The Spirit Of ’76 (Strutter Productions)
Richfield Coliseum Celeveland, Ohio September 3, 1976
(70:00) Detroit Rock City, King Of The Night Time World, Let Me Go, Rock And Roll, Strutter, Hotter Than Hell, Nothin’ To Lose, Cold Gin, Ace Solo, Shout It Out Loud, Do You Love Me, Gene Solo, God Of Thunder, Peter Solo, Rock And Roll All Nite, Deuce, Firehouse, Black Diamond
KISS released the landmark Destoyer record in March of 1976 and was a slight departure from earlier KISS records thanks to producer Bob Ezrin and some fans felt is had an almost progressive sound to it. I don’t remember it that way and as a nine year old impressionable kid was enough for me to by my first KISS record, the Shout It Out Loud 45 single. The tour to support the record was relatively short and consisted of a two month tour that started in July and was made up of 35 dates, Cleveland towards the end.
There are a couple of prior releases of this concert, The Spirit of 1976 (KICL 3976) and Shout it Out Loud (AH CD 022 of Aces High Sound Production) both feature the excellent soundboard recording used for this release. The soundboard is what is referred to as bare boned, the audience is very low in the mix and from time to time the balance moves around a little but all instruments and vocals are well represented and reminds me of the Toronto SB from this tour although not near as fluctuating as that one.
There is a very small amount of a metallic sound between songs but is barley noticeable but is worth mentioning and does not detract from the listening experience of my enjoyment of it, all in all excellent sound.
The concert begins with the great opening combo of Detroit rock city and King Of The Night Time World, just as they do on the Destroyer album. To coin a phrase from the Zep community the band play in a tight but loose fashion and fully believe the importance of a concert being visual as much as an audio experience. Paul greets the audience “Alright Cleveland…” before launching into the rollicking Let Me Go, Rock And Roll. I love Ace’s playing on this song, his solo’s are on the money and the tempo never slows.
The middle section of the show flows effortlessly, the Klassics start with Strutter (interesting to hear the song mid set) and Paul uses his “Going to be a HOT Night…” rap before Hotter Than Hell that interesting enough leads into Nothin’ To Lose. The songs raunchy lyrics are beautifully sung by Gene and Peter, again vocals are of great importance to KISS.
Cold Gin is next complete with a Paul rap about “feeling High” and Hitting the bottle” and the crowd is very vocal and you can clearly hear them shout “Cold Gin”. The song leads into a great solo by Ace, his playing is fluent and employs a variety of effect that give him the spaced out sound.
The new songs from Destroyer are very strong live, the anthem Shout It Out Loud leads to a great Do You Love Me, again displaying the use of vocal interplay the band perfected and lastly God Of Thunder a perfect Gene song and set highlight thanks to the blood spewing Demon.
Deuce light a fire under the crowds ass, a song for me that deserves its place in every KISS concert. Paul talks about how Cleveland has always been good to KISS (part of the ALIVE! record was recorded there) and talks about getting the place so hot they call out the Firehouse. Black Diamond finishes the show in typical fashion.
The packaging employed by Strutter Productions is very simple, a cheap piece of cardboard with pictures from the era and a plastic tray to house the cd. As the concert has not been available on CD for some time this budget style release is worth picking up.