En La Casa Del Diablo (The Godfatherecords G.R. 905/906)
Obras Sanitarias Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina – September 5, 1994
Disc 1 (77:27) Intro, Creatures Of The Night, Deuce, Parasite, Unholy, I Stole Your Love, Cold Gin, Watchin’ You, Firehouse, I Want You, Calling Dr. Love, Makin’ Love, Got To Choose, War Machine, I Was Made For Loving You, Domino, Love Gun
Disc 2 (78:51) Lick It Up, God Of Thunder, I Love It Loud, Detroit Rock City, Black Diamond, Heaven’s On Fire, Rock And Roll All Nite. Concrete Foundations Forum, Hilton and Convention Center, Burbank, Ca. USA – September 11, 1993; King Of The Night Time World, Take Me, Goin’ Blind, Got To Choose, Rock Bottom, She, Makin’ Love, Let Me Go Rock And Roll, Parasite
While KISS was able to reinvent themselves in the 80’s, by the early 1990’s the band was in the same situation of a changing musical landscape. Gone was the glam influenced bands of the previous decade and here was the bleak and stripped down attitude of bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden. While the band had ditched the old look in favor of black leather for the Revenge record it failed to keep them relevant in the eyes of the young music consumer. Thankfully the KISS Army is a tremendously loyal group and the band found that there were areas of the world that would embrace them without questions; one of these places was South America. The passionate rock and metal fans would greet the band as conquering heroes and in the late summer of 1994 the band would play an 8 date tour of the country. The band would also strip away much of the music from the past decade save for a select few songs and begin to delve into their deep back catalog making for a fan friendly set list.
All of the 8 dates were documented on either video or audio and in the case of the Buenos Aires show, both audience and a soundboard recording is in existence. The audience tape was released as Alive V (Obras Revenge JLD0004/0005), for this release Godfather utilizes the FM broadcast version of the tape. The soundboard is very good quality, well balanced recording and the audience is well represented in the mix. There is some broadcast style noise / interference from time to time as the recording is from a radio broadcast but is not distracting and the band turn in a power and tight performance.
The band hits the stage full speed utilizing “Creatures Of There Night” as an opening followed by a strong version of the classic “Deuce”. Almost instantly the band dig deep into their vast musical archive by playing “Parasite”, Gene delivers some powerful bass lines that really give this song its punky backbone. Bruce’s solo is very reminiscent of the original Ace one and the song really delivers. The band continue to deliver and after a crowd pleasing “Cold Gin” Paul asks the crowd what they want to hear, someone shouts “Watchin’ You” and the band play the mid 70’s concert staple. The tempo is slightly slower than those versions but Eric Singer’s drumming is superlative during this song, with the slower tempo and more emphasis on riff gives the song a refreshed feel. By the time the band finish “Firehouse” the audience is completely bonkers, they start their style soccer chants and Paul, doing most of raps in Spanish, commends them for really knowing the music and gets them to sing the opening lyrics of “I Want You” and they really deliver the goods. Paul, certainly one of the best front man in rock, works the audience like no one else and really engages the crowd as only he can.
The focus on the 70’s continues with “Dr. Love” (of course) and “Makin Love” but it is a tune from the Hotter Than Hell record that makes this show special. The band whip out “Got To Choose”, they had played it a few times on this tour and for me, is a most welcome addition to any set. It has lost none of its charm, the harmonizing by Gene and Paul is spot on and is hard to believe that the song was close to being 20 years old when this concert was performed. Another strong song on the first disc is undoubtedly “I Was Made For Loving You”, Paul gets the audience to interact with him for the beginning and when the full band break into the song it really heats up. Much more heavy when played live, makes you appreciate the material on Dynasty that much more and if I could have the band re record any one record from their back catalog it would be that one, stripped down and raw, the music works.
The second disc begins with Paul again enticing the crowd to sing along, all he has to say is “Lick It Up” and they take it from there and sing the song stadium chant style. From out of the depths of that song and with the drum beat from Eric Singer the band play a rather sublime “God Of Thunder”, sounds sluggish and un inspired but thankfully Eric is driving the band for this song and is really laying down some great fills. The band has some trouble at the beginning of “I Love It Loud” as if there was a bit of miscommunication and makes for a flat start but they quickly recover for a strong finish. From there the rest of the set is extremely strong, “Black Diamond” features Eric Singer on vocals and some nice guitar improvisation at the beginning thanks to Paul, as soon as he sings the opening line the audience are there to back him up. Eric’s vocals are great, he even has a slight raspiness to his singing that is somewhat reminiscent of Peter Criss, and Gene is also playing some mega fat bass lines during the guitar solo to great effect.
For the encores Paul uses his Jedi mind trick to get the audience to demand “Heaven’s On Fire” and when they demand it the band is happy to oblige. His opening falsetto howl is superb and he leads the band through a real strong version of the song. The final song is of course “Rock And Roll All Nite”, this version has an extended drum intro before the band break into the song. Of course being the last song of the set Paul does the routine sing along to raise the party atmosphere up a notch making for another great version of the song.
The real gem of this release is the Foundations Forum gig from September of the same year. The recording is a good but thin stealth styled audience recording that sounds like it was recorded through a drainage pipe but thankfully all the music and vocals are clear and after your ears adjust the explosive performance can really be enjoyed. What makes the recording special is the set list, they band dug way deep and play songs they had not played for some time. “King Of The Night Time World” and “Take Me” are good but from here on out the set list is phenomenal. Beginning with the Hotter Than Hell classic “Going Blind”, Paul tells the audience that it has not been performed live, they would play it acoustically on MTV later in the year (see Vengeance Is Ours – Apocalypse Sound AS 206, the perfect DVD to accompany this set) and of course it would be played during their convention tour the next year. The song hits on all marks and the band play an incredible version of the song. It starts flowing from here as the band play “Got To Choose”, obviously the vibes from Argentina were great and the band leave it in the set. Paul tells the audience what a treat it is for them to playing this gig as they do not play such deep tracks regularly; thankfully someone is recording the event for posterity. Bruce Kulick does his best Ace imitation for a white hot “Rock Bottom” and I am blessed with a heavy version of “She”, one of my most favorite KISS songs. “Let Me Go, Rock And Roll” is great to hear as it had not been in a regular rotation for some time and “Parasite” finishes the extremely strong set. Perhaps the band could see that their future was actually to be seen by looking into their past.
The packaging is typical tri fold sleeve adorned with pictures from the tour, what made this tour special was the lack of a real stage set up, just KISS and the music. There are some great pictures of Paul with his classic Icemand guitar and there are some liner notes written by Guillermo Coppola that give a brief background of the set. I love the sense of humor interjected with the KISS liner notes, always bring a smile to ones face. Another strong KISS release from The Don, one that is welcome as I have precious few boots from this “lost” era of the band and the bonus of having the Foundations Forum gig is too good to be true.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)