Kiss – ‘Black Diamond: Lafayette Music Room, Memphis, TN April 18th, 1974 – FM Broadcast’ (Alternate Cover) – Album Review (The Bootleg Series)

If you are thinking, “John, you’ve reviewed this show before”. You would be right. I reviewed it about a 1 1/2 years ago. But this one is different…it has a different cover and from a different manufacturer. In my quest to get as many Kiss Bootleg’s I can, I found this one in a local record show, new and sealed. And cheap. This is actually an easy one to get if you are collecting Kiss Bootlegs. I think I paid $20 for it. When I saw it, I knew I had this show, but I really liked the cover and this one has clear vinyl. Otherwise, there is nothing really special about this one, no inserts, no picture sleeves and no surprised in the package like I have received in a lot of my bootlegs. This one is rather generic. For historical reasons though, it is pretty cool. The recording is an FM Broadcast from April 18, 1974 in Memphis, TN at the Lafayette Music Room and is one of the earliest recordings of the band.

Soundwise…well…let’s just say there is sound. This is a recording off a radio broadcast on to a tape. That tape was then copied, which was then copied, which was then copied, which was then copied and keep going for another dozen copies. There is a massive tape drag at several points during the show which slows the song down and it is quite noticeable. That proves that the source material was from an old tape that had been copied many times. Yes, the sound sucks at times and might be on the low end of some of my bootlegs, but I am still okay with it and because I collect them I will buy regardless.

If you look at the setlist, you will notice a few things stand out. One is they basically played the entire debut album with a few minor exceptions. Two, they play the song “She” which won’t come out until 2 albums later on ‘Dressed to Kill’. And Three, they play a song called “Acrobat” which is actually the basis for the song “Love Theme From Kiss” from the first album. This is two months after the debut album release, so it is strange they played the “Acrobat” version and not the album version.


The album and set opens with “Deuce” and boy can you hear the tape drag on this one, pretty drastic. But you can still make out the song and hear Gene just fine as it is in the instruments where you have the issues. Nothing is real clear except the vocals. Towards the end of the song, it clears up and gets a little louder and that cowbell comes in nicely. “Strutter” is up next after a slight pause and you get more wobbly instruments and even a little on the vocals this time around. Paul sounds like he is singing the song so much slower. Again, you are buying this strictly for the historical value…that is what I keep telling myself anyway.

“Firehouse” sounds great and I happy with that version. It is an untouched, live version warts and all and it is quite enjoyable. Ace’s solo sounds good and you get a glimpse of the band doing what they do best with no real hiccups. The cool song on here is “She” as I said it hadn’t even been released yet on an album. The guitar opening on it sounds a little slower and I am guessing that is the tape drag as there is a lot of wobble. But vocally again, sounds good. Gene is menacing as ever and Paul on background duties. The coolest part is the instrumental break/guitar solo as it isn’t what we get later. This the reason to buy this release if you need one. And last up for Side 1 is the badass song “Nothin’ to Lose”. And by this time you are used to the wobble and so it starts sounding pretty decent (okay, decent enough). I love this song as you get both Gene and Peter on vocals (and Paul is heard pretty good on backing vocals). I love Peter’s gritty and raspy old school singing on this one. Always fun.


Side 2 kicks off with the Ace Frehley penned song “Cold Gin” (after the radio DJ does a station break), but with Gene on vocals as Ace wasn’t singing this early on in the band. Now, I did get to see Ace do this one this past Summer when he opened for Alice Cooper but that is another story. I really love this song but I will say this version seemed a little flat and not sure if that was the band or the recording itself. After a little tuning, we get Gene’s bass and some thumps until they become “100,000 Years”. Paul sounds fresh and youthful and can do some great ooh-yeahs back then.

Another favorite of mine to hear live is “Black Diamond” even with a DJ interrupting the opening notes for a station break. The tape is wobbly again as it sounds a little funky and messed up, but it is still “Black Diamond”. I love the slow opening and then the bombastic explosion for the rest of the song. Plus, the instrumental break and solo are always great. An all around fantastic song every time I hear it. The song ends the broadcast. Then the show announcer comes back and the band is tuning their instruments a little they go in to what is labeled as “Acrobat” but it cuts out the “Love Theme From Kiss” parts off and is just the band jamming. Peter has a little drum solo piece then the band kicks in and they jam out, all instrumentally and then they start singing only a little. There are very few lyrics and they sing “You’re much too young” a couple times and then they go back to jamming and we get a killer guitar solo piece as well. Then Paul says “Good Night” and it is all over. Fun track.

Despite the tape drag and the wobbly sound in out at times throughout, I still find this an enjoyable most especially for an early version of “She” and for the encore with “Acrobat”. It is also a cool historical piece to have anything live and uncut from 1974 with them really just getting going. All-in-all, it turned out to be an okay show as you get used to the sound issues and you enjoy it for what it is. I can’t give it too high of a score, but I will give it at least a 2.5 out of 5.0 Stars (but it should get more for the two songs I mentioned – maybe a 3.0 to 3.5…but that might be too generous).

The Bootleg Series:

  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)
  6. Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
  7. Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
  8. Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
  9. Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
  10. Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
  11. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)
  12. Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (LICK IT UP TOUR 1983)
  13. Kiss – Barbarize (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – North American Tour)
  14. Kiss – They Only Come Out At Night (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – EUROPEAN TOUR)
  15. Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
  16. Kiss – Black Diamond: Lafayette Music Room, Memphis, TN April 18th, 1974 – FM Broadcast
  17. Kiss – End of the Road: In Allentown 2020 (PPL Center, Allentown, PA, 4th February 2020) (End of the Road Tour) – Blu-Ray
  18. Kiss – ‘Monster Tour: Simpsonville 2013’ (Charter Amphitheatre at Heritage Park, Simpsonville, C – 13th August 2013) – Blu-Ray
  19. Wicked Lester – The Original Wicked Lester Sessions (Bootleg)
  20. Kiss – The Ritz on Fire (August 12, 1988, The Ritz, New York City. A radio broadcast – Crazy Nights Tour)
  21. Kiss – Kiss My Axe 1978: Live from the Los Angeles Forum in California, August 25, 1977 (Love Gun Tour)
  22. Kiss – Gods of Thunder: The Legendary Concert Broadcast – Sao Paulo, August 27, 1994′
  23. Kiss – Black Diamond: Lafayette Music Room, Memphis, TN April 18th, 1974 – FM Broadcast (Alternate Cover)

Kiss – ‘Gods of Thunder: The Legendary Concert Broadcast – Sao Paulo, August 27, 1994’ – Album Review (The Bootleg Series)

In my quest for bootlegs, another one popped up at a record show here in Charlotte. This one was fairly new as it was released in 2020 and it was still sealed. It is simply called ‘Gods of Thunder”. The show is only a partial show from the Monsters of Rock show in Sao Paulo, Brazil on August 27, 1994. That setlist had 22 tracks and this is a streamlined vinyl with only 10 tracks and not even sure these are the best 10 tracks. But the good news is, they did omit “Rock & Roll All Nite” which we didn’t really need to have another live version of that as I have a million of it already.

I’m not sure what they were going for with the cover but I am sure with the lightning and cloudy skies is the God of Thunder part, but what is with the chess board at the bottom and the poorly cropped faces on the cover. That looks about as shitty of job that I could do. The bright side is, they at least got the right people as that would’ve been the line-up in 1994. The back cover is the same scene minus the heads and the track list instead. The cool thing about it is the beautiful blue vinyl. I like that a lot. And as far as sound, it is from a radio broadcast, so the sound is fantastic. There is no denying it is a live show as nothing has been done to fix the imperfections, which is what we like about the bootlegs.


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Jeff Scott Soto – ‘LA Rocks Demo / Vinnie Vincent Demo 1988’ Bootleg (2008) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

I was scouring eBay for a few of the remaining Soto albums I don’t have, and sadly, none were for sale at the time. However, I cam across something I had never seen before. It was a bootleg of Jeff Scott Soto demos. And to top it off, it was actually signed by Jeff Scott Soto. The person I bought it from lives in Germany and his name was Stefan. It turns out, Stefan is the lead singer of the band Speed Limit (check them out, they are pretty cool) and he had opened for Soto on a tour and actually met Jeff and got him to sign the CD. I thought all that was pretty cool and I love having a story behind my purchase.


So, what is this CD? It is a bootleg, mostly of demos from Jeff’s early years with LA Rocks and with Vinnie Vincent. We never got any albums out of those two projects, but at least we have some demos. The first set of songs say they are from his band LA Rocks. Back in 1986, Aldy Damian approached Jeff about joining the band. Jeff was busy with his own band called L’amour at the time and so he wasn’t really interested in joining LA Rocks. However, he did agree to do a couple demos for them and they paid him, so how could he say no. After Jeff, turned it down, they went after James Christian and he agreed. James became known for his other band House of Lords later.

The project didn’t end up going anywhere and the band later on became known as something you are more familiar with as we have discussed them in this series and that is the band Eyes of which Jeff sang on a couple of their albums. It all comes around full circle in the end. These set of songs here under the LA Rock Demos section, are a mixture of LA Rocks and Eyes demos and some aren’t even either band. The tracks “Hands of Time” and “Heart of the Fire” were demos for songs used on the movie ‘Rich Girl’. The songs “For You”, “Till the End of Time” and “Nobody Said it was Easy” are all demos for the band Eyes. And the song “Hold On”, not really sure where that is from but maybe it is from LA Rocks.

