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).
I’m always out searching for Kiss music that I don’t have on vinyl and right now that is mostly singles. The latest time I was out digging, I came across a 7″ Single for the song “Beth” off their 1976 classic ‘Destroyer’. The original single for this album was “Detroit Rock City” as the A-Side and “Beth” as the B-Side. When that went out to the radio stations, the DJ’s ended playing “Beth” which quickly became the most requested songs on a lot of stations.
After that, the decision was made to reissue the single with “Beth” as the A-Side and “Detroit Rock City” as the B-Side. That is the copy I have. It was released in August 1976. Now, my version I found doesn’t have a picture sleeve as shown as the header. I used that to make the post more enticing. My version actually just came in a plain white sleeve but the original at least would’ve had the Casablanca Sleeve that would’ve looked something like the above picture…If I find any singles out there with that sleeve I will buy it (regardless if it is Kiss or not just so I have the correct one).
I was out a Record Show and I found a table that had a lot of Kiss memorabilia but nothing much I really wanted as I generally stick to the music. I did find something I didn’t realize existed and that was Kiss Blu-Ray Bootlegs. This guy was selling a lot of them. I came back to the table and looked again and decided, you know, I want to try it out. When he then offered that I could get two for $15, I jumped at the chance. $15 was worth the risk. So I grabbed one from the End of the Road tour and one from the 40th Anniversary Tour as I saw both those tours, just not these shows.
So, first up we are going to go the most recent which is the End of the Road Tour and this show was filmed at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA on February 4th, 2020 just a month before COVID shut the whole touring scene down. Kiss was a full year in to the tour at this point and in fine form.
I have to say the video quality is much better than I expected. It is supposed to be a Pro-Shot video and although some of the camera angles sucked at times as they got washed out with the colors in the lights, overall it was pretty cool. The shots from the front of the stage were perfectly clear and killer you still got some shots that were muted by the lights some blurriness as the cameras couldn’t focus fast enough. But for $7.50 a piece, pretty darn acceptable.
I have been a huge Ace Frehley fan since I was probably 8 years old. He was my very first guitar hero. I had only seen him play with Kiss and I have never seen him love as just Ace Frehley. When I saw he was opening for Alice Cooper, I couldn’t click the purchase ticket button fast enough. This was also the first concert I had attended since Covid began around 19 months ago so it was even more exciting.
The concert began at 7:30pm on October 7, 2021. We arrived in plenty of time because I was damn well sure going to make it to see the opening act, because, well, as was the opening act. We stand in line to get stamped with proof of vaccination (or proof of negative covid test) and then go in line again to go through the metal detector and all good so far. I don’t know why I said “so far”, because we ran in to ZERO issues all night. It was supposed to rain…None! The weather was a little chilly, but felt great. We hit the restrooms (TMI) and then went and bought some bottled water…except…they don’t sell bottled water anymore…WHAT!!! Nope. It is now in a can…huh???
Yes, they sell water in a can now so I guess non-drinkers don’t get harassed for not drinking as it looks like a beer can. I have to admit, it looks pretty damn cool for water. We then hit the merch table and there were a ton of Alice stuff and only a little Ace, but I saw Alice 3 years ago almost to the day, so I went with the Ace Shirt. They were already out of XL size, so I went 2XL and I hope it shrinks…
I know what you are thinking. Why do we need another Kiss Greatest Hits compilation? Honestly, we really don’t. We have tons already and there is nothing new on here that the real fan doesn’t already have. So Why? Well, easy. Kiss was touring their End of the Road tour and they wanted product out there that the casual fan or new fan that they get from all the press can run out and grab. Simple!
But is this something worth getting? As a casual fan…Maybe, but maybe not as well as there are better compilations out there. As the Hard Core Fan….Well, I did buy it if that tells you anything. I had to buy it because I didn’t have it in my ever growing collection. Plus, it is so pretty. Yes, pretty. I bought the Special Edition double LP with Yellow/Red Splatter vinyl.
The packaging is a gatefold with the Group photo on the front and the track listing on the back such as below…
Believe it or not, Kiss released yet another live album and not a studio album. It is a sad commentary on the Kiss World at this time. And to this day, it still doesn’t look like a studio album is coming. But this is no ordinary live album…or is it? Kiss took a break from their killer 40th Anniversary World Tour and spent some time at a residency in Las Vegas…I mean who doesn’t nowadays. From November 5-23 of 2014, Kiss held up shop at the Hard Rock Hotel And Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer gave us the Kiss spectacle night after night in all its glory. The DVD set was released on August 26, 2016 almost two years later and not sure why the delay in getting it out.
