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 – 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 – “Rocket Ride” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #140 and the final of this 10 song run of Kiss songs, we are discussing “Rocket Ride” by Kiss.  The song is one of the five original songs on the classic live album Kiss Alive II.  For the second live album, Kiss stepped it up a notch and added some original songs to give the album that extra boost.  The song reached #39 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the band’s seventh song to make it to the Top 40 charts.

The song was written by Ace Frehley and Sean Delaney.  Sean, if you don’t know, worked with Kiss back in the day and was crucial in Kiss becoming Kiss.  He pushed Bill Aucoin to go see the band and then Bill became the manager.  Sean became their road manager and was critical in the development of the band’s onstage choreography and even co-wrote many famous Kiss songs.  He is a big part of the  band’s Kisstory!!

This is the only song of the five that Ace actually appeared on as Bob Kulick was brought in to play the guitar on all the other songs.  Ace and Peter are the only Kiss members to appear on this track in return.  Peter of course on the drums and Ace played all the guitar and bass parts.

The song opens with some electrifying guitar riffs delivered by the master himself.  It speeds by with a blistering pace and Ace truly nails the vocals.  The song is fun, rocking and delivers everything you want in a Kiss song including a stellar solo.  Peter keeps the beats coming with some nice little fills and the two are great together. The guitar riff at the end along with the explosiveness of Peter’s drumming ends the song perfectly and goes out the same way it came in  with bang.

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My Sunday Song – “Black Diamond” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #131 and for the next 10 songs, we are celebrating the songs of Kiss!!  Now that Kiss has started their Farewell Tour, I thought I would honor some of my favorite Kiss songs.  There will be No “Beth”, No “Detroit Rock City” & NO “ROCK & ROLL ALL NITE”!!!  Sorry, not my favorites..,well Detroit is one but too obvious a choice.  We will start it off with “Black Diamond” from the debut album ‘Kiss’.

Black Diamond was written by Paul Stanley and it was about New York as were a lot of their songs. This one was on the seedy side of it at least.  It is about street hookers and the queen of them all, the Black Diamond.  Stanley has been quoted as saying this was partially inspired by the Rolling Stones classic “Brown Sugar”.

Lyrically there is not much there, but musically…Damn!!  What a way to close out your debut album.  The song kicks off with Paul Stanley on vocals for the first verse while playing an acoustic guitar.  He screams “HIT IT!!” and all hell breaks loose.  Peter Criss takes over vocals and the song kicks in to full gear with his pounding drums, Gene Simmons’ thumping bass and Ace Frehley’s frenzied guitar.

The guitar solo is top notch and I love how it ends with the heavy ass bass sound with the ominous sounding drums as it gets slower and slower and then fades out.  It is amazing how so few lyrics can turn into a song over 5 minutes long and when the play it live it is even longer…live is a whole other story.  Don’t get me started on how great this song is live.  They used to close their live shows with this one a lot.

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Gene Simmons – ‘Kiss and Make-Up’ – Book Review

I was walking through an Antique Mall as my daughter had found another great place to buy used vinyl.  We came to a booth that didn’t have a ton of books, but there was one book there that immediately caught my eye.  It was the Gene Simmons’ autobiography called “Kiss and Make-Up”.  I had not read yet, so I grabbed it.  And at only $5, it was a steal.

And what did I think?  It was okay.  It was an easy read, but there was really nothing surprising or earth shattering.  I did forget he dated Diana Ross, but I knew about Cher so no shocker.  I had forgotten about some of the movies he did, but not ‘Runaway’ as I loved that one.

It was interesting to read about his childhood as it did explain a lot about who he is and why he is the way he is.  Gene is definitely full of himself and you know what, that is okay.  He knows it and I was worried I would like him even less after reading this, but I didn’t. I actually like a little more.  I feel I understand him a little more.

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Tuesday’s Memes – Kiss (Part 2)

I have been posting these collections for over a year now and now it is time to do a Part 2 for the Hottest Band in the Land…KISS!!  Also, because there are a lot of good memes for them I couldn’t resist doing another…and because I am running out of bands that have at least 10 good memes.  I will come up with more, somehow…maybe I will have to makeup my own…scary thought!!

So, here is Part 2 and be warned…the very last one is one of the most crude and disgusting memes I have ever posted and I hope you aren’t too offended because I am actually a little.  I about lost my lunch when I found that one that I had to post it…Enjoy!!

I think I ignored Peter the last time around, but not this time…

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Kiss – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” (The 45 Single)

Disco era Kiss!  Does it get any better than that??  Well, yes it actually does.  Nonetheless, it was still Kiss and still awesome.  I was out at my favorite little record spot and came across a 7″ single of Kiss and of course I had to have it.  It was the 1979 single off the Dynasty album called “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”.

The single was only the band’s second Gold single and it went on to sell over a 1 million copies so needless to say, it was a hit.  Which proved Gene and Paul correct that during the Disco era, anyone could write a disco song.  Speaking of writing, this was the first time Kiss co-wrote a song with Desmond Child and it wouldn’t be the last.  It was also Desmond’s first hit he ever had.  The song was also written by Paul Stanley and Vini Poncia who played piano on the song and did backing vocals.

The really isn’t much to talk about in regards to the song.  Think disco and you know what the song sounds like.  You can get up and dance to it and sing along to the catchy, pop chorus.  It is simple.  One thing I guess I can talk about is that wikipedia has the 7″ single listed at 4:01, but my version has it at 3:57 which might not seem like a lot, but that is a big difference.  The song is already cut down from the album version which was at 4:30.  Not sure if I have a different version or wikipedia is just wrong.

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“Nothin’ To Lose: The Making of Kiss 1972-1975” by Ken Sharp, Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley – Book Review

I try to read at least one book a month and for July it was “Nothin’ to Lose: The Making of KISS 1972-1975” by Ken Sharp, Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley.  All thanks to a Amazon running a $2.99 special for the Kindle.  That is exactly how I read Paul Stanley’s autobiography for only $2.99.

As a KISS fan this was a really a no brainer to read.  I knew a bunch of the stories, but not everything.  As a side note, I found a way to enhance the experience of reading this book.  If you have Kissology DVD series, you can watch the shows they are talking about in the book.  You definitely need the 1st series which covers 1974-1977.  You also need Volume 3 which contains the much talked about Queens, NY Coventry Show from December, 1973 the band’s first ever concert filmed in make up in its entirety.  When you add this to your reading, it truly enhances the whole experience.

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