Anaheim 1976 – Mint Soundboard Master Cassette Edition (Zodiac 031)
Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, Ca. USA – August 20, 1976
(73:19) Intro, Detroit Rock City, King Of The Night Time World, Let Me Go Rock ‘n’ Roll, Strutter, Hotter Than Hell, Nothin’ To Lose, Cold Gin, Shout It Out Loud, Do You Love Me?, God Of Thunder, Rock And Roll All Nite, Deuce, Firehouse, Black Diamond
Wow, another killer KISS 1976 board tape comes from out of hiding. The band’s gig at the Anaheim Stadium in the summer of ‘76 was a massive event, not only did it feature opening acts Ted Nugent, Montrose, and Bob Segar, but to go with a psycho circus type atmosphere the band employed a high wire act and a hot air balloon that landed at the stadium. There exists a very good audience recording that was used for a popular and famous bootleg back in the vinyl days as Destroys Anaheim (IMP-11-20 A/B Dragonfly Records) and was copied many times as Destroys Anaheim (IMP-11-20 A/B GLC Great Live Concerts), Destroys Anaheim (Judah Records), Destroys Anaheim (Karton 004 A/B Swinging Pig Records), Unnecessary Evil (WRMB 508), and certainly others. On CD it was available as Cold Gin (BC 24, Black Cat Records), Unnecessary Evil (MIK 018, Deep Records), Unauthorized Live Vol.1 (Joker Production, JOK-007-B) and most recently as disc 4 in the Kiss Karton (G.R BOX 07, Godfather records). The show was video taped by the band, the footage was used for the large video screens and while it is mostly close ups is certainly a great video to watch. It has been released before as Destroys Anaheim 1976 (KissVision KVR DVD 01), and Kissology Companion 1974-1977 Vol.1 (Apocalypse sound AS-158).
When I finally received my copied I was pleasantly surprised by the sound quality, it is a very good to excellent soundboard. There is a minor amount of tape hiss but the recording has a warm full sound to it I found quite appealing, it has a great bottom end. The instruments are pretty well balanced with emphasis on the vocals and Ace’s guitar is low in the mix and the audience is very low and at times non existent, if you have heard and enjoyed any of the other soundboards from this tour you know what to expect and will not be disappointed. This was a very important show for the band and they deliver a tight, energetic and professional performance, the recording begins with the band being introduced by Flo and Eddie, the duo who were part of the very popular group The Turtles in the 60’s and would eventually join Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention. On this evening they put on make up and poor man’s KISS style consumes, if you have never seen it, check it out on youtube as it is worth a watch. KISS take the stage with “Detroit Rock City”. When I first listened to this recording I thought someone has just used the audio from the video but this isn’t the case. On the video Paul’s vocals are low in the mix during the beginning of the song, that is not the case on this recording. Of course the song is linked non stop with “King Of The Night Time World”, a most effective opening attack.
Paul greets the audience of 43,000 and quickly gives the mic to Gene for some “Rock And Roll”, in the form of “Let Me Go, Rock And Roll”. Always a song to get the blood pumping the band go for the throat with this song, Ace’s solos are melodic treats for one’s sonic appetite and Peter is playing extremely well giving a tight, unified backbone. Paul introduces “Strutter” for all the ladies who like to get dressed up, if there is one downside to this recording it is the lack of the audience and the ambience you get from them, you have no problem telling that this is a great night for the band and you know the LA audience is going bonkers, it would be nice to have just a little (damn, complaining about a soundboard). “Hotter Than Hell” is linked with a brilliant “Nothin’ To Lose”, we get our first taste of Pete’s singing and he is spot on, he does a little vocal improv as he sings “C’mom shake it for Pete” as it is clear the band are enjoying themselves.
Paul salutes California as the state of sun and sin as his introduction for quenching ones thirst, of course the audience knows where he is going and even though they are low in the mix you can feel their presence as they scream for “Cold Gin”. The song is the vehicle for Ace’s solo spot, because he is low in the mix his guitar has a cool other world feel to it that only adds the outer space vibe of his onstage persona. A trio of new songs is next, “Shout It Out Loud” and “Do You Love Me?” do not stray from the versions found on Destroyer, “God Of Thunder” on the other hand is now the Gene blood letting routine. Ace helps things along by teasing the songs main riff before Gene answers with his elephant fart solo, full of phase and echo makes for an ominous sounding intro, Peter’s use of gong signals the beginning of the piece. The tempo is similar to the records, in future tours they would play it faster and this is a song that works best when played a slower pace, as the Lord of the Wasteland grinds us to a pulp. The song is also used for Peter’s showcase, earlier in the tour (listen to Summer Of Satan Godfathers GR848) his solo was found in “Watching You”, by this point in the tour the band had dropped the song and would be included in during “Thunder” for the remainder of his tenure with the band.
The momentum is at its peak as the band hammer down with “Rock And Roll All Nite” to finish the main set, the crowd’s ovation is huge as Paul says “Anaheim We Love You!”. Even though they are low in the mix you can hear the chants of “We Want KISS”, they will not have to wait long as the band return with “Deuce” to get the encores started, what better song than that? The sound quality is down a notch but clears up for a red hot “Firehouse” and the traditional ending of “Black Diamond”. No introduction or fanfare, just Paul and his guitar makes for an incredible opening of the song. Peter turns in a wrenching vocal and Ace’s solo screams in pain, the band punctuate the last line of “Black Diamond” and go into the dramatic ending as sonic booms explode overhead. Interestingly the recording goes on and you can hear the booms going off in the distance as the event fades into the sunset. KISS in their prime and superb show, one that deserves repeated listenings.
The packaging is great, lots of live shots of the band with Destroyer graphics mixed throughout. The picture on the inner sleeve capturing Paul in mid jump is superb, an all around class act. It is packaged in a slim line jewel case, Aleebee was the first to comment about the strength of this release, his comments mirror my own and I must agree, Zodiac is a force to be reckoned with. This is a great release and is recommended.