KISS’ “Symphony: Alive IV” CD Release/Fan Meet and Greet (7/23/2003)

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Artist: KISS
Venue: Best Buy – 86th Street (New York, NY)
Event: “Symphony: Alive IV” CD Release/Meet and Greet
Date: 7/23/2003
Label: Sanctuary Records

Earlier this year when it was announced that KISS was going to do a concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra I said “oh great, KISS is following in the footsteps of Metallica & the Scorpions” who had each released a similar effort over the past years. Who ever would have guessed it? Certainly not me but despite my reservations about it I had to admit that the idea was a little more intriguing when I took the time to think it over. This is primarily due to the fact that when it comes down to the brass tacks; KISS will always deliver no matter what the skeptics will say. This case would be no different as I would later find out once I had time to absorb the release after a couple of spins.

The CD for KISS Symphony: Alive IV” arrived here in the States back in July and to celebrate it there was a promotion from a mass retailer called Best Buy which said to come in and purchase the CD on the day of its release and not only get a signed copy, but also the chance to get to meet the band who would be in full makeup and even get your photo taken with them. There were two editions of the CD being released that day and one was a standard type and another would be a limited edition deluxe version that was housed in a beautiful douoble-gatefold package with raised, embossed lettering.

So, since I am the die-hard KISS Fan that I am I left my new work assignment several hours early because of an “appointment of utter importance” and my doing this allowed me to go to stand online for a long time while waiting to get the picture taken. The typical fan in me made sure that I bought a couple of copies of the CD, because one cannot only have one version (especially if there are two different kinds to choose from). I like to refer to this method of thinking as “The Gene Simmons Implant” as no matter what it is, where it is, or how much it is, the KISS army members will be there online to get themselves a copy or two. If you don’t believe me then you should ask some other fans about it, because I can state for a fact that I was not alone on the few book releases that they were also involved in.

After about a 3 hour wait and being a general cut up (or comedian) on the line. We were in front of the members of KISS who were decked out in full Alive I styled regalia. Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Tommy Thayer. Thayer is formerly of Black And Blue and now an official member of the band and wearing Ace Frehley’s signature makeup. They looked awesome in person and up that close and the only words I could mutter was “WOW, HEY GUYS and THIS IS SO COOL”. I turned around after shaking all their hands and then my photograph was snapped and faster than one could blink I was back outside in the street once again. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I wandered aimlessly for the first few minutes as the overall shock of meeting my heroes in their costumes was a little much for my senses to accept.

Ken and KISS at Best Buy 2003

As soon as I got home, this CD went on my stereo system and it is amazing as far as production and overall delivery. Broken into Three Acts, KISS first comes out and does some rocking numbers with no assistance. The Second Act, features KISS with the Melbourne Ensemble and this is very nicely done. I can compare this portion to the Unplugged album from 1996 as the tunes had a different feel to them with the strings and acoustic guitars. “Beth” and “Shandi” are especially good, as Australians took to “Shandi” like gangbusters. It seems to be their favorite song. On the 2nd CD, is where Act Three takes place and this is absolutely stupendous. KISS now plays their biggest hits with the assistance of a 60 piece Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. I had commented earlier that KISS’s choice to do a symphony accompanied release as following the pack of Metallica and Scorpions, I soon changed my mind as the KISS power chords of “Detroit Rock City” and “King Of The Nightime World” began. These tunes worked so well with the Symphony and were much different from what I had heard on these other releases. At times during the Metallica, I felt as though the orchestra was overpowered and simply in the background. Gene and company had done their homework and placed a sufficient amount of work in the production of this release. I was also glad to see it as a double-CD edition, as that was a major complaint I had with “Alive III” that covered parts of the “Revenge” tour.

When this event happened I was not even the Metal music journalist that I would start to become with the Nightwish show that would take place at L’Amour two months later. I did submit this to a site that I liked to read and once came to be the text was expanded upon and delivered to our growing readership.

Editor’s Note: This article was written for another medium prior to the 2005 launch of and has been added to our content for your enjoyment.

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