Friday, 25 January 2013

100 LPs Shortlist #26: Kiss "Unplugged"

Kiss Unplugged happened late in 1995 and was released on album and video early in 1996.

I played the hell out of this record when it came out. And it literally was a record. I bought the double vinyl with the bonus track on it.

This is a record unlike other unplugged albums inasmuch as the playing is truly acoustic (with some additional mixing I think, especially on that bass), and it is also full of surprises.

This is literally what the fans were waiting for - not just because of the track selection which is full of obscure songs and often requested but rarely played fan favourites, but it also includes a reunion with the original members of the band. This was the first public fruits of the reunion. Granted it only happened here for two songs, but it sounds like a truly joyous occasion.

According to Peter Criss in his autobiography "Makeup to Breakup", rehearsals were fun but they had their tedious moments - like getting Ace Frehley to play acoustic guitar and then teaching him how to play "Beth" on it. But there was also the complexity of having 6 musicians all playing at once on stage for two songs - both Peter and Eric Singer on drums, Ace and Bruce Kulick trading lead lines and of course Gene and Paul. It was truly a great climax to a great set.

History also shows this record as a bittersweet bookend to the careers of Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer. Peter says that once the crowd roared in approval at Ace and Peter being back, he could see dollar signs and hastily shafted Bruce and Eric sideways and reinstated Ace and Peter and put the makeup back on, paving way for the biggest grossing tour of the decade (and of the band's career, mind you). Once out on the road, tensions erupted over money and song choice and things turned into a mess again.

But all that is for another time. This is one moment when all is harmonious in KISS, a joyous family reunion. It's refreshing to see and hear this moment, even if it didn't last all that long for the band members, it still is a pleasure to listen to, even now.


The Spotify album below is the standard CD release which doesn't include "Got To Choose" which was on the vinyl and Video/DVD. It wasn't released on CD until the 2003 Box Set.

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