Kiss has finally realized they can make money on live Bootleg type albums just like everyone else has been doing out in the will. They are finally releasing their own Bootleg Series called “Off the Soundboard”. First up for them was the show from Tokyo 2001 which had Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Eric Singer. This time around they are going with the line-up of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer. The show is Virginia Beach from July 25, 2004. This tour was the Rock the Nation Tour and one I didn’t see.
When I saw this was being released, I was excited at first as there were a handful of songs that haven’t been on all the tours so it is always great to get live versions when you can. The ones I was excited about were “Unholy”, “King of the Night Time World”, “Got to Choose” and “I Want You”. Their previous release was absolutely perfect. This one turns out, not so much…at least to me. They did maintain the same bootleg feel to the packaging as it is real simple cardboard box feel with stamped looking markings like the bootlegs of old. I do love the simplicity (even if it is a little flimsy).
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…
The lack of success for the band’s last album, ‘Hot in the Shade’, had them at a crossroads again as to what to do. They were asked to record a song for Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey in February of 1991, so they brought Bob Ezrin back to record it although Gene was a little hesitant about it after the debacle of ‘Music from the Elder’. But they recorded that song, which was “God Gave Rock And Roll To You II”, and then nothing for awhile. Paul was writing songs with various people, Gene was writing with Bob Dylan (sort of – you can read about that in The Vault series), and then the tragedy of Eric Carr happened. As we discussed in the last post, Eric had heart cancer and died on November 24, 1991 and he had been sick for some time. It was a dark day in Kisstory.
Eric Singer was brought in as the drummer full time now and Kiss went back in the studio in December 1991 with Bob Ezrin back at the helm as the producer probably in part that the Bill & Ted song did so well. The band sought help from an old friend at this time to help with the songwriting. That old friend was Vinnie Vincent. Actually, I think Vinnie reached out to them, but it doesn’t matter. Vinnie had turned over a new leaf and wrote some great songs with both Gene and Paul. And then Vinnie turned back in to Vinnie and tried to renegotiate a contract with them, sued the band and then lost. And Vinnie was again on bad terms with the band. Oh well, at least they tried. There was another Kiss connection on this album as the boys from the band Black ‘N Blue were brought in to help with backing vocals. They would be Jaime St. James and Tommy Thayer. Tommy is now the current Kiss guitarist for the band. This brings the count to 7 Kiss members that worked on the album…Gene, Paul, Eric S., Eric C., Bruce, Tommy and Vinnie. Pretty cool!