Undressed To Kill – Original Joe Maloney’s Master Recording (Tarantura TCDKIS- 7, 8-1,2)
One of the most, if not the most famous taper on the East Coast in the 1970’s was Joe Maloney. His recordings consist of many of the biggest names in Rock, artists like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd. For many of his mid 70’s recordings he used a Sony TC-11 Analog cassette recorder with an internal microphone. In the summer of 1975, Joe recorded a hot up and coming band that was taking the live circuit by storm, that band was KISS and he would record them twice in the three week period capturing the band just prior to hitting the big league of Rock and Roll. His recording of the Hempstead concert is by far, the best audience document from the Dressed To Kill tour.
Providence Civic Center, Providence, RI, USA – Sunday August 3, 1975
Disc 1 (65:25) Monitor Check, Introduction, Deuce, Strutter, Hotter Than Hell, Firehouse, She, Guitar Solo, C’Mon And Love Me, 100,000 Years, Drum Solo / Paul Rap, 100,000 Years, Black Diamond, Cold Gin, Rock And Roll All Nite
The first disc covers KISS’ opening slot for the mighty Black Sabbath at the Providence Civic Center. My first taste of this concert was via a torrent a few years back as part of the Dan Lampinski archive series that took the collecting world by storm, his was a superb stereo source that was eventually pressed onto CD as part of the KISS – The Lost Tapes (The Godfather Box G.R. BOX 12) box set. Joe’s recording is more distant and thin sounding and certainly favors the middle and upper frequencies, all instruments and vocals can be heard with the drums being sometimes punished in the background and from time to time there is the expected minor amounts of distortion. What this recording has, and what makes it particularly interesting to hear is how it captures the atmosphere of the event. It is a very lively recording and features the band going for broke, it is concerts like this that made KISS feared as an opening band.
The recording begins with the audience anticipation prior to the band hitting the stage, they sound quite rowdy and ready for KISS, after some brief monitor checks and the impatient crowd starts clapping just as the announcer does his “Hottest band in the land…KISS” intro and the band comes on full throttle with the Deuce and Strutter opening. Deuce is such a killer opening song, great riff and vocals from Gene, when they do the quick break and come back in Ace rips a solo that is simply killer and certainly gets me up, head banging and air guitar playing (yes my family looks at me like I’m nuts). Paul thanks the audience and tells them the hot night rap that leads into Hotter Than Hell and its counterpart Firehouse. The former has the audience clapping along but it is Firehouse that really gets the place shaking, the chorus sounds very big as does Gene’s bass playing. The song gets a huge ovation at its conclusion, Paul says “Providence how does it feel?”, the audience cheer their response loudly.
She is dominate in its unbridled heaviness and seems to lay waste to the audience, the song is a vehicle for Ace to work his space age magic on the audience. His solo is short and sweet, they are an opening band and have more music to deliver, Paul gives him a shout out and the audience roars their appreciation. After the slow and heavy She the band answer with C’Mon and Love Me, arguably one of the most effective songs on Dressed To Kill. Gene gets his brief solo spot prior to 100,000 Years, the audience seems indifferent to it and the band breaks into the song. Besides a great chunky riff, what makes this song so great is the rhythm patterns of Peter Criss, the song is also his showcase and he wastes little time, delivery a superb drum solo that has the audience cheering throughout. Of course it has a Paul rap section where he divides the audience up and asks them if they like to party, get high and believe in Rock and Roll, all responses garner much applause to the favorable category.
Black Diamond is the culmination of the entire set, Paul noodles around for a minute while an impatient audience member screams for Black Sabbath, obviously not impressed by the make up wearing upstarts. As soon as Paul breaks into the “Out on the street for a living” the audience gives a nice ovation as the song is a crowd pleaser and first chance we get to Peter doing a lead vocal. The song brings a dramatic ending to the set in typical KISS fashion, but the rabid audience wants more and they make it known and set forth cheering and clapping loudly until the band again take the stage. Paul tells the audience that they did not know a lot of people in Providence but are leaving with 12,000 new friends and goes into a booze rap and ultimately Cold Gin. The audience are relentless and still demand more, the band gives them Rock And Roll All Nite amid firecrackers and down right craziness and the song brings the house down! So powerful was the band’s performance, as the house lights go up and huge boo comes from the crowd, KISS has done their job.
