10th Anniversary Tour (The Godfatherecords G.R. 863/864)
Universal Amphitheater, Universal City, CA, USA – March 27, 1983
Disc 1 (76:04) Intro, Creatures Of The Night, Detroit Rock City, Cold Gin, Calling Dr Love, Firehouse, Paul’s Solo, I Want You, Vinnie’s Solo, I Love It Loud, Eric’s Solo, War Machine, Love Gun, Gene’s Solo, God Of Thunder, I Still Love You, Black Diamond
Disc 2 (75:24) Strutter, Rock And Roll All Nite. Estadio Jornalista Martio Folho, Maracana, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – June 18, 1983; Creatures Of The Night, Detroit Rock City, Cold Gin, Calling Dr Love, Firehouse, I Want You, Vinnie’s Solo, I Love It Loud, Eric’s Solo, War Machine, Love Gun, Gene’s Solo, God Of Thunder, Rock And Roll All Nite
KISS’ tour for Creatures Of The Night was dubbed the 10th Anniversary Tour and as fans know, would be their last with makeup until 1996. The band had a great new album to promote in Creatures and the new members of the band were helping to revitalize Gene and Paul and with help from MTV would begin the transformation of 70s dinosaurs to relevant rock band of the 1980s. Godfather has had two prior releases from this all so important tour, the first was If It’s Too Loud Your Too Old (The Godfatherecords G.R.631/632) documenting the Jan 13, 1983 Montreal, Canada show and Standing In The Shadows / Thunder Room (The Godfather Box G.R. BOX 12 G/H) that contained the New Years Eve Kisstacular Dec 31, 1982 bash in Rockford, Il. Finally, we get a definite word on the tour thanks to this new release from The Don and we find ourselves going back to the latter part of the tour. The first disc and part of the second are taken from an audience recording of the bands show at the Universal Amphitheater, one of only three concerts the band played in California on this short tour. This show has seen prior releases, first on vinyl as 10th Anniversary Tour 3-LP (ETS-2521-2532-2533-A/B) a release that also shares the same cover art, and on compact disc as 10th Anniversary Tour (KISS 2) that is incomplete. The recording is a very good, well balanced audience source that has great sound and ambiance making for an excellent listen. It sounds great at loud volumes so one can take the whole experience in and this is easily the best sounding audience recording on silver from this tour.
Since it is towards the end of the tour the band knows what works and what does not so all of the Creatures songs that were in the set list at the beginning of the tour are long gone thus giving the band focus on kicking ass, something they do for the duration of their 90 minute set. The opening salvo of “Creatures” into “Detroit Rock City” is high energy; the crowd is pleased and cheers in joy. It is widely reported that there was internal stress from day one between the band and guitarist Vinnie Vincent, onstage the chemistry was certainly there as he adds a fresh perspective on the music. Paul tells the crowd that this is their night and they can do whatever they want that elicits a huge cheer from the crowd before going into a familiar rap to introduce “Cold Gin”, a crowd favorite as they scream out the title and clap along with our heroes. Vinnie plays a couple of great solos in the song, he does not use any of the Ace music themes for them and makes the song sound like its his, it is played in a slightly faster tempo as is most of the older material. If I like Vinnies solos in “Cold Gin” I love the solo in “Dr. Love”, he simply sounds like he is levitating by playing soaring leads that certainly will cure ones rock and roll pneumonia.
Things heat up with “Firehouse”, the perennial crowd favorite that finds Paul and Gene singing with authority and make for a definite rendition of the song, the siren at the end always gets the crowd going. Paul takes a solo first; he plays more of an old school solo that is filled with 70s styled hard rock riffs. A true showman he needs no words to get a response from the crowd as he works his magic on them, his spot leads into the classic “I Want You”. His introductory vocal is very soft spoken but the song itself is really heavy, the band is locked in and as Vinnie is soloing the others are rocking extremely hard. Either Eric or Vinnie sings the second “In the morning I raise my head…” line, it is certainly not Paul or Gene and Vinnie takes his solo spot, he goes from playing a flurry of notes to Hendrix style sustained notes to great effect although sadly here has dropped using a violin bow during his spot as he did in the tours earlier gigs. Paul even gets some crowd interaction going during the “I Want You” reprise that will help get the crowd fired up for what comes next. Riding on the energy Paul tells the audience if it’s too loud your too old and they lay waste to the place with “I Love It Loud”, one can imagine the fists in the air in unison as the audience sing the chorus, you can certainly feel the power during this song. The crowd is hooked by the time Eric goes into his solo, they cheer him on and he responds by pounding the hell out of his set and gives a great transition from heavy to heavier as it leads directly into “War Machine” and we are now fully entrenched into the Gene show. I love the way one guitarist will start the riff followed by the second then the full band kicks in as the groove is just so infectious.
Classic Paul is all I can say about his rap for “Love Gun”, talking about enjoying his time in Mexico, since this is a family site I will refrain from the details but needless to say it puts a smile on your face. There are females in the area shouting take it off as they are certainly under his charm before finally the band launch into the song. Gene gets his solo segment next, I absolutely love this version as you can clearly hear an obsessed member of the audience screaming “SPIT IT OUT” over and over until she gets what she wanted, and much to the delight of the crowd around her. Gene’s thundering bass notes do sound ominous with the bells tolling in the background and he employs voice effects that make him sound even more demonic. I prefer the stand alone versions of “God Of Thunder” to the ones with drum solos in the middle although the faster tempo takes the edge off the song. Paul’s power ballad “I Still Love You” follows, Vinnie plays some great emotional leads and the song works extremely well in the live setting. Seems like some of the KISS boots I have listened to have the band not playing, for me, their signature tune so I find this version of “Black Diamond” very satisfying. The opening notes sound beautiful and it is refreshing to hear Eric handling the vocal duties and Vinnie plays a great and emotional solo that leads to the explosion filled coda complete with tank treads going at full in typical extreme KISS fashion.
The second disc begins, much to the horror of the security, with Paul telling the audience to come up on stage and be touched and it sounds like some actually make it up. They clear them off and the concert resumes with “Strutter”, what would a 10th Anniversary be without one of the best songs? Paul has one last rap, he starts by telling them that some people will tell you that KISS sucks, you can hear a crowd member say all the time. Paul has a colorful metaphor for those individuals and the concert ends appropriately with “Rock And Roll All Nite and Party Every Day”. A great concert and one that deserves many repeated listenings.
During the summer of 1983 KISS played a three concert mini tour in Brazil, while their popularity had eroded in the United States, the Brazilians greeted them like conquering heroes and the band played to very large crowds and the concerts would be the final performed in make up. The best documented of these shows was the first concert in Brazil and the one featured here. Played to a massive crowd of 137,000 screaming KISS fans the show was filmed and portions of the concert where played in TV and Radio. The show has seen official release on DVD on the KISSOLOGY Vol. 2 and on bootleg DVD on KISSOLOGY Companion Vol 2 (Apocalyspe Sound AS191), Rock In Rio 1983 (WOW-108), and TV Collection 1983 (WOW-114), surprisingly it does not look like the audio has ever appeared on bootleg, this release makes up for the glaring omission and we get a nice 60 minutes slab of the show.
The recording is a very good soundboard recording taken from the FM radio source, it is well balanced and enjoyable but does have some sonic limitations and the audience is sadly low in the mix giving it a dry feel. I put on the KISSOLOGY disc 3 and turned the volume off to get a better feel of this show. The band take the stage for “Creatures” and see the massive audience and the energy is flowing from their every move, their confidence oozes and the band hits their stride by the time they are done with “Detroit Rock City”. The tape is cut between the songs to eliminate wasted space and most of the between song chatter. The crowd is amped up for “Firehouse” and the siren at the end sound very surreal and garners a huge ovation from the massive crowd. “I Want You” does have Vinnie’s solo, I can most certainly hear the influence of Randy Rhoads in his solo. We do get Paul’s rap for “I Love It Loud” as he asked the massive audience to sing with the band and in certain parts you can feel the presence of the massive audience. The band knew they were being recorded so Paul does not use his typical introduction for “Love Gun”, in fact he has Vinnie introduce the song and it sounds like his request catches the guitarist off guard, he also sticks with the Ace leads for the song making for a strong rendition of the klassic. Gene’s solo has an eerie feel to it thanks to the soundboard feed you hear a lot of nuances you do not hear in audience recordings. “Rock And Roll All Nite” fades in cutting the very beginning off and sounds like it is from a different version of the tape, a bit more of a fuller, brighter sound. The audience does not wait to be asked but start singing the chorus at first chance and one gets a real party feeling, one that is heightened as the massive audience chants for the band at the songs conclusion.
The packaging is typical tri gatefold sleeve wonderfully adorned with the 10th Anniversary logo, the center spread has single and group photos of the line up from a photo shoot to promote the tour as it features Vinnie in full wizard make up and finally one side has some great live shots of the band. I think that what makes this era so intriguing was that the band were at a low point of their popularity but they were certainly not down for the count, in fact they were playing some of their best music of their career and their hard work would eventually pay off as they made their way through the 80s. Another excellent well thought out and constructed KISS title by the Don and I am eagerly awaiting their next title, Cow Palace 1977!