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Paul Stanley, One Live Kiss

New Door Records - October 21, 2008

by Melanie "Sass" Falina

Paul Stanley, One Live Kiss

Paul Stanley might very well live his life by his penned mantra "Live To Win" but he's also a man who was born to entertain. With the sleekness of a cat, the grace of a dancer, and the sass of a mega rock star -- Paul Stanley just inherently knows how to put on a stellar performance be it solo or with the group he co-founded more than three decades ago, KISS.

Live To Win, the sophomore solo release by Paul Stanley, followed his first release by more than 25 years -- but fans not only couldn't be more delighted but also didn't seem at all put out by such a heady wait. The tour that followed suit attracted not only hard-core KISS fans, but newer, younger fans as well. And it was at the House of Blues in Chicago where the cameras were turned on and this DVD is the result. It was November 6, 2006, and for those of us who were there that night, the recording is a great way to relive a fantastic show, to maybe see some of the things we'd missed while concentrating elsewhere -- maybe too engrossed in signing along and dancing to catch every sway of Stanley's hips. But for those who weren't there that night, One Live KISS will make you feel like you were.

The DVD begins with Stanley talking about growing up in New York and at even a young age deciding that he didn't want to settle or compromise in life, he also spoke about the beginnings of KISS and also how important his family is to him. A nice view into the world of a performer beyond what we see on stage.

Then it's time for the show -- joining Stanley are members of the Rock Star: Supernova and Rock Star: INXS to form his house band -- Jim McGorman on guitars and vocals, Sasha on bass and vocals, the dynamic Nate Morton on drums and vocals, Rafael Moreira on lead guitar and vocals, and the yummy Paul Mirkovich on keyboards and -- you guessed it - vocals. With Stanley leading the charge the result is a visually stunning recording of a high-octane, rocking show.

Kicking off the night is the title-cut of Stanley's album, "Live To Win," with the packed House of Blues living for every note. Before breaking out into "Hide Your Heart" off of the KISS album Hot In The Shade Stanley explains that for this show he plans on playing all the songs that he loves - reminding us that even when you are in one of the biggest rock bands in the world, sometimes it is refreshing to break free and have the opportunity to be the alpha, and not be tied down to the feelings and opinions of all 'the other guys.' Dancing around on stage like a kid in his 20's audience members have to remind themselves that Stanley is actually pushing 60 -- yet his high energy level never falters.

With but a moment's break, Stanley and company break out into "A Million To One," then followed by "Got To Choose," and off his first solo release -- "Move On." He bounces back and forth between solo albums, Stanley croons out the new with "Bulletproof" and the old with "Tonight You Belong To me," and then back to KISS classics like "Lick It Up," "Wouldn't You Like To Know Me?" and "Magic Touch" -- between the body heat wafting off of the audience members and the electrifying power coming out of the amps absolutely no one in Chicago's House of Blues that night was feeling the impending winter just on the other side of those doors.

With "I Still Love You" Stanley, the songbird, cast a hypnotic spell over the audience, but then quickly whipped them into a frenzy with "Strutter." Slowing it up again with "Everytime I See You Around" only to rev it up once more with "Do You Love Me," "I Want You," and "Love Gun."

Stanley wraps up the night with the poetic odyssey "Lift," and then " Detroit Rock City," and "Goodbye."

The only complaint I'd have about this DVD is how long it took to be released; even so, it was well worth the wait and an acute reminder of just how great of a show this really was. Satisfying yet leaves you wanting more; like all things KISS.