The Burning Hellfire The Complete April 2, 1977 (Tarantura TCDKIS-4,5,6A,6B)
It’s been a year since the last KISS release from Tarantura, thankfully there was still more yet to be released and even more thankful is the source, Mr. Peach. This new box set from Tarantura focuses on the April 2 1977 concert from the Budokan in Japan, made famous to us in America as the source for the HBO concert special from the late 70’s. The concert has also been released as part of the KISSOLOGY series, debuting on the first volume of the series. The band played two shows that day with the idea of recording both on audio and video for a Japanese broadcast on the Young Music Show, the band were also looking at the possibility of recording a live album using famous engineer Eddie Kramer but that project never came to fruition. Mr. Peach would record both concerts on this day, and his recordings are the focus on the new box set.
Source 1 / TCDKIS-4: NHK “Young Music Show” Soundtrack Recording. Filmed 2 shows of 2nd April 1977. Broadcast on 7th May 1977.
Disc 1 (48:59) Introduction, Detroit Rock City, Let Me Go Rock And Roll, Firehouse, Makin’ Love, Cold Gin, Guitar Solo / Cold Gin, Nothing To Lose, Bass Solo, God Of Thunder, Drum Solo, God Of Thunder, Rock And Roll All Nite, Black Diamond
This source is an audio recording made by Mr. Peach, it is a soundboard but since it was done from a broadcast there is limitations of the sound, it has more of a flat sound but is perfectly mixed and does sound great at loud volumes. The set list has been shortened to fit the program within a 60 minute time frame for not only the Young Music Show but also the HBO special. The recording was done on the date of the shows initial broadcast, May 7, 1977. The CD has pictures from the broadcast as well as show graphics to boot.
Source 2 / TCDKIS-5-1,2: Afternoon Show 3:00 PM Saturday April 2, 1977 Budokan Dai Hall, Tokyo Japan.
Disc 1 (44:30), Monitor Check, Introduction, Detroit Rock City, Take Me, Let Me Go Rock And Roll, Ladies Room, Firehouse, Makin’ Love, I Want You, Cold Gin, Guitar Solo / Cold Gin, Do You Love Me, Nothing To Lose
Disc 2 (35:56) Bass Solo, God Of Thunder, Drum Solo, God Of Thunder, Rock And Roll All Nite, Shout It Out Loud (encore), Beth (encore), Black Diamond (encore)
For the early show Peach used his primary rig that would give the best results, the Technics RS-686D. The recording is very good and borders on the excellent region, it has somewhat high levels and is very in your face as Peach was obviously close to the stage, there is some crowd noise to be expected but nothing that interferes with the recording, just adds that wonder mix of ambience. Shades of Beatlemania come to mind as the lights dim and the “You Wanted The Best” introduction leads to the band taking the stage amid the opening chords of Detroit Rock City, the audience screams loudly for the band, they will soon get their due reward.
Again I put on the video from KISSOLOGY to watch while I listen and marveled at how during Detroit Rock City Gene and Paul descend the stairs to the main stage, you can tell Gene is somewhat tepid on his way down, Paul on the other hand seems to glide down with ease. Fans know that the Japanese tour would the debut of the Love Gun stage set, especially for their Japanese fans. The band keep the energy flowing with Take Me and Let Me Go, Rock And Roll, the latter really kicks things into high gear. Paul takes a minute to give his first rap, all about the beautiful women on Tokyo, all leading to Ladies Room. The set list is similar to the American leg of the Rock And Roll Over tour and featured four songs from the record, as well as songs from Destroyer and their debut album. Firehouse has the audience getting hot and they clap throughout, the song was obviously a crowd favorite even in Japan.
Makin Love is heavy metal KISS style as is quickly followed by I Want You, both have the audience almost delirious while Paul does his “down in the dumps” rap, wonderfully augmented by the audience, you can hear them screaming Cold Gin in their broken English, they clap and scream loudly as the band break into the song. The song is also a vehicle for Ace’s guitar solo, its great to watch the DVD at the same time, you get an idea for just how much a showman Ace was, he works his space age magic while tearing into some great leads, the audience is quiet as they are entranced by this spectacle. There is a tape cut at the songs conclusion, no music or stage rap is lost. Nothing To Lose is great, Peter’s vocals are perfect in the mix, his response vocals prior to the chorus are great and make for a high energy version of the song.
The second disc begins with God Of Thunder, or its prelude in the form of a Gene solo, his spot is certainly more of a visual thing since he would be spewing blood from his mouth. The second solo spot during the song would be a superb Peter Criss solo, he had a large kit during this period and he uses every bit of it, his solo elicits much cheering, clapping and screaming, it is all well deserved. Rock And Roll All Night ends the main set in fine fashion. The encores are standard fare, it is Peter’s solo spot on Beth that brings the house down, and the ovation he gets must have an incredible experience for him. The cds have pictures of the band with the Samurai sword on the first and waving a fish kite on the second.
Source 3 / TCDKIS-6A-1,2: Evening Show Sub Recording, 7:00 PM Saturday April 2, 1977 Budokan Dai Hall, Tokyo Japan.
