War Machine Definitive Master Edition (Eat A Peach EAT 70/71)
Forum De Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada – March 13, 1984
Disc 1 (56:58) Radio Commercial, Introduction, Creatures Of The Night, Detroit Rock City, Cold Gin, Fits Like A Glove, Firehouse, Paul Stanley Guitar Solo, Gimme More, Vinnie Vincent Guitar Solo, War Machine, Gene Simmons Bass Solo, I Love It Loud, I Still Love You
Disc 2 (61:56) Eric Carr Drum Solo, Young And Wasted, Love Gun, All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose, Black Diamond, Lick It Up, Rock And Roll All Nite, Interview With Paul Stanley
When KISS made the decision to remove the make up, their plan of it re inventing the group in the public’s eye was a calculated move that paid off in spades. While their previous effort, Creatures Of The Night was an extremely strong record, the band could not buy publicity, the album released sans make up went gold, the first one since 1980’s Unmasked and proving what Paul Stanley said on numerous occasions, people hear with their eyes. While the media exposure was positive, the band was on MTV and a strong new album but this did not equate to ticket sales and surprisingly the tour was one of the band’s poorest in terms of attendance. In hindsight, Lick It Up is what saved KISS’ music career and a pivotal moment in KISSTORY, and now we can take a look back in time, more than thirty years ago to 1984.
The subject of this new release is a recording from late in the Lick It Up tour, in fact they had just two dates left after this one. With the majority of bootlegs from this tour focusing on the Soundboard recordings, there are a scant few from the audience, so this is a much needed, and welcomed release. This audience recording is very good, near excellent, a bit distant with a good balance of instruments and vocals, there is a small amount of hiss during quieter moments and the frequency range is great, do not hesitate, turn this up loud for the full effect. There has not been any compact discs releases of this concert but there have been a couple on vinyl, Whites Of Their Eyes (Reformation Records RSR-211 A/B/C/D), and its extremely rare reissue War Machine (red and black labels 841.303 – M-I A/B/C/D) from which this new release takes its name and cover art. This new release is sourced from the master tape and includes a couple unique bonus tracks, first the radio ad for the concert, and secondly is an interview supposedly done by the taper with Paul in the afternoon prior to the concert!
The radio ad is excellent, I can remember recording such things off the radio all the time (as well as cut concert adds from the paper) and this is an excellent way to start the show! The band hit the stage with a stunning salvo of Creatures into Detroit Rock City. KISS Mark III was a power house, the enthusiasm of the “new blood” help bring the 8 year old classic from Destroyer to a metallic life it had not know prior. Paul speaks a bit of French to open up to the crowd and does a cool rap based on the weather to intro Cold Gin. While the arena is only half filled, the ones who are there sound loud enough to make the arena sound full, they are passionately behind the band as they crank through a blistering Fits Like A Glove and Firehouse. Paul takes his solo first, and does a bit of improvised audience participation to the willing fan base. Vinnie takes his solo during Gimme More, I am a huge fan of his time in KISS, IMO he was the only guitar player after Ace to really put his own style into his playing, while I like the others who followed him they kind of kept close to the feel of what Ace did, Vinnie threw the book out of the window so to speak, his solo is a perfect example. An always heavy War Machine follows, full of balls and swagger the band play into its nice deep groove and the song together with I Love It Loud sandwich a Gene solo and the heaviest part of the show. Vinnie lays a Killer (Yes, pun intended) solo on the former. I really like Gene’s solo on this tape, he goes through a couple riffs versus a bunch of elephant fart noises and is the perfect segue into an equally heavy I Love It Loud, the audience roar their approval. The first disc is closed out by Paul’s dark power ballad I Still Love You, again what a great song and while the band are at the end of the tour, the energy and passion is in every note.
The metallic sound of a tank starts the second disc, fans know they used the same set as the previous tour that consisted of a tank motif with Carr’s drums as the turret. Eric plays a simply wonderful solo, he goes all over his kit with great long fills accented by all these little beats making for a percussive smorgasbord. Gene and Vinnie do a call and response thing in Young And Wasted that is pretty cool, Paul does a Klassic rap about going to the Doctor as a prelude to, you guessed it Love Gun. As we have heard, the band’s set is made up of about two thirds of newer material, with good reason. Seven of the ten songs on Lick It Up would be included in the set list at one point or another, a song that made the second half of the tour was also the second single, All Hell’s Breakin’ Lose, not only does the audience love it, it is great live, the band keep it the same tempo and also get into a bit of a sing along also. Paul plays a snippet of the Rolling Stones’ Angie, just fooling around a bit before playing the first notes of Black Diamond. Eric gets a lead vocal for the song that is played at a bit faster tempo with Vinnie again ripping a killer solo amid the furious drumming of Eric Carr that makes for a powerful version of the set ending Klassic. Paul and Gene both thank the audience, Paul gives a heartfelt thanks to the loyal fans prior to the first encore of Lick It Up and Rock And Roll All Nite finishes the concert in typical KISS fashion. A very well played and enjoyable concert.
The interview with Paul Stanley clocks in at just over 19 minutes and sounds like it is done backstage as there seems to be some activity going on in the background. The interviewer asks Paul some really interesting questions with subjects including the recent tour, The Elder (where Paul has some positive comments on the record), filming of live concerts including the 76 Anaheim concert, possible acting gigs in the future (an interesting question since Gene was starting a film career), their musical influence on the then current music scene, European tours, and some of the now famous bands that had opened for KISS in the 70’s. A really nice interview with Paul who speaks very eloquently and down to earth, this is a very nice edition to this set.
The packaging is what we have to come to expect from the Eat A Peach folks, mini LP style cover that takes the front and back cover from the vinyl release of the same name. The discs have pictures on them, the first is title War, the second Machine and the Cd sleeves have Klassic pictures from the era, an MTV glammed up KISS for sure and there is an insert with liner notes from Ron Rozzburgh who ran an old KISS 80’s fanzine called Firehouse. Another excellent package from the label that is quickly becoming a fan favorite do to their commitment to the collector, it is quite obvious that they are fans of the music. Last words, get this and turn it up LOUD!