Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

We are up to the fifth album in the Bootleg series and we are still on the albums I found in Paris back in April.  And since it is July 4th, I thought what is more American than July 4th…well KISS!!!

This was was from September 14, 1974 on the Hotter Than Hell Tour and it was recorded at The Victory Burlesque in Toronto, ON, Canada.  This was actually a warm-up show for the tour, one of two nights (not sure which one).  This was also about a month before the Hotter Than Hell album came out.

As usual, before we get into the music we will talk about the packaging and what was offered with this set.  First off, this was a single LP and not a double like all the others as this was only a 9 song set as you have to remember this was only 1974 and Kiss hadn’t been around very long with only 2 album to choose from at this point.  The packaging was quite simple.  The front (as seen above) is a very early shot of the band before all the glitz and glamour.  The back is a great shot of the band on stage (what show, I do not know for sure…we will assume this one, but I am sure it is not).

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The vinyl sleeve is a nice solid cardboard sleeve that is very sturdy and has more great pictures.

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The set also came with a Tour Poster with all the tour dates on it which when folded out was a decent size.  It was nice to get a little something extra for the money.

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And the last thing is the vinyl.  The album back cover says it is a limited edition on black, purple, white and grey marble vinyl.  I don’t think it is all those, I think it is one of those and mine was white.  I don’t see any other colors, but WHITE!! It is still pretty though.

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Now on to the music.  The set list is only 8 songs, but they are a great 9 songs and since it was so early  in their career, it does not end with “Rock & Roll All Nite”…thank my lucky stars!!!

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The sound is interesting to say the least.  It isn’t the greatest sounding record I have, but you can understand what they are singing and hear the different instruments, sometimes it is rather muffled, distorted and a little rough around the edges.  Not the band’s playing as it is sensational, only the sound.  It is an audience recording, but that is okay because think about the history here.  This is a show from their pretty early days and that is cool for me.

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The announcer comes on and doesn’t say…”You wanted the best…” as this was prior to the band opening their shows with that intro.  Instead it was “Put your two lips together and welcome Kiss!!”.  Then the show opens with “Deuce” and the band sounds fantastic.  Ace’s guitar playing is incredible and Gene’s scream is perfect. “Strutter” is up next and it is pretty rough sounding as there is so much distortion noise that is at times distracting.  This might be the roughest song which sucks as it is one of my favorite songs by the band.

Paul actually speaks briefly to introduce the song which he doesn’t do much during the show.  Very minimal Paul banter. “Nothing to Lose” is brutal, but in a good way.  The band sounds tight, Gene and Peter are killing it on vocals (Peter more so then Gene) and it is everything you want from Kiss.

The fans get involved and clapping before the band kicks in on “Firehouse”.  You get the menacing bass riff from Gene and some stellar vocals for Paul.  And of course, the siren is a blaring towards the end which the recording picks up quite well.

Side 1 ends with an interesting song. The song “She” is played and this won’t be released on an album until their third ‘Dressed to Kill’ and remember we are still a month away from their second album coming out.  This is such a killer song and it sounds amazing including Gene’s bass and then Ace’s solo…despite the shoddy sound recording.

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Side 2 kicks off with “Parasite”, the first of two new songs from the “Hotter Than Hell” album.  It kicks off with that deadly little riff and off you go with Gene on vocals.  This one sounds awesome as well and I have started to forget about the roughness of the recording.  Everything about the band here is clicking even Peter’s drumming and Ace is a beast at this point.

“100,000 Years” is next and Paul on vocals for this one and let me tell you there is no lip-syncing or added tracks here (that will come much later in the career), it is all Paul.  Paul does some banter during the middle of the song with Peter popping out some drum fills. Listening to this old recording was “nice to reacquainted with their style”.

And then we get in to “Black Diamond” with Paul’s little intro and then BAM! into the meat of the song. Peter sounds a little iffy at times, but he is giving it his all.  Some of the “iffy” part is probably just the recording itself.  Don’t get me wrong, the band is doing their thing and doing it well. Peter is screaming his lungs out which might be my problem as he is over doing it.  I think it was so freaking loud at the show that the sound got a little muffled at times.

The final song was the other song from ‘Hotter Than Hell’, “Let Me Go, Rock ‘N’ Roll”.  The crowd does a lot of hand clapping per the band’s request which lasts a lot longer than it really should.  The band races through the song with Gene on vocals.  A couple minutes in to the song, there is still hand clapping…how the hell can they go that long!!  It is a fun, high energy song and a good way to close the show.

Now, if you want to check out the live show on video, YouTube does have this exact show that you can watch.

The overall sound isn’t that great, but the performance is so good you tend to forget about it.  If I was rating on sound alone, this would maybe get a 2.0, but the fact Kiss is playing so well and it is such an early show and songs are played that haven’t been released yet, I will up the score to a 3.0 out 5.0 Stars.  As a part of Kisstory, this is a great release and do grab if you come across.  It is not the best one I picked up, but I still love it a lot.

Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!  Thanks for stopping by!!

  1. Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
  2. Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
  3. Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
  4. Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
  5. Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)

 

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12 thoughts on “Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

  1. First of all John! Happy July 4th to u and the family!
    What a great looking package again for a bootleg!
    Live in Toronto as well! That pic with Ace looking sideways is awesome!
    Tour poster etc. Wicked. Sure the sound might not be the best but its Kisstory!
    Well Done!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I was going through and i think there are 34 tours and I only have shows from 9 of them. I want a show from each tour. I have a lot of work ahead of me. And if I find any extras for you, I will make sure to pick em up.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I love hearing those tracks that weren’t released at the time – I remember really enjoying hearing early live versions of tragically hip songs before they’d become finished studio products, a fun experience!

    Like

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