Disc 1 (47:20) Opening, Monitor Check, Introduction, Detroit Rock City, Take Me, Let Me Go Rock And Roll, Ladies Room, Firehouse, Makin’ Love, I Want You, Cold Gin, Guitar Solo / Cold Gin, Do You Love Me, Nothing To Lose
Disc 2 (37:16) Bass Solo, God Of Thunder, Drum Solo, God Of Thunder, Rock And Roll All Nite, Shout It Out Loud (encore), Beth (encore), Black Diamond (encore), Announcement
For the 2nd evening show, Peach managed to bring in two recorders, this is referred to as the sub recording, the deck used is a Sony TC-3000SD. The sound is somewhat more muffled but clear and enjoyable, it has good bottom end and is in the very good range. If taken on its own merits you would have no problems putting it on and cranking it up, it does not compare to the main recording, however. The cd’s have Ace, Paul and Peter on the first disc and Gene on the second.
Source 4 / TCDKIS-6B-1,2: Evening Show Sub Recording, 7:00 PM Saturday April 2, 1977 Budokan Dai Hall, Tokyo Japan.
Disc 1 (49:49) Opening, Monitor Check, Introduction, Detroit Rock City, Take Me, Let Me Go Rock And Roll, Ladies Room, Firehouse, Makin’ Love, I Want You, Cold Gin, Guitar Solo / Cold Gin, Do You Love Me, Nothing To Lose
Disc 2 (37:30) Bass Solo, God Of Thunder, Drum Solo, God Of Thunder, Rock And Roll All Nite, Shout It Out Loud (encore), Beth (encore), Black Diamond (encore), Announcement
This is Peach’s main recording of the evening show and as with the early show it was done with the trusty Technics RS-686D and it would be interesting to know what kind of microphones he was using. This recording is similar sounding to the first show, if anything it is a little fuller sounding thanks to better bottom end and again is very good to excellent, and well balanced with all instruments and vocals coming through clearly. Such was KISS’ professionalism that they could do two shows in one day and simply kick ass in both. One could say the same about Peach, how he managed to handle two recorders with tape flips is something to marvel.
The audience seems a little more restrained than the early show, less of the girls screaming. The band again takes the stage with the opening salvo of Detroit Rock City and Take Me. The audience seems to really enjoy Ladies Room tonight, they clap throughout the song, and the band delivers a great version of the song. Again one can refer to the KISSOLOGY video, the audience sounds crazy but they do so within the confines of the individual seats. Firehouse gets a huge cheer from the crowd, its great to hear the older songs as the band play them with such confidence and the audience clap throughout, they love the music too. Gene’s bass can be clearly heard and really gives the song its groove. Makin Love is spectacular, with its Led Zep riff the song really works well live, Ace rips a great solo to boot and the ending of the song featuring the band locked in to the riff just hammers the audience to great effect. I Want You follows, the opening track on Rock And Roll Over and arguably the strongest song on the record, the guitar riff is wicked and Paul also interjects the call and response portion based upon the Chorus much to the delight of the audience. Speaking of the audience, while not as loud screaming wise they are certainly into the show, the are more into the clapping and singing along, Paul does a great job getting his point across as he is a master showman.
Peter’s drum intro to Do You Love Me? has the audience clapping along, I have stated it many times that this is one of my favorite KISS songs, even though he did not write it, Paul sings it as if he did and seems as if it was coming from his perspective. The harmony guitar section is great, Paul and Ace locked in tight and for an arena the size of the Budokan the recording sound way more intimate. Gene’s bass solo that starts the second disc sounds massive in this capture, as if some larger monster was moaning from the depths, the crowd roar their approval as the Demon devours the stage amid smoke and blood. God Of Thunder is played at Marshall tempo thanks to the wonderful drumming of Peter Criss, there does sound like there was a musical miscommunication just before Gene breaks into the first lines of the song. The audience is enamored with the song, they make their presence felt with some cheers and a lot of clapping. Peter plays another excellent drum solo clocking in at over 4 minutes, again the crowd cheer him on in fine fashion.
Rock And Roll All Nite is the culmination of the main set, it is the KISS anthem and the audience is part of the party for sure. Shout It Out Loud is the first encore, the audience’s enthusiasm is at a high point and they clap along with the band to great effect. The band leave the stage and the crowd wants more, they cheer and clap for another solid three minutes before the opening stains of Beth bring the house down. What can be said about Beth, simply a beautiful song and how fitting that the band’s first massive hit was from Peter. The audience respectfully claps almost quietly during the song making for an emotional rendition, Peter gives a heartfelt “Thank you” at its conclusion. The final encore is the classic Black Diamond, Beth ignited the flames that could only be quenched by the song. They audience quiets as Paul plays the opening chords of the song, Paul says “Hit It” and the band (and audience) erupt in celebration. Peter’s vocals are spot on, while there have been three drummers who have sang the song, it is Peter who does it the best, his raspy and soulful vocals really make it special. Ace lays down the leads and the ending is quite dramatic, again it is Ace’s expressive leads that wring the last bit of energy from you. As I stated I would have on the video portion from KISSOLOGY playing with muted sound while listening to these shows, the video does not really do these shows justice as the real ambience of the music is lost, thankfully Mr. Peach’s recordings give us the true feeling of these concerts. The cd’s have a picture of Peter and Paul on the first disc and Ace on the last disc.
The packaging is a box similar to the Snake Attack Budokan set as well as the Judas Priest Tyranny Unleashed In The East set. As with all the Tarantura KISS releases is beautifully adorned with pictures from the band’s inaugural visit to Japan, there is a ten page booklet included that shows pictures of the master cassettes as well as the recording devices as well as the itinerary for April 2. The book is filled with both posed and live shots of the band and is wonderful to look at, and the set is individually number and limited to 150 copies. As with all Tarantura releases the packaging in excellent, the April 2, 1977 is a famous one and most certainly deserves the deluxe treatment. While the price tag for this set is not cheap, for the KISS fanatic it is a great piece to own.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)