If there is one thing I love to find and that is Kiss Bootlegs. I was out on Record Store Day, in line to check out with my RSD vinyl when I looked down and to my left and at the bottom of this shelf were a handful of bootlegs. 2 Van Halen boots and 1 Kiss. Well, all three are mine now and first up we have the Kiss Bootleg, Alive! in Amityville 1973. It was recorded at the Daisy in Amityville, NY on June 16, 1973. It says it is an audience recording, but I’ve read else where it is a soundboard recording, but either way…it is a recording and I have it. The sound quality is actually quite good as it has been remastered and repaired as it says on the back cover.
The really cool thing about this album is that this is about 8 months before the debut album ‘Kiss’ came out in 1974. You can’t get much earlier than this with Kiss recordings. Except maybe the Coventry shows. This is the original line-up of Gene Simons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. The band didn’t form until late January 1973, so we are only 6 months in to the life of this band. A lot of these songs you know as they did get released, but not all of them made to recording stages. Heck, the band hasn’t even been signed yet and Bill Aucoin isn’t even in the picture at this point. Really cool stuff. Let’s check this show out.
First up is the song “Nothin’ to Lose” and it sounds like the song from the debut. You have both Gene and Peter and they attack this song with a vicious ferocity. The lyrics don’t match up perfectly and it seems a little scattered as some of the arrangement does differ from the final studio version, but you do recognize it for what it is. The band is killing it as you can feel the energy and excitement in their playing.
The strange thing is that Peter seems to do most of the talking between songs. He does a great job, but it is weird not hearing Paul. Then we get the song “Firehouse” which seems to have Gene and Paul on vocals. The song sounds like you’d expect, but it isn’t quite the same. There is a strange scream before the chorus, and extra long drum part and the guitar solo from Ace sounds nothing like the one from the studio version. They didn’t have a siren so the end is Peter hitting the cymbals to make that sound. But still so cool to hear it played this way.
The next track is one I’ve never heard before, ever. It is called “Life in the Woods” and it is almost 8 minutes of riffing as it is a guitar heavy song. It was originally titled “Want You Beside” and written by Paul. The song has Paul yelling at the crowd to get up and get moving. There are a lot of harmonies at the beginning with Paul and Peter and then the band comes full force in. There is a break in it where they are screaming “Life in the Woods” and honestly I don’t know who is singing it as it doesn’t sound like any of the guys. And Peter seems to take over the vocals at the end and let’s out an F Bomb at the end. It is a strange song and doesn’t sound like they really know what to do with it as it is all over the place. I don’t think the song really works well and within a month or so, they stopped playing this one which is great because it is awful.
The final track on side 1 is the old Wicked Lester song “Simple Type”. This one I have heard before and have the studio version of the track on a bootleg or two. Ace opens this one with a great riff and then they lay down a cool groove while Ace throws out riffs all over the place. The studio song is less than 3 minutes I believe but this goes on for over 7 minutes. You have both Paul and Gene on vocals and I have to admit this doesn’t sound like the “Simple Type” song I remember from other bootlegs. This one is more of a rocker and the guys are letting all hang out on this one. Ace is really tearing things up here. What drags this song for 7 minutes is the cool jam section and I like to see the boys do that. Now, on the vocals so far, it seems like most of the songs have had two different people in each song singing…this would later become, one song, one voice except for may “Rock & Roll All Nite” and very few others. It’s nice to see more of a band focus here.
The first song up is “Acrobat” which is a part of two songs one of which would become “Love Theme from Kiss” off the debut and the other is called “Much Too Young” which was a Gene idea that never materialized. Most of the song is an instrumental, but there are some lyrics with the “Much Too Young” part. Mid way through, Peter gets a drum break and then Ace gets to let loose as well. If you have the Kiss Box Set, this recording of “Acrobat” is in there and it is attributed to the August Daisy shows, but there is some disagreement on that front. I don’t know or care which is true.
Next up is the classic song “Deuce” and this will sound familiar. It is basically the album version, but maybe some tweaks to the ending. Come on, you know it isn’t going to match perfectly. Gene is on vocals, liked you’d expect, and he tears it up. It is Gene, all dark and menacing. This feels like the Kiss I know and love.
“100,000 Years” is another off the debut album and you get what you expect here. You get Gene’s opening bass line which is so recognizable and then Paul comes in on vocals. Paul’s vocals are stellar and hits those high notes perfectly. And then throw in Ace’s blistering guitar work and you have a masterpiece. The biggest difference is Paul’s lyrics at the end are completely different and he even tells the woman he’s speaking to in the lyrics to give him head!! Okay, that’s different.
The famous guitar lick kicks in and you know it is time for “Watchin’ You”. Gene’s on vocals and they are a little rough as he’s screaming too loud in to the mic at first, but it gets better. This song sounds like the final version and it is such a killer tune and great to hear live.
The final track we have here is “Let Me Know” which sees Gene and Paul trade off on the vocals. It is a fun song and a little more poppy. It is basically the old song “Sunday Driver” which Paul had written. I really like this song and I love it when those two trade off on vocals. It is something they should’ve done more of through their career.
And there you have it. Another cool piece in Kisstory. I will point out that this bootleg of the show appears to be missing the songs “Black Diamond” and “Strutter” so if I ever find another version of this show and those two songs are on it, I’ll have to grab it. Otherwise, this set is awesome. I really love it. The sound quality is actually phenomenal so whatever they did to clean it up worked beautifully. I can see myself pulling this one out again and again. My Overall Score is a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars. There is nothing negative I really have to say about this one. Yeah, “Life in the Woods” isn’t a great song, but how cool is it to have a recording of it when the band never actually recorded this song. If you see this one, you need to grab it.
The Bootleg Series:
- Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
- Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
- Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
- Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
- Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)
- Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
- Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
- Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
- Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
- Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
- Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)
- Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (LICK IT UP TOUR 1983)
- Kiss – Barbarize (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – North American Tour)
- Kiss – They Only Come Out At Night (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – EUROPEAN TOUR)
- Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
- Kiss – Black Diamond: Lafayette Music Room, Memphis, TN April 18th, 1974 – FM Broadcast
- Kiss – End of the Road: In Allentown 2020 (PPL Center, Allentown, PA, 4th February 2020) (End of the Road Tour) – Blu-Ray
- Kiss – ‘Monster Tour: Simpsonville 2013’ (Charter Amphitheatre at Heritage Park, Simpsonville, C – 13th August 2013) – Blu-Ray
- Wicked Lester – The Original Wicked Lester Sessions (Bootleg)
- Kiss – The Ritz on Fire (August 12, 1988, The Ritz, New York City. A radio broadcast – Crazy Nights Tour)
- Kiss – Kiss My Axe 1978: Live from the Los Angeles Forum in California, August 25, 1977 (Love Gun Tour)
- Kiss – Gods of Thunder: The Legendary Concert Broadcast – Sao Paulo, August 27, 1994′
- Kiss – Black Diamond: Lafayette Music Room, Memphis, TN April 18th, 1974 – FM Broadcast (Alternate Cover)
- Kiss -Alive! in Amityville: June 1973 – (2021)