Tag Archives: blu-ray reviews

“KISS Rocks Vegas” by KISS [Blu-ray/CD]

Artist: KISS
Title: “KISS Rocks Vegas” [Blu-ray/CD]
Label: Eagle Vision
Release Date: 8/26/2016
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4.5/5

The opening copy of the press release that arrived with this concert video and audio piece asked “Is there ANY live experience like KISS on stage” and to that inquiry I can only say “no, there is nothing else like this” and now I can get into the examination of the upcoming “KISS Rocks Vegas” release that will hit the shelves in about a week. I’ve had the discs for a few days already and watched them a couple of times but also was fortunate enough to see this presented on the big screen at the AMC Empire 25 back in May. Readers who are interested in my topical thoughts on that experience can click on THIS LINK to see what I had to say. Knowing what was to be found on the Blu-ray release makes these words easy and I will try to not be too repetitive.

“KISS Rocks Vegas” comes from the band’s first ever historic residency at “The Joint” in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. In my humble opinion, there is probably no better band to see in this kind of setting and since the space would not be arena size it would be interesting to see what kind of show KISS would give their fans. Starting off with the classic opener “Detroit Rock City” the band shows that they still have what it takes to bring you the most exciting show possible. The stage is a dizzying array of screens that bring you right up closer than you would be in the first row and if you have a decent sized television in your home then you are in for a treat. As I said in the film review the tune selections were awesome for me since some long missed tunes were back in the bands set such as “Creatures Of The Night”, “War Machine” and “Tears Are Falling”. I do miss “Firehouse” for the flame splitting by Gene Simmons but I guess I can deal with some change at this point.
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“Fare Thee Well” [Blu-ray/CD] by The Grateful Dead

Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: “Fare Thee Well”
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 11/20/2015
Genre: Rock
Rating: 4/5

Back in the Summer of 2015, the surviving members of The Grateful Dead, meaning Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreautzmann, were joined together in music with long time keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, Bruce Hornsby and Trey Anastasio for a series of shows under the “Fare Thee Well” banner. These shows would be celebrating the milestone 50th Anniversary of the Grateful Dead and also would be the last time that the name would be used for concerts and recording. There would be a total of five concerts with two being in California, while the remaining and final three would happen at Chicago’s Soldier Field and this Blu-ray/CD set delivers the full final performance of The Grateful Dead. Over the course of my life I didn’t initially enjoy what The Dead was all about but this was because a lot of my friends who did like them would always tell me that what I listened to sucked. My appreciation of Hard Rock and the burgeoning Metal sound found me alienating what the Dead offered up purely by association to those memories. I admit this to you readers because that was a long time ago and since that time I have learned to appreciate a whole lot of Grateful Dead music but mostly by way of the “greatest hits” that every single other casual fan might know. The concert is a long one and something like 180 minutes/three hours long and each set is delivered on separate discs. Let’s go over the first set.
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“We Are Twisted F**king Sister” [Blu-ray] by Twisted Sister

Artist: Twisted Sister
Title: “We Are Twisted F**king Sister”
Eagle Vision
Release Date:
Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Documentary
Rating: 4/5

Before I begin the discussion about this particular music history documentary, I must make the readership aware that I have been listening to the band Twisted Sister for a number of decades now and began my own personal journey with them around the time that the “Ruff Cuts” EP was released. Believe it or not I still have a copy of it somewhere in my collection of albums. That being said I was super interested in observing the documentary that Andrew Horn put together because it was not only going to give us insight from all of the band members that we know from the classic lineup, it would also get some insight from a former member or two and the people that worked closely alongside them at the very beginning.
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“In Concert: Live at Sibelius Hall ” by Tarja & Harus

Artist: Tarja and Harus
Title: “Live At Sibelius Hall”
Label: Eagle Vision
Release Date: 2/13/2013
Genre: Classical/Opera
Rating: 4/5

If you were ever a fan of the Symphonic Power Metal sensations Nightwish, then you most likely have a soft spot in your musical heart for the amazing voice of their former lead singer Tarja Turunen who left the group in 2005. Since that time, Tarja has launched a successful solo career but for those fans who are dying to hear her soar into the heavens on some Metal stuff, they need to keep on waiting since this video concert is nothing of the kind. As a matter of fact, this is not even the kind of live video that I would normally even speak about but since its Tarja’s first ever release with this project I knew that some of you would want an overview and the insight of a long time Nightwish fan. The recording was done during Tarja’s Christmas Concert back in 2009 and for this group of shows she teamed up with some incredibly talented musicians (Kalevi Kiviniemi, Marzi Nyman and Markku Khronsually). Though I could not gauge its size from the video, I would liken Sibelius Hall to that of NYC’s own Carnegie Hall or maybe even The Town Hall. The camera work and sound on this performance are incredible and one feels as if they are sitting in the hall listening to her amazing voice do what it was trained for and that is Opera.
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“Epitaph” [Blu-ray] by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “Epitaph” [Blu-ray]
Label: Legacy Recordings
Release Date: 5/28/2013
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.25/5

Back in May I not only had the chance to enjoy the latest Judas Priest DVD on the big screen, but I did so with the great Rob Halford and Richie Faulkner in attendance along with Metal music personality Eddie Trunk. I reviewed the event and then the release on the website but that was for the standard edition DVD and now I finally have gotten my hands on the Blu-ray version. Since I always embed a purchase link in my review copy and speak of the differences between versions I wanted to tackle this one for you and since there were NO noticeable differences (outside of the blue clamshell packaging) I figured I would just keep my review text the same. Check it out.

The “Epitaph” show was filmed at London’s Hammersmith Apollo and this famous venue has found a lot of live Metal and Hard Rock concert recordings or videos being done here when it was named the Hammersmith Odeon. Among them were Motorhead, In Flames and Rush to name a few. It’s nice to have the mighty Judas Priest among these fine bands and with a concert film at such a place. Now the show itself was a special one and features at least one song from every one of the bands recordings. Well, one song from every album that the classic and most revered lineup appeared on together in all honesty as there is nothing from when the band had Tim “Ripper” Owens in the lineup. Since I don’t recall the band even playing any of that material after Owens was gone I guess it makes some sense but to me it is still a part of Judas Priest history. That being said the band begins the show with a song from “British Steel” in a rousing get on your feet performance of “Rapid Fire” and follows it with “Metal Gods” from that same release. While they touched upon every album they did not do the show sequentially and instead positioned a choice tune here and another there. A wise move because the set seems to flow seamlessly as a result of the way that it has been fashioned. The audience does get a lot of the expected tunes from the band and that is very simply because there are numerous songs that are just too hard to leave out of a Judas Priest show. We get a few surprises such as “Never Satisfied” from the bands “Rocka Rolla” debut but I thought it would have been fun for them to give us the title track instead since it has a nice groove. “Turbo Lover” was an obvious inclusion and I don’t recall the last time that I saw the band doing this one. I had to smile at the fact that no matter how maligned this particular album was, it did not stop the crowd from singing the chorus at top volume. When I saw the DVD on the big screen my friend mentioned how much he liked that the crowd was not always being shown and instead it was primarily the band. While meaning no offense to my fellow Metalheads I have to agree because outside of the occasional pan we don’t need to see you. Of course my one main issue with the show was that instead of the mighty Halford singing “Breaking The Law” we get the audience of the Apollo doing so. Perhaps this was awesome if you were there but for me it loses just a little something when watching it on the television. The stage setting is dramatic and the backdrop changes regularly as the band moves back and forth throughout their musical career.
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