The Forum, Inglewood, CA, USA – November 7, 1979
(79:55) King Of The Night Time World, Let Me Go Rock ‘N Roll, Move On, Calling Dr. Love, Firehouse, New York Groove, I Was Made For Loving You, Christine Sixteen, 2,000 Man, Solo Ace Frehley, Love Gun, Solo Gene Simmons, God Of Thunder, Solo Peter Criss, Shout It Out Loud, Black Diamond, Detroit Rock City, Beth, Rock And Roll All Nite
Certainly the most iconic venue on the West Coast of the United States is The Forum in Inglewood, California, a suburb to Los Angeles. The Forum, AKA the LA Forum, Great Western Forum is to the West Coast what Madison Square Garden is to New York City (curious that MSG bought the Forum in 2012), it known as a large venue, sporting a seating capacity 18,000. But it’s not just that it’s huge, you see Los Angeles is a Rock and Roll city and for many bands would become THE highlight of most tours especially in the 1970’s. Let’s face it, warm sunny weather, rabid rock fans, and those beautiful California girls held a certain attraction.
This latest KISS title features the band’s concert at the LA Forum during their Dynasty tour, one of five concerts performed in California. KISS was back after a hiatus and while they did not have the draw of a few years prior when they played 3 shows (all were recorded for inclusion of Alive! II), they had no problems selling out the gig. To celebrate, their record company, Casablanca, threw them a lavish party afterwards in the Forum Club. The recording from that night is an audience source, it is good to very good, yet somewhat Lo-fi. The sound is well balanced and you can make out the vocals and instruments it does get a bit muddy due to the limitations of the recording equipment, it does have wonderful ambience and captures the atmosphere inside the Forum well.
KISS in 1979 were in turmoil, their most recent album, Dynasty was a platinum selling release and featured a top ten single with I Was Made For Loving You yet their sound was becoming more pop and had a slick production and that coupled with the intense marketing of the band, had attracted a young audience and alienated the original audience. Drummer Peter Criss was unable to cope with the pressures of being in the band and was coping with drugs and alcohol making him a loose cannon. In fact many of the shows from latter in this tour would suffer greatly from his poor playing. That is what makes this new release nice, the band firing on all cylinders and this is certainly one of the best concerts of the tour.
Turn it up…ok now we are ready. “Hello LA….you wanted the best…you got the best…the greatest band in the world…KKKIIISSSSSS !” , the first notes of King Of The Night Time World start, the place goes crazy and the sonic booms herald the entrance of our heroes. The song is coupled with a blistering Let Me Go, Rock and Roll making for a killer one two punch. Paul does the same old rap and they go into Move On from Paul’s 1978 solo album, the original plan was for each member to do a track from their solo records, yet soon after the tour started Peter and Gene’s songs were dropped. The version of Move On is killer, Ace is inspired and is ripping out the leads at a furious pace. The audience is very receptive and is eating out of Paul’s hand, it is their energy that fuels the band. They settle in with Dr. Love and Firehouse heating things up and Ace gets his first solo spot with a great New York Groove, his singing is much more confident from the previous tour and he begins to encourage the audience to “help us out…c’mon clap your hands” and they do as they are told! I Was Made For Loving You is the first of only two songs to make the set from Dynasty, Paul does one of his toned down raps about being in his hotel…you know the rest but needless to say it is quite clean, there are children in the audience.
If you look at it, the set list is very smart and there is not a dud in the group, pure KISS rock and roll with each member getting his fare share. Ace gets his second song of the eve, his take on the Stones’ 2,000 Man, and is the vehicle for the Space Man to take a solo spot. The song is pure rock and roll, the band play it well and seem to get into doing a cover by one of their heroes. Ace’s solo by this time was as much about show as it was his ability. Smoking guitar, laser effects and levitation were all part of his routine, he even hits some notes of Close Encounters, sort of his way of phoning home. After a rock solid Love Gun Gene and Peter get their spots during God Of Thunder, Gene’s solo is standard Elephant farts yet Peter again shows when he was on, there was no better drummer in KISS.
A little more rock and roll is what they want, so they Shout It Out Loud, love this tune as it was my first KISS record I got, on 45 and wore that damn thing out. The song is perfect live and keeps the energy at a high level. Paul does a bit of noodling, and posing, to lead into Black Diamond, as soon as he starts it proper the audience give a big cheer and you can here some fan say “Black Diamond” over and over in pure joy. Peter gets his first real vocal of the night, love his raspy voice and he sounds great. The song is high drama and quite bombastic as they muster the finals chords from their guitars. Detroit Rock City is the first encore and sounds quite muscular. These later versions of Beth are very melancholy and almost sad, you can hear in his voice he doesn’t want to be there and he gives a heartfelt “I love you” at the conclusion. The self proclaimed Rock and Roll National Anthem, Rock and Roll All Nite, is the last encore and brings a well played and very enjoyable show to its conclusion.
The packaging is typical mini LP jacket, the front cover has the band seemingly coming from the bowels of the Forum in their new and flashy Dynasty duds. The CD says I heart LA and is housed in sleeve with a cartoon picture heralding “The Return of KISS” and there is a fold open insert adorned with posed and live shots. Always nice to have a new Dynasty tour, and one with a killer performance and good recording makes for a great release.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)