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Journey – ‘Turn the Page: Live in Atlanta, GA’ (Bootleg)’ (2006) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

Journey were on a massive Stadium Tour with Def Leppard in 2006. Journey’s lead singer, Steve Augeri had struggled with throat issues and was really having a hard time vocally. The decision was made by Neal Schon to replace Steve and he needed someone he knew could handle the Journey catalog. Luckily for Neal, he had been working with Jeff Scott Soto in their supergroup Soul SirkUs and knew he was the man for the job. Neal called Jeff and there was no way Jeff could say no, it was a dream of his to sing with Journey. He had already been working with Neal, but now he could do it and sing those classic Journey songs, No way he was turning it down.

Jeff got the call and was on a plane the next day and arrived in D.C. on July 5th 2006 and luckily the band had a couple days off, but Jeff had to be ready to sing as the first show with him was on July 7th in Bristow, Virginia. And Jeff was thrown in to the deep end as he didn’t really get to talk with anyone until the day of the show and didn’t even have a setlist for the show until that day and to top that off, he didn’t even get a soundcheck or any real rehearsal with the band…damn that is insane. The only time he had with the band was on the tour bus prior to the show to discuss the set and show. Jeff, of course, survived and continued on with the band.

Jeff’s stint was supposed to be short term, but he was doing so well and the tour was extended until December. Then on December 19, 2006, Jeff was announced as the official new lead singer with the band. His reviews from the tour were glowing and all was going well. There were plans for a new album and work had begun, but by June 2007, it all fell apart rather quickly and as far as Jeff was concerned, unexpectedly. It was announced on June 12, 2007 that Jeff was no longer in the band and the band was going to take the rest of the year off. I don’t think anyone is really sure what happened, but the band eventually wound up with Arnel Pineda who is still with the band today.

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Kiss – ‘Kiss My Axe 1978’ (1981 Re-Issue) – Album Review (The Bootleg Series)

Happy Thanksgiving!! Here is what I am thankful for as far as music goes (of course tops is my family and friends).

I am always on the hunt for Kiss Bootlegs and I got another classic one a few weeks back. Noble Records was having their 3rd Anniversary Drop and Dylan always has some great stuff out that day. The store opened at 10 and the line had to be long as it always in as everyone wants the good stuff. I had been recovering from surgery and this was my first trip out so there was no way I was getting there early and standing in line. No, I wasn’t doing that. Instead I left the house at a little before 10 and got there around 10:20 am. I figured, if it was meant for me to have it, it would still be there. And guess what, it was still there and I grabbed it!!! Yes, I was excited. Bootleg #21 of Kiss was now in my collection.

This one was an old one. It was from 1981 and was actually a re-issue of the 1978 original release of the album. The people putting out this one spared no expense as the album sleeve is a plain white cardboard with nothing on it. Instead you get a piece of paper with a badly printed picture of the band and the details on the release. That is it. The inner sleeve is white and labels, well, as you see below, there was not much too them. But typical bootleg fashion, the band’s name is not on the label. I love these old style boots, you can’t beat them.

This was recorded live at Los Angeles Forum, California, On August 25, 1977 and this is fresh off the new album at the time, ‘Love Gun’. I’m really excited about this one because I didn’t have a bootleg from the Love Gun Tour…now I do. The band was hungry, young and insanely good at this time. The recording is an audience recording as you can hear a lot of the kids screaming around the person recording the show. But as far as audience recordings go, it isn’t bad. It isn’t the whole show as it is only 11 songs and most of them are from the ‘Love Gun’ album.

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October 2022 Purchases – Vinyl & CDs

Happy Halloween!! October was not a good month for me. It was mostly Tricks and few Treats! The tricks were that I was recovering from an appendectomy and after two weeks of that, I caught a virus and then a bacterial infection and was sick for 2 more weeks. My motivation is now at all time low and I have no desire to write or even buy as my energy level is completely wiped. I haven’t written much at all this past month and don’t know when I will get back in to a full time mode, if I ever do. It was hard enough to even put this simple post together, but I am trying.

This month might be my smallest number of purchases in quite some time, but doesn’t mean it doesn’t have what I think are some really sweet Treats! I did get to one record store during the month on the sole day in between recovery and illness where I felt good. It didn’t last that long because by the afternoon, it all went down hill. Noble Records was having their 3rd Anniversary Drop and what a drop it was. I picked up a Kiss Bootleg. More to come on this one down the road, but this is a 1981 reissue of a 1978 bootleg of Kiss My Axe 1978.

While there I picked two albums I had reviewed in my You Pick It Series that won for albums I had never heard before. I grabbed Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass which was the owners personal copy. It is so clean and even includes the poster!!

