Kiss – “Off the Soundboard: Tokyo 2001” (2021) – Album Review ( The Kiss Review Series)

After over a year of reviewing everything Kiss and pretty much everything in my collection, we are finally to very last Kiss record in the collection…I am sure it won’t be the last as they will release more over the years to come and I will add them to the series. For now, this is it though. Kiss has finally realized they can make money on these Kiss Bootlegs that are out in the wild by finally releasing their own Bootleg Series called “Off the Soundboard”. First up for them is the show from Tokyo 2001 which is a short era of the band that has little to no representation anywhere else. It was with the line up of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, of course, but also features Eric Singer on drums and Ace Frehley on lead guitar. This line-up was only around a very short time right after the first Farewell Tour that was really a farewell to Peter. And it is this line-up that is the major selling point which is why they highlighted it on the front cover.

The album came out last month on June 11, 2021 and it is great to go out on the Review Series with a new release, but do note, I would’ve bought it no matter what. The packaging is really fantastic and yet very simple. Kiss brilliantly gave the set a look like it was really a bootleg. It looks like cheap cardboard box with everything just stamped on to the box. It looks cheap and yet it is that cheapness that is the brilliance. The vinyl are on a white label that looks like the info was also stamped and typed on to it which gives it even more of a bootleg feel. If it is going to be an official bootleg, make it look like one and they did. I hope this is the beginning of a lot of great shows that are out there in the bootleg world and yet we will get a cleaned up mix with some great sound and this one is a perfect start.

The show for this release was on March 13, 2001 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. This was actually part of the Farewell Tour and really close to the end. As I mentioned earlier, by the time this show was done, Peter was gone and Eric Singer was brought in. This set list is impressive. It contains 21 songs and includes all the solos, the great Paul Stanley banter and all mistakes which is exactly what you want from a bootleg. The show is over 2 hours long and does cover 3 LPs. Kiss didn’t skimp on this release in the least.

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Kiss – ‘Kissworld: The Best of Kiss’ (2017) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

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.

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The packaging is a gatefold with the Group photo on the front and the track listing on the back such as below…

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Kiss – ‘Kiss Rocks Vegas’ (2016) – DVD Review (The Kiss Review Series)

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.

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Kiss – ‘The Casablanca Singles 1974–1982’ (2012) – Box Set Review (The Kiss Review Series – Bonus Edition)

This time around, we have a little bonus edition for you. There is no dramatic story behind this release, it is simple a way to give the fans something kind of cool and the band a little more money. There are no new songs or remixes, these are all songs you already have in some way shape or form. On November 13, 2012, Kiss released the box set, ‘The Casablanca Singles 1974-1982’ collection. It houses all 29 singles the band released on Casablanca Records. They have all been digitally remastered and given some very collectible sleeves from the original single releases from around the world.

Now, this is not going to be review of each song, been there done that with all of the album reviews. No, this is going to be a picture review of the entire box set. You are going to see everything there is to see in this box set. There are over 90 pictures so sit back and enjoy. We will do them in order of each album, but first we will start with the box set itself and the booklet. I hope you enjoy…

The box set is literally housed in a box. There is a flap on the side you open and all the singles and booklet slide right in. It is nice and sturdy. There is a cool effect on the front where the box there is an empty space with a fiery red, orange and yellow swirled backing that gives the Kiss logo its fiery appearance. The box also has an etched metal plaque engraved with the name “The Casablanca Singles 1974-1982 Limited Edition”. But here is the big question…What’s in the Box??

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Kiss – ‘Alive III’ (1993) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

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.

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Kiss – ‘Chikara’ (1988) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

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.

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Kiss – ‘Dressed to Kill’ (1975) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

When the band completed ‘Hotter Than Hell’, they quickly went right back on tour.  That album only had the one single, “Let Me Go, Rock & Roll”, which quickly fell from the charts. That wasn’t the only thing that fell quickly, so did the album sales.  Their label, Casablanca, was hemorrhaging money with Kiss on Tour and the album doing poorly.  As a result, the band was yanked off tour to record a new album.

When they get in the studio, the producer for the record was no longer Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise as Casablanca had no money to pay anyone.  So the owner of the record label, Neil Bogart, stepped in and recorded the album.  Which isn’t really a problem as he has a ton of experience…in the pop and dance music world.  Not in Rock & Roll.  And it would be evident as the heavier sound of the band on the first two albums, was a little more pop sounding on this one.  Don’t fret, it still rocked out, but not as hard.

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Imagine you are in a band and you are now starting to write your third album in about a year’s time.  You have to be one heck of a writer to come up with that much music in such a short time.  Well, Kiss didn’t have the songs.  So, what did they do.  They pulled a couple songs from their Wicked Lester Days and re-worked them.  Now, only 8 more to go.  Paul wrote three of them, Gene got two, Ace got one and then Paul & Gene wrote one together and what a song it was.  More on that in a minute. Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Dressed to Kill’ (1975) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Kiss – The Box Set (Disc One 1966-1975) – Album Review (Part 2 of 6)

In Part 1 we talked about the packaging and all that was included in The Box Set.  Now, we are going to talk about the music.  There are 5 discs included in this set and they are broken up in to certain eras/timeframes of the band.  They cover from the very beginning all the way up to 1999.  The set was released in 2001 so nothing from after Psycho Cirus.

First up is Disc One that covers the era from 1966 to 1975.  Wait…Kiss didn’t start until 1973, how do we have stuff from 1966?  Well, you will have to wait and see.  The disc has 21 songs and of those, 12 are previously unreleased. And it is those 12 songs that are the prize on this release.  Here is the entire track listing for this disc.

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The first two songs up are demos that were done in 1973 at Electric Lady Studios with the great Eddie Kramer on the boards.  You know Eddie from his work with Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix…at least you should.  The two songs were “Strutter” and “Deuce”, two of the bands most iconic songs.  These versions had never been released prior to this set.  I think I am going to go out on a limb and mention that these versions might be better than the actual recordings on the debut album of which, Eddie was not a part. These songs had so much more meat to them.  They had more edge and captured more of the band’s essence.

“Strutter” is actually from an early Gene Simmons song called “Stanley the Parrot”.  They took the chord pattern off that song and turned it in to a song that Paul feels has a “strutting” feel to it and thus the name.  “Deuce” was another song that was sort of a Frankenstein pieced together from a couple of other songs except these weren’t old Kiss songs.  The band loosely based it off the song “Bitch” by the Rolling Stones and the beginning of the song came from The Raspberries song “Go All the Way”.

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Kiss – ‘Kiss of Thunder’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

The next in the Bootleg series is a show from the Rising Sun Tour in 2006. This show took place on July 23rd, 2006 at the Fuji Speedway in Japan.  It was a short tour, but it was awesome.  In 2006, the members would have been Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer.  This is important for a later discussion.

Including solos and introductions, the setlist is 23 songs and a pretty long show.  There were some songs on here I love that aren’t played every tour so I was excited to get those.  But we will discuss those later.

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First, we have to discuss the packaging as we normally do.  This set is on CD as I have no more vinyl to discuss.  The Cover of this thing is awesome.  It is so scary looking and has absolutely nothing to do with the band. At least the album name is good with “Kiss of Thunder”.

Now when you open the CD jewel case, on the left is the picture below.  Can you tell me what is wrong with this picture?  If you can’t, you aren’t a Kiss fan so please leave!  I’m kidding you can stay.

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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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