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.
Right after the Creatures of the Night Tour, the band went back in to the studio to complete the follow-up album. Michael James Jackson would stay on board as the producer as the sound he got on “Creatures” was amazing and the band wanted to continue that harder sound. Vinnie Vincent was now an official member of the band as he was on the cover. However, he actually wasn’t an “official member of the band” as he never signed his contract which became an extreme soar spot with Vinnie and the band which we will discuss a little later on in our story.
The ‘Lick it Up’ album, which came out on September 23, 1983, garnered way more attention than ‘Creatures’ for one main reason. The band finally took off the make-up which is something they had been talking about doing since at least the ‘Music from the Elder’ era. They finally did it and the big reveal was on MTV during primetime. I remember this vividly as this was event TV for me as I was a lifelong Kiss fan at the time (and still am today). I remember seeing each member in make-up and then without and I remember thinking, “PUT IT BACK ON!!! OOOOH THE HORROR!!!” No, it really wasn’t that bad. It was actually pretty cool. And just like that Kiss was back in the public eye and they had some songs that could back it up.
The second review in the series is for a bootleg of the 1988 tour of Crazy Nights. And of course, this is another tour that I saw. This one was recorded on April 18th, 1988 at the Castle Hall in Osaka, Japan. Now, I saw the tour on February 10th at the Omni in Atlanta, GA. At my show they only played 13 songs. They played those same 13 songs in Japan plus 6 more tracks. Yes, just like the Japanese Edition of CDs, Japan gets extra tracks during live shows as well.
Now the packaging for this release is not quite as nice as the first review. It is a double LP, but not a gatefold.
There is no pictures or posters included, but it is a colored vinyl. It is a pretty white with a white label on one and a black label on the other.
We are now to the end of the “My First Time” series. I ended up skipping it in November as their were too many new albums to review, plus I just wasn’t in the mood, That got me thinking. I don’t like being tied down to a specific album or theme. I want to review albums whenever I am in the mood to do it. Doing this series, limited me a little so I figured I would do one more and then just start reviewing any album, any time…no theme.
I figured if it was going to be my last, it needed to be something special. For me, that means Kiss!! The “My First Time” series is about the FIRST album I bought from a band. Believe it or not, that album is ‘Lick It Up’ by Kiss. A couple of my brothers were huge fans and had all their albums, but I had never bought one. That changed with the excitement of this release.
What was all the excitement about this album? Well, I am glad you asked. Kiss sales had been in the decline. Even with the stellar album ‘Creatures of the Night’ (one of their best), Kiss needed to do something to shake things up. So they did just that. They removed the make-up. It was such a big deal, MTV held a special for the band to reveal themselves without make-up. They also introduced the video for their first single, “Lick It Up”. Here is the MTV special reveal…