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Queensryche – ‘Unplugged And Other Stories’ – Album Review (Bootleg Series)

At the May 2022 Record Show here in Charlotte, I found a couple bootlegs on CD that I had to grab. The first was from Extreme which we discussed recently and this one is from Queensryche. I don’t know much about it but I do know that it had to come out sometime after 1992 as the most current songs on here were recorded around that time. There are 3 different versions of this bootleg according to Discogs and all three have the same track listing. The other two were from Italy and released in 1992 and the other 1994. This one has no date or country of origin so all is unknown. If you do know, please comment below.

The first 5 tracks are taken from MTV Unplugged which were recorded on April 27, 1992. I don’t think there has ever been an official MTV Unplugged release for this show…at least not that I can find. Tracks 6-9 and 11-14 are all recorded around 1983 in New York which is very early Queensryche. Pre the release of ‘The Warning’ which is really cool. They would’ve only had out the Queensryche E.P. at this point. Song 10 comes from Tokyo and Budokan in 1985.

And like any good bootleg, there are mistakes in both song titles and track orders. First, the song “Take Hold of the Flame” is actually “Take Hold of My Flame”. Track 7 is listed as “Blinded” but is actually “Queen of the Reich”. Track 8 is listed as “The Lady Wore Black (Electric)” but is actually “Blinded” and as a result, Track 9 is listed as “Queen of the Reich” but is “Blinded”. Okay, I think that is all that I can find.

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Extreme – ‘Hollywood Rock 1992’ – Album Review (Bootleg Series)

At the most recent record show here in Charlotte, I found a couple bootleg CDs that I snagged up for a real cheap $5 each. Gotta love that. The first one I grabbed was from the band Extreme. The bootleg was called ‘Hollywood Rock 1992’ which was recorded from the rock festival Hollywood Rock down in Rio de Janeiro Brazil on January 26, 1992. The CD says it was a Freddie Mercury Tribute, but the band only played one Queen cover so not much of a tribute.

What I love about Bootlegs are the errors. Yes, they have errors. The reason why is the people that make bootlegs don’t give a crap about editing and making things perfect and accurate. They only care about getting out product. The first major error is where it was made. The album was made in Italy…however, the back cover says it was made in Itary. I have been looking at a globe for about 10 hours now and I can’t find Itary anywhere on it. Then it is the song titles…”Pornograffitti” is spelled as “Pornographiti” and what should be a Nuno acoustic guitar solo actually says that he sold his acoustic guitar.

What makes it even better is that they spelled everything correctly on the actual CD, but they used the wrong words at times. One error on the CD is on “Suzi” they called it “Suzi (Wants Her All Day Want?)” and it should be (Wants Her All Day What?). Then for “Decadence Dance” there is a drum solo and they list it as Pat but Pat plays bass. Paul is on drums.

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Kiss – ‘The Ritz On Fire’ – Album Review (The Bootleg Series)

I can’t believe we are on our 20th Review in the Kiss Bootleg Series. Nuts to think I’ve picked up that many. This one is called ‘The Ritz on Fire’ which is from August 12, 1988, The Ritz, New York City. A radio broadcast, from the Crazy Nights tour. This one is not the full show, but sort of a Best Of Compilation of that show. There are a bunch of different ones out there, some with full shows and some like this. I do have a show from the Crazy Nights Tour that was recorded on April 18, 1988 in Osaka, Japan, so I figured I’d grab this one as well as why not, you can never have enough Kiss Bootlegs…obviously or we wouldn’t be on #20.

I have found that this version is one of the few bootlegs that get all the packaging correct. They have the right band members in the pictures (Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick) and the right song titles and I don’t see any mistakes which is rare in the Bootleg world.

This is Kiss live much in the same vein as their current “Off the Soundboard” series in that there are no touchups, it is as you heard it when it happened and in this case as it was on the radio broadcast. The first 9 songs on this 10 song set are in order of the original setlist and it isn’t until the 10th song that it jumps ahead a number songs and plays one more. Basically, it is the first half of the show.

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Kiss – ‘Off the Soundboard: Live in Virginia Beach July 25, 2004’ – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

Kiss has finally realized they can make money on live Bootleg type albums just like everyone else has been doing out in the will. They are finally releasing their own Bootleg Series called “Off the Soundboard”. First up for them was the show from Tokyo 2001 which had Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Eric Singer. This time around they are going with the line-up of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer. The show is Virginia Beach from July 25, 2004. This tour was the Rock the Nation Tour and one I didn’t see.

When I saw this was being released, I was excited at first as there were a handful of songs that haven’t been on all the tours so it is always great to get live versions when you can. The ones I was excited about were “Unholy”, “King of the Night Time World”, “Got to Choose” and “I Want You”. Their previous release was absolutely perfect. This one turns out, not so much…at least to me. They did maintain the same bootleg feel to the packaging as it is real simple cardboard box feel with stamped looking markings like the bootlegs of old. I do love the simplicity (even if it is a little flimsy).

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