Cobo Hall Exibition Center, Detroit, MI – July 27, 1995
Disc 1 (75:31) Coming Home, Plaster Caster, Take Me, Going Blind, Nothing To Lose, Domino, Room Service, Got To Choose, A World Without Heroes, Do You Love Me?, Christine Sixteen, Hard Luck Woman, Calling Dr. Love, C’Mon And Love Me, She, God Of Thunder, Rock Bottom, Mr. Speed, Spit, Sure Know Something
Disc 2 (76:04) Hide Your Heart, Let’s Put The X In Sex, Let’s Put The X In Sex (with young girl on vocals), I Still Love You, Heaven’s On Fire, Lick It Up, I Love It Loud, Detroit Rock City, Do You Love Me?, Forever. Recorded February 5, 1995 Adelaide Australia, Hilton Hotel; Strutter, Shandi, Hotter Than Hell, Cold Gin. Recorded June 18, 1995 San Francisco, CA, Gift Center Pavilion; See You Tonight, God Gave Rock And Roll To You II, Goodbye, Black Diamond
After busting their asses in the 80’s trying to stay relevant with the visual big haired music trends, KISS entered the 90’s with a lot less fight in their blood. With the popularity of Grunge, there musical climate had again changed and while the band released one of their best records of any decade, Revenge, outside their hardcore fanbase, no one was really interested. One thing was for certain, the hardcore and casual fans all love their Klassic back catalog and starting in the late 80’s the band had slowly let these gems creep back into their live sets, much to the delight of audiences. With no new music to support, the band had a brilliant idea, why not embrace KISS Kulture with their fans? And so the KISS Conventions were born. The idea is simple, a celebration of all things KISS, the band brought memorabilia like posters, hand bills, props, costumes on the road. Outside vendors would be allowed to sell all things KISS and there would be tribute acts and old concert videos playing, and to top off the day there would be a Q & A with KISS and a live (semi) acoustic set and to top it off the band would sign autographs….all for a scant $100 bucks a ticket.
This new release from Eat A Peach focuses on a soundboard recording from the convention on one of the bands most beloved cities, Detroit, MI. The recording was done by Z-Rock Radio but for an unknown reason, was never used. The quality is excellent with great balance and even through the audience is low in the mix, has great atmosphere, you can hear all the snippets and band talking nice and clear. The conventions were a unique thing for KISS as they actually allowed some taping and there exists a VG quality audience video of this performance which circulates as well, neither recording have been available outside trading circles so this is a most welcome release.
What was great about the acoustic performances is that the band was on a low stage thus providing an intimate experience, fans could interact with the group and the band could respond and it was like having KISS play in your living room. As you can see the set is filled with deep tracks, Plaster Caster, Going Blind, and one that certainly made the hard core fans ecstatic, A World Without Heroes from The Elder. Mr. Speed from Rock and Roll Over is excellent and Sure Know Something from Dynasty is a fast crowd pleaser. All these songs plus the “regulars” so to speak make for a great concert in itself.
What really makes this recording, and the other convention performances memorable are all the snippets scattered throughout, a bit of a riff, a few lines from some very obscure songs. They tease Almost Human and Anything For My Baby after Take Me, they play the riff to War Machine while Gene sings a bit of The Stone Temple Pilots Sex Type Thing they get into a bit of Love Her All I Can. After Do You Live Me? they tease with All American Man, they have a bit of the riff right and just a line of the lyrics, Paul tells the audience “You know it better than we do” (they would finally play it proper on July 20, 2007 in Sault Ste Marie). They tease a bit of the CCR classic Bad Moon Rising just before God Of Thunder, speaking of the latter it is the country version of the song that is absolutely hilarious and needs to be heard. They try and get into Lets Put The X In Sex but Paul doesn’t know all the lyrics. In one of the craziest moments in KISSTORY, an audience member gets up and nails the vocal…the audience member was a nine year old girl! Needless to say she brings the house down. Talent runs in the family, at the end of the show they bring her little brother, Patrick, onstage to play drums on Do You Love Me? During the set up Paul quips “He’s a little shorter than Eric”, you have to watch the video on Youtube, as soon as the kids breaks into the drum intro the place again goes crazy. A legendary performance by KISS.
There is some bonus material, the four songs from Adelaide, Australia have been released before, Unplugged (Red Robin Records ROB-1047-A/B) is incomplete, the full show can be found on the excellent Unplugged (Kiss The Stone KTS-400/401). The source is an excellent quality audience source, clear and well balanced, it does pick up the echo of the hall but has little interference from the crowd it captures the atmosphere nicely. What do Australians like to go with a cold can of Fosters? Shandi played at loud volumes! Great acoustic version of Hotter Than Hell as well. The rest of the second Cd has four songs from San Francisco, the concert has been released prior as Welcome Home Pete (Baby Face Records BF023/024). The quality is excellent, a bit distant yet very clear and enjoyable with a nice full range of frequencies. The always great See You Tonight is introduced by Paul as being from Gene’s solo record and is like an ode to The Beatles. They stay with the 78 solo records for a version of Goodbye from Paul’s record and the set is finished in true KISS tradition with Black Diamond.
The packaging is mini LP cover featuring a deep, severe cut and a lot of blood, the red blood against the white background makes for a striking image. The inner CD sleeves features live convention shots as well as T-shirt graphics. The insert features liner notes by current KISS axe man Tommy Thayer, you worked as tour manager for the convention dates. The energy on these two discs is infectious and this has been in steady rotation for the past month, easily my favorite KISS release in some time.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)