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.
A couple weeks ago we talked through the Kiss 7″ Single for “Beth”. I know, I know…the Kiss Review Series will never die as I’ll always keep finding stuff to show off. Now, I found another one of their singles and this one is from their 1977 album ‘Love Gun’. It is “Christine Sixteen” and the song features Gene Simmons on the lead vocals. As far as chart success, it went all the way to #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not bad!
I say not bad because of the subject matter of the song, a lot of stations wouldn’t play it or would only play it after 7pm as if that made it any better. The basis of the song is about an older man infatuated with a girl of the tender age of 16. That wouldn’t fly at all today, but back then, it wasn’t terrible or unforgivable, merely frowned upon I would say based on the fact it still sold like hotcakes. Imagine the chart position if all the stations played it any time of day.
My version is the standard U.S. version, with no picture sleeve. It has the standard Casablanca/Filmworks sleeve which is pretty basic. The B-Side of the song might actually be better than the A-Side is it is Ace Frehley’s song “Shock Me”. More on that later. First let’s discuss the A-Side.
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.
We are finally to the end of the Kiss Review Series. And like I like to do at the end of each series is Rank the Studio Albums from Worst to First and we aren’t going to do it any differently here. There are 24 Studio albums and since there are so many, I am keeping the summaries brief and no videos as I usually like to post a video with each album, but just way too many to do this time around.
Kiss began in 1973 and are still around today, but the last studio album was in 2012. It started with the original four – Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. Then came Eric Carr who replaced Peter Criss; then Vinnie Vincent who replaced Ace Frehley; then Mark St. John to replace Vinnie and then Bruce Kulick replaced Mark; and it continues with Eric Singer replacing Eric Carr after his death and then Peter & Ace came back in and out after the reunion and then finally Tommy Thayer replaced Ace for good. Lots of changes, but Gene and Paul are always the consistent formula that has kept Kiss “Alive” all these years. For the diehard fan, remember, this is my opinion and your favorites are probably going to be different, but it is okay as we both love Kiss. For the newbie, this is a good guideline on where to focus.
Now, if the band ever decides to do another Studio album, I will gladly come back and update this, but it doesn’t look like that will ever happen. If you want to check out the review of each album in detail, there are links at the bottom to all the reviews in the series and there were only 72 of them!! It took me almost 14 months to get through them all and it is still the most fun I have had on the site.
Thanks for spending all this time with me going through the Kiss catalog and my Kiss collection. I hope you enjoyed it. Enough chit chat as there is a lot to get through so sit back, grab a coffee or a beer and enjoy!!
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.
Kiss were flying high. Their popularity was growing by leaps and bounds and so much so that they were voted the most popular band in the U.S. beating the likes of some other famous bands maybe you’ve heard of them…Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. Nah, I didn’t think so. They appeared in their first comic book, “Howard the Duck #12: “Mind-Mush!” (May 1977)’ and later that year they had their own comic book with “A Marvel Comics Super Special #1: A Marvel Comics Super Special!: Kiss (1977). For this, they used their own blood to mix in with the ink. They were becoming the merchandising kings they are still today.
With that popularity needs to come new music and 6 months after the release of ‘Rock And Roll Over’, the band was back in the studio to record their 6th studio album. The band brought back Eddie Kramer to produce and man the boards in hopes to maintain the direction that ‘Rock And Roll Over’ was taking them. And on June 30, 1977, the album came out and immediately went platinum with sales over 1 million.
The album became the first studio album to feature all 4 band members singing a song as Mr. Ace Frehley finally sang a song and what a beast of song it was. And another interesting fact, this is the last album to feature Peter Criss on all the songs. What does that mean? That means that the next two studio albums (not including the solo albums), Peter doesn’t play all the drums, in fact, very few of them. All this despite the fact he is prominently featured on the cover of the album and still tours. We will touch more on that fact in future posts. The band was still in tact with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. That still wouldn’t change for a couple years. Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Love Gun’ (1977) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”→
For My Sunday Song #133, we are tackling one of my favorite Ace songs from Kiss called “Shock Me”. It was off the 1977 album, ‘Love Gun’ and it was actually the first song Ace had the lead vocals on. He had written other songs, but never sang. Ace intended for Gene to sing, but Gene pushed it back and encouraged Ace to sing this one. And thankfully that happened as it was a showcase for Ace during their live shows.
On December 12, 1976, Kiss was in concert in Lakeland, Florida when Ace touched a railing that had not been properly grounded and let’s say he got the shock of his life. That incident was the inspiration for the song even though that is not what the song is about. The song is about one of Kiss’ favorite subjects. Nope, not rock & roll, but sex. That is right, sex. I know!! You are surprised and you can’t believe it, but it is the truth.
Now Ace doesn’t have the best voice, but he has a great rock voice. It is a little gritty and dirty and it is rough just like rock should be. If you want a pretty voice, go listen to pop music. I believe I read that Ace recorded this by lying down on the ground. I don’t know if that is true, but that does sound like something he would do.
This month for “My First Time”, I am going to go back to the first Ted Nugent album I ever owned which was ‘Cat Scratch Fever’. The album is Ted’s third solo album and was released May 13, 1977 just a hair over 40 years ago. I was around 9 years old at the time. No, I didn’t buy it then. It wasn’t until some time in the 80’s when I finally picked it up.
The album has sold well over 3 million copies and peaked at #17 on the Billboard charts. Ted and company were riding high though not actually high as Ted is a staunch advocate against drugs and alcohol.
The original Ted Nugent band was back together after Meat Loaf was brought in for some of the songs on their last album ‘Free For All’. However, this would be the last studio album with the original band as Rob Grange would leave before the next studio album ‘Weekend Warriors’. The band consisted of the following members: