Kiss – The Box Set – Album Review (Part 1 of 6)

I didn’t buy this when it originally came out as I was not a in a good music place at the time.  My music buying was limited.  So, now that I wanted it, I had to search for it, find one in good condition and find it at the right price as some of the prices were RIDICULOUS!!!

Lo and behold, I was at a record show here in Charlotte and a guy had one for sale.  Actually, he had two.  One was in the guitar case, CDs still sealed and had the hard back book, but I didn’t want to spend that much dough, when I could get this version for a fraction of the price. Plus, I wasn’t paying a premium for sealed CDs as the seal doesn’t last long on my collection. I listen to my music.  As much as I want the guitar case version, my wallet decided this was the better way to go. Sometimes my wallet is smart and other times, he wants to spend, spend, spend.

The Box Set by Kiss was released on November 20th, 2001 and consists of 5 CDs spanning their entire career (up to that point) and a paperback photo book which we will get to in a minute.  I will review all 5 CDs individually over 5 different posts over the next couple of months.  For now, we will talk about the overall box set and the packaging.

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The CD’s span different eras of the band and there are 5 discs full of music.  The Box Set includes 94 tracks,  which consists of 30 previously unreleased band and solo demos as well as outtakes and live recordings.  The other 64 tracks are songs selected from each of the band’s albums except for Gene’s solo.  From that one you get a demo.

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That is a lot of stuff.  Here are the discs…

Disc One: 1966-1975

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Disc Two: 1975-1977

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Disc Three: 1976-1982

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Disc Four: 1983-1992

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Disc Five: 1992-1999:

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PHOTOBOOK:

You also get a 120-page color booklet that contains track-by-track commentary by the band, detailed track information, photos and essays.  I loved the commentary and getting all the tidbits of information on the songs.  The pictures are stunning and the book is really high quality as it is with everything the band does.

Here are some pictures…

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I had to have my daughter hold it open to take the pictures as the book hadn’t really been viewed and was nice and stiff.  I was able to edit out her fingers.

The package comes in a nice box with a red velvet insert to hold the disc.  It is really a nice little set up.

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And then on the spine of the box, the Kiss logo is in engraved into the fabric for a nice shiny feel.  You can feel the grooves.

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For the packaging and the photobook, I will give the set a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars.  It is what you would expect from a Kiss Box Set. Now for the music, I will review over the next 5 posts and rate each disc separately and then a final Overall Score on the last post.  There will be 6 parts overall (this is part 1) to this series and I hope you enjoy them all as much as I will going through them.  Thanks for stopping by and until next time, have a great day!

 

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Kiss – ‘Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

We are on the final Bootleg in the series.  Okay, at the least the final for now. This is the last of what I have currently in my Kiss collection.  I will get more and when I do, I will come back and add to the collection so fear not, it isn’t really over…just slowed down immensely.

This release is on CD and is called ‘Hotter Than Hell’ and is labeled as a Radio Broadcast from 1976.  No other information on the insert or anywhere to really give you any more tidbits. So, I had to dig and the internet is a wonderful thing.

The setlist is not from 1976.  The setlist is from the Rock & Roll Over Tour in 1977 and they are in Detroit so this in Cabo Hall as Paul mentions Detroit and it being the last night. Well, in 1977, they played 3 shows at Cabo so this is the September 29, 1977 show and the setlist matches exactly…almost as the 3 encore songs are missing.

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Now that isn’t the only error on the disc.  There is another glaring one.  Take a look at the line-up on the back cover.  The line-up is right, but when did Peter and Ace change instruments.  This has Peter on guitar and Ace on drums…awesome!!!

There are no more pictures of the insert because the back cover and the insert are the same picture so nothing new to show.  For that, it is time to get to the music and the sound.

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The sound of the show is actually pretty great.  It is a radio broadcast, so you know it is going to be decent.  It is the band live and untouched so there are issues but it is how you would have heard it if you were there and for that it is fantastic.

There are three things wrong with the disc.  One, the opening track Detroit Rock City does not start at the beginning of the song.  The song is already in full gear when the disc starts as if someone forgot to hit the record button when they were supposed to hit it.  The second thing is that when the track # changes, there is a pause between each track which disrupts the flow of the show.  And the final thing is the album is missing the three encore songs that were played at the show so it is not a full set.  It is missing “Shout It Out Loud”, “Beth” and “Black Diamond”.

What did they get right?  Well, look at that set list.  It is pretty fantastic.  I am digging “Take Me”, “Ladies Room”,  “Makin’ Love”, “I Want You” and “Do You Love Me”.  The rest are normal songs on almost every set list so it is these songs that I enjoy the most.  Another thing is Paul’s vocals and his banter is awesome. He is so much better at this point in the band. He has found his comfort zone and he shows why he is one of the greatest frontman of any band.

What else is great?  Well, the solos.  All of them.  Peter’s is great, Ace’s is even better! Ace’s solo at the end of “Cold Gin” was one of the best I have heard from him.  Back when he could play.  I don’t think there was anything shooting from the guitar.  It was his fingers moving 100mph and it sounded like nothing I had heard on any of the other bootlegs.  He just played his ass off and he was stunning!! (or was it Peter, haha).

Peter’s drum solo comes at the end of “God of Thunder” and Peter drives it home with some tremendous kick drumming and beating the hell out of the Toms, snare and cymbals.  He was on the prowl that night and the Cat Man was feasting on those drums.  It was a great way to go in to “Rock & Roll All Nite” and end the show.  This was Kiss in their prime and it shows.  You can’t go wrong with this one at all!!

Yes, there are some problems with it, but the good outweigh the bad on this one and for that it gets a 4.0 out 5.0 Stars.  Hell, the Ace solo alone is worth it.  This is another one that will get played quite often.  It is a great set list and the sound is pretty great as well.  Definitely worth grabbing if you see this one out.

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)
  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)

Kiss – All The Way At The Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

This piece of Kiss Bootleg I found at my local independent record store called Lunchbox Records.  It is Kiss from February 7th, 1995 and was recorded at the Hilton Hotel Ballroom in Melbourne, Australia while they were down under on tour.  The album is an acoustic show and this is a collection of outtakes from that show.

The line-up is Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of course and since this is pre-reunion, it also includes Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer.  A great non-makeup lineup.  The band sounds great and even Paul is singing his heart out.  The recording I believe is an audience recording only due to the loudness of the crowd, but let me tell you it sounds freaking awesome.

The crowd is really in to and at times it feels like a campfire singalong.  The band is definitely enjoying themselves as they are interacting with the crowd and seem to be having a blast.

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The set is a single LP and includes a full size poster in with the album. The picture is of the front cover so not something different from what you already see…

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Kiss – The End of the Road Tour – Concert Review (Charlotte, NC August 10, 2019)

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming of Tuesday’s Memes to bring you this special announcement…

August 10th, 2019, Kiss bid farewell to the city of Charlotte, NC.  The End of the rode made a stop on a beautifully, hot night and a venue that holds 19,500 people was pretty freaking packed!!  If it wasn’t sold out, it wasn’t by much.  The place was filled with young and old alike and the costumes and make-up were a plenty including leather pants so tight, I don’t know how the women got them on (or off for that matter).

My first show was December 26, 1983 and August 10, 2019 was my last.  That is according to Kiss as this is the Farewell Tour or so they say.  I tried to drag my kids to it, but in the end, my oldest was the only one to go so I let her bring a friend.  My youngest has a few issues with noise sensitivity and after the show, I realized, she was probably right not to go as it would have been too much for her as the explosions and music were pretty darn loud.  Hell, my ears are still ringing a little this morning as I type.

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With tickets in hand, we found our seats and were ready to see “The Hottest Band in the Land…KISS”

But first, we had to sit through the opening act.  No, not a rock band.  Nope, not a comedian either.  We got the great pleasure of having David Girabaldi doing some performance art…painting.  What?  Painting is a performance art?  I was not aware of this.  David is immensely talented and whipped through 3 paintings in about 30 minutes. He did one of Jon Bon Jovi, while their music played.  His final one was of Kiss which was raffled off with proceeds going to Make a Wish Foundation which is cool.  The 2nd painting was of Ozzy!!  And it was really great…heck…they all were. The problem was it was so boring and unexciting.  The crowd liked it somewhat, I thought it sucked.  I would have liked a band to play, a young up & coming band or someone that had toured with Kiss before…Actually, Bruce Kulick’s band would have be the bomb!!

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Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

We are on Vinyl #7 and the Final Vinyl from my trip to Paris.  Man, what a collection of bootlegs I picked up and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  I have been enjoying them immensely and they were well worth the money despite what my wife says!

The final vinyl in the collection is from the Epicenter in Fontana, CA on September 25th, 2010 on the bands The Hottest Show on Earth Tour.  The album actually says it is at the Auto Club Speedway, but they even say Epicenter in the show.  So that ain’t right.

This particular bootleg was made in Japan and even has the awesome Japanese obi strip on the album cover as you see on the above picture.  And the back of the strip is some more pictures of the band.

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And the back cover is pretty awesome as well as it has a great stage shot of the menacing Demon himself, Gene Simmons.

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Kiss – North Hampton, PA March 19 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

The next in the Kiss Bootleg Series is a show from March 19th in 1975 on the Dressed to Kill Tour.  The show was at the Roxy Theatre in Northampton, Pennsylvania and is actually opening night of the Tour.

As usual, we will start with the packaging and what this bootleg has to offer.  First, it is a double LP, however, they skimped and there is no Gatefold to be had.  It is actually a pretty flimsy album jacket and I don’t think it will hold up over time.  The back cover is another live shot of the band but you can’t see anyone’s face.  Not the best choice for a picture.

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The album came with a couple surprises. The first being a collection of Kiss photographs from an L.A. photoshoot at the Playboy Club Rooftop on January 16th, 1974.  The photos came in a nice little mailer as seen below…

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Kiss – ‘The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out!’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

And now we are on the third Kiss Bootleg I picked up in Paris.  This one is a beauty.  It is called “Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out!”.  The package is fantastic on this release as you get a beautiful gatefold, some awesome pictures on the vinyl sleeves and some colorful vinyl.

The show is at the Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, NJ on July 10th, 1976.  It is a full soundboard recording (and I believe this show was videotaped as well and circulating).  You get 15 tracks plus 3 solos, so yes, a full show.  Before we get in to the music, as always, let’s go over the packaging.  You’ve seen the cover above, now take a look at the back cover.  It is a picture of the band on motorcycles.  I really cool shot!

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And It is a 2LP set and they did it right with a gatefold.  The full picture on the gatefold is a shot of the stage with all the band and the Kiss Logo!!  Okay, Peter is  little blurred by the smoke…lots of smoke.

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My Sunday Song – “God of Thunder” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #139, “God of Thunder” by Kiss is our menacing topic.  The song is off the band’s 1976 classic ‘Destroyer’.  Kiss was flying high at this point and unstoppable.  “God of Thunder” became Gene’s theme song and is the point in the live show that saw Gene spit his blood and perform his bass solo.  It was always awesome.

The song was written by Paul Stanley and he had all intentions of singing it.  Producer, Bob Ezrin thought differently.  He recommended slowing the song down and letting Gene sing the song.  The slow, almost nightmarish beat of the song fit Gene’s personae perfectly.

The song kicks off with a couple children saying…”Okay, ya’ll can start singing”.  Those kids were heard throughout the song screaming and making all kinds of noises during the song.  Those kids were David and Josh Ezrin, the producer’s kids.  There were so many sound effects added to it to give that eerie feeling.  Even Ace’s guitar work was done in a way to add more of a darkness feel to the song.

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My Sunday Song – “Danger” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #137, we are going to ‘Creatures of the Night’ album and the song “Danger” from 1982.  This album didn’t do that well for the band and the tour did even worse.  Kiss was in turmoil at the time and the band seemed doomed to be at their end.  The album eventually did go Gold, but at the time was a failure.  Now, it is actually regarded to some as one of their best albums…and I would be in that group.

“Danger” was written by Paul Stanley and Adam Mitchell as the band had been using outsider writers for some time now.  Paul had lead vocal duties and Eric Carr was on drums.  But those were the only 2 official Kiss members on the song.  It was thought for a long time that Bob Kulick played lead guitar, but it was actually Vinnie Vincent who was not yet a full-fledge member of Kiss.  Ace, technically, still had that role although he didn’t play on the album.  He did get credited with playing and his picture is on the cover.

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And if that wasn’t enough, Gene doesn’t play bass on this one either.  The bass player was Jimmy Haslip from the jazz fusion group The Yellowjackets.  Gene apparently was too distraught over his break-up with Diana Ross to play.

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My Sunday Song – “No, No, No” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #136, We are going to talk about the 80’s classic “No, No, No” off the 1987 album ‘Crazy Nights” and the B-Side of their first single “Crazy, Crazy Nights”.  ‘Crazy Nights’ was a platinum selling album and might be considered as one of the bands weaker albums in some circles as they were chasing the trend at this point rather than creating it.

The song was originally titled “Assume the Position” (get your mind out of the gutter…because I am sure that is where their mind was with that title) and later it was called “Down on All Fours” (hmmm…I think their mind is still in the gutter).  The song was originally written off a riff by Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr put his stamp on it as well.  It was later handed over to Gene Simmons for completion.

The song opens with a blistering, solo by Bruce.  It is fast and ferocious and shows why he is so highly regarded as one of the best Kiss Guitarists!!  The drums are heavy thanks to the late, great Eric Carr and Gene finally has a decent song as over the last few albums, his weren’t always so stellar.  Well, really this is great mostly because of Bruce, but we won’t tell Gene that as we don’t want to hurt his fragile little ego.

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