Let me tell you, it’s been awhile since I honestly thought that KISS did something right. KISS has become known more for taking merchandising to a whole new level including Coffeehouses, perfume and caskets. You kind of forget that there’s actually a band behind it all. What has long been promised has now been delivered. KISS has claimed to have been working on releasing their vintage shows for years now, and finally, they haven’t skimped. This collection contains more than 6 hours of material including 4 complete live shows from back when they were a hungry band hell bent on taking over the world.
Sure, most KISS collectors have seen this material before, and maybe even in better quality versions, but for the average KISS fan, this collection is a dream come true. There are shows from the Hotter Than Hell, Alive!, Rock and Roll Over and Love Gun tours as well as TV appearance and rare footage. Watching the Winterland show proves how great of a drummer Peter Criss once was. It’s also weird seeing a KISS show that predates “Rock and Roll All Night.” It’s also interesting to see the band getting along so well both at shows and backstage. Also, be sure to watch Gene Simmons sing the lyrics to “Rock and Roll All Nite” over the music to “Let Me Go, Rock and Roll” on the Cobo Hall show.
The quality is great considering the age of the performances. It’s cool to hear the band actually LIVE as opposed to all of the Alive albums which contained massive overdubs. The inclusion of stuff that even the collectors haven’t seen is amazing. First, there’s the footage of and unreleased song “Acrobat” being performed. While it’s not complete, it is incredible to see footage from the KISS tour. In addition, the easter eggs are enough to warrant the ridiculously low price of $19.99. On disc 1, there’s 1973 rough footage of KISS performing “Deuce” at the Coventry club. Even at this early club show, the band had most of their signature moves and the performance is as tight as it ever was. It’s easy to see why they blew away the other bands on the New York club circuit. Disc 2 has incredibly rough footage of an unmasked KISS “jamming” on “Rock and Roll All Nite” and “Shout it Out Loud.” There’s also a mini commentary from Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons at the start of each segment discussing various aspects of the band’s history.
The first pressing of the set contains a bonus disc. Depending on where you get it, you’ll get New York ’77 (Best Buy), Cobo Hall ’76 (different night-most retaliers), and the previously uncirculated Largo ’77 (Wal-mart). That Largo ’77 show should have replaced Houston ’77 on the actual collection. Despite not being the complete show, it blows away Houston in terms of audio/visual quality. As much as I hate to promote them, if you’re going to get the set, you owe it to yourself to pick it up at Wal-mart.
All told, this is an amazing set for under $20. Every KISS fan needs to add this to their collection. This has got me highly anticipating Vol. 2 and 3.