Modern Day Metallic Mayhem (Eat A Peach EAP 41/42)
Verona Arena, Verona, Italy – June 11, 2015
Disc 1 (74:18) Detroit Rock City, Deuce, Psycho Circus, Creatures Of The Night, I Love It Loud, War Machine, Do You Love Me?, Hell Or Hallelujah, Calling Dr Love, Lick It Up / Wont Get Fooled Again, Bass Solo, God Of Thunder, Cold Gin, Love Gun
Disc 2 (74:31) Black Diamond, Shout It out Loud, I Was Made For Loving You, Rock And Roll All Nite. Bonus Tracks: Ace Frehley Live Past The Milky Way Amsterdam, Holland, Mikweg Oude Zaal, June 9, 2015: Parasite, 2,000 Man, Snow Blind, Rock Soldiers, Strange Ways, New York Groove, Shock Me, Ace Solo, Cold Gin, Rip It Out, Deuce
In typical KISS fashion, the band’s 40th anniversary tour would stretch far beyond that and now we celebrate their 41st anniversary. The tour would start in June 2014 with a summer shed (amphitheater) tour with Def Leppard followed by their first Las Vegas residency to finish the year. 2015 would see the band play Asia, South America, Europe, and recently Australia, for this new release the folks at Eat A Peach have utilize a recording from Italy during the said European tour. While I love KISS, I find myself not listening to the newer recordings as much, what is intriguing about this release is that it has a full KISS set as well as bonus tracks from an Ace Frehely concert just a few days prior that make for a most interesting release.
The KISS recording is excellent audience source, well balanced and clear and while there is some audience interference that is to be expected, it does not interfere with ones enjoyment. It has a nice range of frequencies and for being an outdoor venue the bottom end is perfect with just enough bass without being over powering. The set list is an interesting mix from the band’s career, Detroit Rock City is always a great opener and when coupled with Deuce makes for a killer one two punch. What I found particularly enjoyable is the return of Creatures Of The Night, the current line up of the band is playing wise equal to the Vincent / Carr line up and make for metallic versions of the classics while retaining their original vibe, just listen to Eric singers drumming! he has certainly endeared himself to me as he is an incredible drummer. Paul promises a night they will never forget when introducing I Love It Loud, the crowd knows just what to do and they do a great job in handling the chorus. The Creatures material is so good the band plow right into War Machine that grinds the audience, and listener, into the ground in its metallic heaviness, curious it has the Firehouse siren at the end, Gene must breathe fire at its conclusion.
Nice to see Do You Live Me? back in the set list and the band keep a singular newer song from Monster in the set list. Hell Or Hallelujah in prime Paul Stanley hard rock, great riff and chorus from the real man who has steadfastly been the man to lead KISS for 40 years. Tommy plays a great solo and one listen to this version shows why it is in the set, I wish they would have kept something from Sonic Boom as well. The band pays homage to The Who during Lick It Up with a bit of Won’t Get Fooled Again in the middle, Paul and Tommy recreate the pulsing keyboards and Eric does his best Keith Moon impersonation that has the audience on its feet clapping along. God Of Thunder does not feature a drum solo, something I prefer and nice to see KISS not really doing solo spots, it makes for a much more up tempo performance. Cold Gin makes its return to the set, having replaced Parasite a few dates prior and the main set ends the way it should, with a killer version of Black Diamond.
The bonus tracks come from an Ace Frehley concert at the famous Milkweg in Amsterdam, the source is a very good near excellent audience recording. The recording is clear with the guitars and drums being nicely in the mix and there is some upper end distortion yet has that small venue in your face sound to it. This is the middle and latter part of the show and many of the newer songs from Anomaly and Space Invader are not present. What we get is a nice selection of vintage KISS and early solo classics. Parasite features Ace on vocals and is similar in feel to the original, tight but loose. His solo band is great, Richie Scarlet on guitar, Chris Wyse from The Cult on bass, and Scot Coogan on drums make for a power backdrop for the Spaceman. Snow Blind from his 1978 solo record and Rock Soldiers from the first Frehelys Comet record are early highlights. One of the most interesting songs in the set is the Hotter Than Hell deep track Strange Ways, originally sung by Peter Criss on this tour Chris Wyse gets vocal duties and is three minutes of total badassness. Shock Me features Ace’s solo spot and the audience cheer him on as he goes through all the “moves” as he tells the audience “Still f*ckin smoking”. Rip It Out from his first solo record and the KISS classic Deuce are the final two bonus songs, I love solo Ace and this recording is not only a testament to his solo career but is on direct compromise to what Stanley and Simmons try and force down our throats by minimizing his talents…it just can’t be done.
The packaging is a mini LP style cover beautifully adorned with pictures from the concert, the one on the back cover gives you an idea of the crowds the band is still able to draw. There is a nice shot of Ace and his band on the CD 2 sleeve and we get an 8 page booklet that has brief liner notes and more photos including ones of the ticket stubs. The CD’s have pictures on them and is a nice Eat A Peach slick presentation, 40 years on and releases like this show that KISS is still a force to be reckoned with.