Rock the Nation: Live

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Kiss has issued countless home videos and DVDs over the years, so it's understandable if one assumes that their 2005 model, Rock the Nation: Live, treads similar water. But unlike the others, this double-DVD set reconstructs the complete set of a Kiss "rock" concert (2003's Kiss Symphony saw the band collaborate with -- a symphony). And in this case, the group's 2004 summer tour is showcased -- by combining highlights from shows in Washington, D.C., and Virginia Beach. While hardcore fans of the original lineup may frown upon the release since Ace Frehley and Peter Criss aren't present (replaced by Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, respectively), there is quite a lot to attract longtime admirers of the group. First off, in addition to the expected classics, the DVD sees the group dust off quite a few tracks that had rarely been played before (some making their live debut), including such standouts as "Got to Choose," "Love Her All I Can," and as a bonus bit, "Goin' Blind." Secondly, there are a few interesting gadgets not included on any previous Kiss DVD releases, most notably a "Kiss Powervision/Select-A-Kiss" option, which lets you zero in on the specific Kiss member of your choosing. One complaint though is the annoying, constant presence of pre-recorded, scantily clad strippers dancing away on screens behind the band, rather than close-up shots of the group itself (which would have come in handy for the poor buggers stranded all the way up in the nose bleeds). From a sound and visual point of view, Rock the Nation: Live is arguably the finest live Kiss DVD to hit the marketplace. One can only hope that when Kiss finally decides to open the vaults, vintage shows will be on par with this.

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