounding one from what KISS was to become when they founded it; but it is relevant to the bands history and hence something that the fans want to be able to enjoy. When it comes to unreleased tunes from the bands archives; the more the merrier in the eyes of the KISS Army without a doubt. Check out what they did give us on the release.

CD2: C’Mon And Love Me, Rock Bottom, Cold Gin, Watchin’ You, Doncha Hesitate, Mad Dog, God Of Thunder, Great Expectations, Beth, Do You Love Me, Bad Bad Lovin’, Calling Dr. Love, Mr. Speed, Christine Sixteen, Hard Luck Woman, Shock Me, I Stole Your Love, I Want You, Love Gun, Love Is Blind

CD3: Detroit Rock City, King Of The Night Time World, Larger Than Life, Rocket Ride, Tonight You Belong To Me, New York Groove, Radioactive, Don’t You Let Me Down, I Was Made For Lovin’ You, Sure Know Something, Shandi, You’re All That I Want You’re All That I Need, Talk To Me, A World Without Heroes, The Oath, Nowhere To Run, Creatures Of The Night, War Machine, I Love It Loud

CD4: Lick It Up, All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose, Heaven’s On Fire, Get All You Can Take, Thrills In The Night, Tears Are Falling, Uh! All Night, Time Traveler, Hell Or High Water, Crazy Crazy Nights, Reason To Live, Let’s Put The X In Sex, Hide Your Heart, Ain’t That Peculiar, Silver Spoon, Forever

CD5: God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You II, Unholy, Domino, Every Time I Look At You, Comin’ Home, Got To Choose, I Still Love You, Nothin’ To Lose (Unplugged), Childhood’s End, I Will Be There, Psycho Circus, Into The Void, Within, I Pledge Allegiance To The State Of Rock and Roll, Nothing Can Keep Me From You, It’s My Life, Shout It Out Loud, Rock And Roll All Nite (Millennium Concert)

As you can see there is a LOT of music to enjoy and if you don’t already own any of the KISS catalog or let’s say a “healthy portion” of it, then this is a perfect release for you to investigate purchasing. However, if you own most of or all of the already remastered releases then you might want to skip the purchase of the boxed set and just order each tune that you need for your collection via the legitimate online mediums like Amazon.com or I-Tunes. KISS fans are generally purchasing maniacs so we know that even if they had all of the tunes that they would buy it. Visually, this is an interesting package and the standard edition comes in a box that opens up like a book and all five CD’s fit neatly inside it. There is a cut out space so they don’t jostle around at all when the box is in transit. There is a 120 page book enclosed that is a great read and lines out the bands views on every song that we find featured and of course showcases hundreds and hundreds of photos from across the years. It’s a healthy read that any music fan will enjoy browsing. Each CD has a small foldout booklet enclosed which amounts to six pages and wisely focuses on a particular point in the bands time line. I liked how they broke this up because the images of the band play against the musical recordings that are on each CD perfectly. KISS did not let me down in terms of design at all and I didn’t expect them to.

I will say that I was slightly disappointed in the overall amount of songs that most of us “already have”. KISS at this point should be giving us the complete Wicked Lester sessions and the original demos for the first album. Yes we have a couple of those tunes on the boxed set, but why not just present them all at this point in time. They also could have included some video material in this release like the never officially released “Animalize” show. Where is the appearance on the King Biscuit Flower Hour from the “Lick It Up Tour”. There was seven songs broadcast on the radio and you just know that there was more that we didn’t get to hear. I think making the ratio of a third being what we already own and two thirds unreleased material would have been way, way cooler. Oh well, it is what it is. I did like it despite my reservations. I just get fussy about what I want to see from them since it’s clear that they have so much to offer their fans after so many years.

As I mentioned, this little narrative is an overview of the so-called “standard” edition of the boxed set and as with all things KISS that means there is a super deluxe one also available for you to purchase. In the case of the Boxed Set, the Deluxe Edition comes in a miniature guitar case and offers you the book but in a hardcover version. There are some other cool aspects to it, but I didn’t have one to peruse on my own so I must leave it at that. Depending on how strong your level of KISS “must have it all” is will help you decide on whether or not you need to standard version or the deluxe one. I admit that while I liked the idea of the guitar case version I ran with the standard one for storage sake alone.

Track Listing: CD1
1. Strutter
2. Deuce
3. Keep Me Waiting
4. She
5. Love Her All I Can
6. Let Me Know
7. 100,000 Years
8. Stop, Look To Listen
9. Leeta
10. Let Me Go Rock ‘n’ Roll
11. Acrobat
12. Firehouse
13. Nothin’ To Lose
14. Black Diamond
15. Hotter Than Hell
16. Strange Ways
17. Parasite
18. Goin’ Blind
19. Anything For My Baby
20. Ladies In Waiting
21. Rock And Roll All Nite

Official Web site: http://www.kissonline.com

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