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03/11/05
Reviews by - Lindsay Planer

The past weeks have seen a number of music-related video packages released. Here are a couple of the more interesting collections issued as of late. Starting off with the third instalment in the SCTV Network 90 series and then a trio of titles from head-bangers KISS -- all of which are making their DVD debut.


SCTV -- Volume Three - Season Four/Cycle Three ( Shout! Factory )

For fans of Second City Television the wait is over for the next cycle of nine shows that introduced Martin Short to the all-star personnel that also boasted the formidable John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara and Dave Thomas. These programmes were initially aired on NBC between April and October of 1982 as SCTV Network 90. The extended hour-and-a-half format was a wide-open canvas for the artists to create some of the most inventive television parodies to have ever been conceived, much less written, directed and subsequently broadcast. Notable sketches include Bob & Doug McKenzie in their own "Great White North Palace" primetime special and a handful of their  typical two-minute "Great White North" segments. Yosh and Stan Shmenge -- The Happy Wanderers, as well as the "Sammy Maudlin Show" with musical guests Daryl Hall & John Oates, who join Sammy, Bobby Bittman and William B William on the couch as they preview the latest Bittman-directed cinematic extravaganza "Chariots Of Eggs". The pair also sing their concurrent Top Ten hit "Did It In A Minute".

Speaking of musical guests, other artists to have made the trip to the fictitious town of Melonville are Tony Bennett ("I Wish I Were In Love Again" and "The Best Is Yet To Come"), Third World ("Try Jah Love"), Carl Perkins ("Matchbox"), Dave Edmunds ("From Small Things, Surely Big Things Come") and Jimmy Buffett ("Slow Boat To China"). Not to mention the brilliant musical satire, such as the Recess Monkeys -- three pre-teen rockers portrayed by John Candy (drums/vocals), Eugene Levy (acoustic guitar/tambourine/vocals) and Rick Moranis (electric guitar/lead vocals) --  who mangle Chilliwack's "My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)" during the "Pre-Teen World Telethon".

There are bonus features on all five DVDs in the set and primary among them are the full-length running commentary tracks with Joe Flaherty and writers Paul Flaherty, Mike Short and Dick Blasucci, a behind-the-scenes photo gallery of the different faces and characters of the late, great John Candy and a separate short from a real popular Canadian television show called "That's Life". They spotlighted Candy at his home in Southern Ontario, Canada in the early '80s. One of the lengthiest extras is the hour-plus "SCTV at the Museum of Television & Radio" from a 1997 roundtable discussion with most of the cast (sans Candy), as well as Executive Producer Andrew Alexander, Second City Chicago founder Bernie Sahlins and a rare public appearance by legendary improv director Del Close. As if that weren't enough, there is a supplementary audio CD with some of the finest recorded moments "From the Second City Stage". Participants Dan Akroyd, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Harold Ramis, Bonnie Hunt, Tim Meadows, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, David Steinberg, Betty Thomas, George Wendt and former members Ed Asner, Shelly Berman, Severn Darden are all present and suitably accounted for.



Kiss -- Kiss My A** ( Mercury/ UMe Video )
Kiss -- Konfidential & Xtreme Close Up (Mercury/UMe Video)

For Kiss fans this triple-threat is most certainly a welcome upgrade from their VHS predecessors -- which have been out-of-print for several years. Here is a brief rundown of each, taken in chronological order of their original release. X-treme Close Up (1992) is a great documentary that is full of rare vintage clips, as well as plenty of behind the scenes shenanigans that the quartet have become infamous for. The VHS incarnation was issued to accompany the Revenge (1992) long player and is bookended with the MTV-style videos for the songs "Unholy" and "I Just Wanna" from that album. In between are goodies such as concert footage of "Watching You," "Black Diamond," "Cold Gin," "Deuce," "100,000 Years," "Let Me Go Rock & Roll," and "God Of Thunder" from the mid '70s. Plus '80s promos for "I Was Made For Lovin' You," "World Without Heroes," "Lick It Up," "Let's Put The X In Sex," "Rise To It," "Hide Your Heart," and "Forever".

Konfidential (1993) followed with a compilation of material taken from the Revenge tour, whose personnel at the time was made up of co-founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley along with guitarist Bruce Kulick and their latest addition, drummer Eric Singer. Highlights abound with "Creatures Of The Night," "Lick It Up," "Heaven's on Fire," "Unholy," "Deuce," "I Love It Loud," "Forever," "Domino," "Take It Off" and "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll To You II" circa 1993. Interspersed throughout the festivities are some shots of the '70s line-up on the songs "100,000 Years," "Nothin' to Lose," "Hotter Than Hell" and even a blooper-filled "Let Me Go Rock N' Roll" that is worth the price of admission alone. X-treme Close Up and Konfidential have been paired together onto a nearly three-hour double feature DVD, which is an amazing value as the list price is a great bargain around the $15.00 mark.
Kiss My A** (1994) is my favourite of the lot. Hard-core Kiss fanatics won't be disappointed either, as it was done with their most ardent supporters in mind. It is a visual diary of sorts that perfectly supplements the nine-pound/300+-page coffee-table style KISSStory (1993) book that remains the ultimate tome on the band. For nostalgic metal-heads, the best parts of Kiss My A** may be those tucked between the full-length musical performances, such as the made-for-TV adverts for the KISS transistor radio, Kiss Your Face brand make-up, Kiss Action Figures, KISS-brand Tattoos, as well as commercials for Hotter Than Hell (1974), Rock 'n' Roll Over (1976), KISS Alive II (1977), Double Platinum (1978), Dynasty (1979) and the 1978 solo LPs. As if that weren't enough, viewers are also treated to the Gin Blossoms' reading of "Christine Sixteen" and Anthrax version of "She" -- both of which were included on the recommended all-star tribute album Kiss My A**: Classic Kiss Regrooved (1994).


Kiss My A**


Konfidential



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