And this package is a beautiful set and gives you everything you want. You get a DVD of the show in Full Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, you get a bonus acoustic set and then you get the show on CD of the same songs (less the acoustic). If you want the acoustic on CD you need to get the Japanese version…of course…and of course Ladano has that one if you want to here his take on it. You also get a booklet with tons of pictures from the band.
Finally!! Kiss decided to release another live album and this one is ‘Alive III’ which was 17 years after their last release. Now they did release a live video, but this is the first album since ‘Alive II’ in 1977. The band recorded the album during the Revenge Tour in 1992 and used the recordings from the Cleveland, Detroit and Indianapolis stops of the tour. This is also the first live album of the Non-Makeup era and the first to not have the original Kiss line-up. The line-up is of course Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, but now it is Eric Singer on Drums and still Bruce Kulick on guitar. Oh yeah, and off to the side of the stage on keyboards is Derek Sherinian who toured with the band at this time since they added keyboards to a lot of the late 80’s songs.
Before we get to the music, let’s talk the packaging. We get a 2 LP set in a beautiful Gatefold cover. One side of the Gatefold has a really cool Kiss Family Tree. Although hard to read at times, it is a cool tracing back of where all the Kiss members, current and past, come from in their musical careers.
On the flip side of the Gatefold, you get the track listing and all the tour credits as well as some band pictures and a little note from the band.
Kiss were plugging along and everything is still right in the world. In 1988, as they were preparing for their Tour of Japan, the label and the band decided to release a greatest hits compilation. The CD was issued on May 25, 1988 and was limited to only 100,000 copies and only released in Japan. The was the 2nd greatest hits package to not be issued in the U.S., the first being 1982’s ‘Killers’. For that fact, this is a hot collector’s item for Kiss collectors and I didn’t even know about it until years after its release and I still don’t have a physical copy of this release (but I will get one someday).
The Japanese character on the back of the case and on the CD might look familiar. It is the same symbol that was on the bottom of the cover art for the band’s 1974 album, ‘Hotter Than Hell’. Eric Carr also used that symbol on his drum kits for quite some time. Chikara is the Japanese word for Power if you are interested in knowing that fact. And when you are looking to buy this CD on ebay or somewhere, the prize to get is the OBI strip with all the Japanese writing. A lot of the ones I’ve seen out there don’t have that strip anymore.
Welcome back to the Kiss Review Series. Today we are doing another bonus edition. As I am going through the band’s releases, I am going to throw in different items from my collection that aren’t part of the band’s normal album releases. Singles, promos or whatever I can come up with.
Since we just talked ‘Destroyer’ in the last album review, these last two posts are specifically related to that album. The first was the 45 Single of the song “Flaming Youth”. This one is a Special Promo promoting their Tour in support of ‘Destroyer’. Now, I am cheating here again as I wrote a review on this years ago, so I am redoing it here so it is now a part of the Kiss Review Series. I hope you like it.
In the further adventures of my box full of vinyl, there was yet another Kiss collectible included that I cherish deeply. It was a 33 1/3 Vinyl Single in support of their tour for the 1976 Destroyer Tour. I believe the album was released to radio stations for promo and not available for resale. I actually know it was not available for resale because it says it on the Label of the album.
The album jacket actually says “Not For Resale”, but has been removed from my cover…very strange. The person that removed it was very careful and didn’t cut fully through the front cover…see below.
With the success of ‘Alive!’, Kiss was saved and in turn, so was their record label Casablanca. With that new success, the band signed a brand new contract with Casablanca after the band’s manager had threatened to walk. This time though, Kiss was only given a two album deal which really isn’t a very long contract in those times and showed that maybe the label didn’t have much faith the band would have continued success.
While the band was touring the album ‘Alive!’, they started rehearsing for the new album. Their success was able to land them a high-end producer in the likes of Bob Ezrin. His success with Alice Cooper had garnered him some notoriety and was going to take Kiss in a whole new direction. Thankfully, the band was still in tact with Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons.