A Detroit Trilogy (Eat A Peach 16)
Cobo Arena, Detroit, MI, USA – January 27, 1976
(75:37) Intro, Deuce, Strutter, C’Mon And Love Me, Hotter Than Hell, Firehouse, She, Parasite, Nothing To Lose, 100,000 Years, Black Diamond, Award Ceremony, Cold Gin, Rock And Roll All Nite, Let Me Go Rock And Roll. Bonus Track – Ladies In Waiting
The decision for KISS to release a live album is a story that most have heard, struggling band, struggling record label, both going for broke. In one of the most historic gambles in Rock, the band and their record label would virtually overnight become famous beyond their wildest dreams. You see KISS was building a reputation as an incredible live act, loved by the fans and feared by headliners in just a few short years the workmanship and dedication of the band and the road crew would finally hit pay dirt. September 1975 would see the release of ALIVE!, recorded earlier in the year and massively overdubbed in the studio, the record would boast a sort of greatest hits in a live setting and even though it did have extensive work done to it, seemed to capture the spirit and excitement of the KISS live. By early December the band got word that the record had gone gold while on tour in Texas and by January the album would sell to a mythical status, Platinum.
The tour to support ALIVE! would find the band using the same stage and costumes as the short Dressed To Kill dates, but the band were moving to larger venues, from theaters to arenas and doing very good business. Starting in September 75 and finishing in late March 76, the tour would consist of 87 dates, all as headliners save for one lone date where the band supported Black Sabbath, their last concert as an opening band for 13 years. By the time the tour rolled into Detroit, in late January 1976, the billing was massive; three sold out dates in the cities prestigious Cobo Arena. The city was the adoptive home for the band, the gritty, demanding rock fans took to the band like no other city had. Detroit had long been a hot spot for bands like KISS, hometown acts like the MC5, the Stooges, and Ted Nugent and his Amboy Dukes all built reputations by full bluntal live concerts, even Alice Cooper Band would call the city home. All three nights were professionally filmed and the first two concerts have circulated in collectors circles for some time before being released as part of the first KISSOLOGY. The third night was more elusive, supposedly deemed unusable there have been only precious few clips released, most notably on the KISS my ASS video. This third night is the source for this new release from Eat A Peach.
Culled from a sound board audio recording, we finally get to enjoy the complete concert in very good sound quality. The recording here is a soundboard yet has a relatively low fi and thin sound that favors the upper frequencies, it does also float around a bit, like many of the mid 70’s KISS boards. The sound is clear and all instruments and vocals can be clearly heard and very little crowd noise is in the mix, there is very little hiss present and although I have to turn it up a bit louder than usual, it sounds great loud, very RAW. The band are firing on all cylinders as they hit the stage with a powerful Deuce and after a rather pregnant pause, an equally blistering Strutter. Strutter has a certain swing to it, largely due to Peter’s excellent drumming, his drums are very clear in this recording and deserve to be heard! C’Mon And Love me is simply bad ass, Ace solos effortlessly while Gene and Paul sing the chorus to perfection and the song gets a huge cheers from the audience, afterwards Paul greets the audience and gives his “hot party tonight” rap. Hotter Than Hell and Firehouse should always be played together, they are perfect compliments to each other, the latter is an excellent version of the song again we can enjoy Peter’s drum patterns as the band locks in and delivers a smoking versions of the song, the siren at songs end floats around in the mix giving it a weird sound that works perfectly with the music.
The band launch into She, they sink into its killer fat riff and get into its groove, goddamn I love this song. I love the all too brief Gene and Peter jam in the middle, Paul enters the rhythm fest and Ace follows with the leads…perfection. The song is also a vehicle for Ace’s solo, his playing is so fresh and vibrant, at the end Peter comes in with a huge roll to bring the solo back to She’s conclusion in spectacular fashion. Parasite comes in almost non stop, fast and aggressive, the song retains that loose feeling and the playing is extremely inspired, you can hear Gene scream “yeah!” just before they get into the last chorus. Nothing To Lose follows with no break as the band is having a great time and sensing blood in the water. We finally get to hear Peter’s vocals, soulful and passionate as one can get about the backdoor love affair.
Gene gets his solo spot prior to 100,000 Years, you can hear the audience eat up his blood spitting routine, no shocking the Detroit audiences. The song is another of the early favorites, the riff is killer making for one of their best early efforts. The song also is the vehicle for Peter’s solo, hands down he is the star of this concert! His playing is incredible and it is concerts like this that make me wonder how Stanley and Simmons can belittle his contribution to the band. Paul’s “do you believe in rock and roll” rap is great, he repeatedly asks the audience if they like to get high, we all know their response. He also confirms the date without a doubt by saying it is the third and final night. A dramatic Black Diamond finishes off the main set, the band go for broke and lock into a perfection union that is as incredible as the bombastic conclusion.
Prior to the encores we are treated to the band getting awards for platinum sales for ALIVE!, there is a source change for the award ceremony through the end of the concert, it is a bit more clear and powerful with fuller sound and dynamics. Cold Gin is incredible and sounds like the crowd is near hysteria, Rock And Roll All Nite is standard but the final encore, simply smokes. It sounds like Let Me Go, Rock And Roll is played in double time! Getting the energy from the audience the band lets loose for an incredible version to seal the third chapter in the Detroit Trilogy. This release has a bonus track from the first night in Detroit, the last record version of the Dressed To Kill Klassic, Ladies In Waiting. For fans of the record we salivate for songs from it live, there are precious few versions of this song live and this one is the best of them. The first night at Cobo, January 25 to be exact would be its swan song being replaced for the rest of the tour by Parasite. Culled from a soundboard source, it has excellent and well balanced sound and is an excellent addition to this set. The Detroit 76 shows are widely considered among the best the band would play, this recording proves that theory correct, a rarity for the KISS Kollectors market as there are precious few recordings from the American ALIVE! tour, one that deserves repeated listening’s.
The packaging is typical for the Eat A Peach label, made to look like a mini record sleeve the cover boast black and white shots made to resemble the first KISSOLOGY, The “record” sleeve on the inside has a congratulations poster reprint and a newspaper review and the insert features a hand written note from Chip Rock (Dayton), who was KISS’ favorite photographer during this time period, this also ties into the ALIVE! packaging. Another excellent title from the Eat A Peach label.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)