Calderone Concert Hall, Hempstead, NY, USA – Saturday August 23, 1975
Disc 2 (50:34) Monitor Check, Introduction, Deuce, Strutter, Got To Choose, Hotter Than Hell, Firehouse, She, Guitar Solo, She, Nothing To Lose, C’Mon And Love Me, 100,00 Years, Drum Solo / Paul Rap, 100,000 Years
Disc 3 (32:44) Black Diamond, Cold Gin, Rock And Roll All Nite, Let Me Go Rock And Roll
The Calderone recording has been around for some time, it had a previous release as part of the KISS Karton (The Godfather Box G.R. BOX 07) and when I compared the two I was astonished and thought it must be two different recordings, but all I had to do was to listen to the ending of She and the cry from the audience for Rock Bottom that I realized that they were indeed the same. There must certainly be a difference in the transfer or tape generation as while the GF has better bottom end, this recording favors the mid and upper frequencies and is much louder and much clearer and of course there is much more audience noise throughout its duration.
The performance is top notch and is done before an audience of typical rowdy NYC audience, as evident by the very beginning of this recording as it starts with a flurry of firecrackers and air horns. This only adds the fever that KISS injects into an audience. After the one two punch of Deuce and Strutter we get a great Got To Choose, the tightness of the band as they hammer the latter part of the song is impressive. Hotter Than Hell has Ace really laying down a great solo that is augmented by some killer fills from Peter just prior to settling into a solid version of Firehouse. The band play the song effortlessly as the vocal interplay between Gene and Paul finds them really accentuating the chorus to great effect and the music seems so powerful is nearly drowns out the siren. She again features Ace’s solo, and like the Providence recording is short and sweet, thankfully since this is a headline show we get a few extra songs, thankfully we get a rollicking Nothing To Lose, there is a guitar issue at the beginning and Gene and Peter are alone until it gets remedied, they take it in stride and deliver a typically great version of the klassic. We also get our first taste of Peter’s singing and it, like his drumming, is wonderful and soulful goodness.
Again the set highlight is a lengthy 100,000 Years, it is the only song the band would sound like they really stretch out and jam. The band really get into a groove with the riffs and Peter does a phenomenal drum solo and of course Paul does a rap that is closer to the one found on ALIVE!, of course the rap is augmented by Peter’s drumming. The song’s reprise is very forceful and in your face, the power of the band is leading to distortion as the recorder cannot handle what is being thrown at it. Black Diamond is again the set finale, powerful and dramatic, from the exclamation by Peter, Gene, and Paul of “Black Diamond” to Ace’s incredible solo that immediately follows, the audience claps as they know what to expect, and explosive force that garners cheers and air horns at its conclusion. Needless to say the audience begins its “We Want KISS” chants almost immediately. Cold Gin and Rock And Roll All Nite follow in customary fashion but to round the set off the band play one last encore, one last song to get it all out, and Let Me Go Rock And Roll is the perfect song to get it done. Fast and furious the band fires on all cylinders, best part of this song is all the leads that Ace simply nails with ease and the band extend the song to make sure the audience has been ground to a pulp for good measure. “Long Island…KISS Love’s you” is Peter’s address to the audience, I am sure the feeling is mutual.
The packaging is a gatefold sleeve, the front cover picture is great with the band in straight jackets and the rear photo is great with the band standing on a sidewalk I am guessing in New York City (?). The center spread has great live shots of the band and a cool black and white photo of some fans holding a sign that boldly reads WVTS welcomes KISS, oh yeah a bunch of them have on KISS make up. The CD’s all have pictures on them, a very nice looking package and a nice way to showcase the wonderful aural documents of a master taper.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)