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KISS: Off the Soundboard-Des Moines (Live)

Full admission: Until 2020, when the pandemic hit, I thought Kiss was a joke. I grew up in the Crazy Nights and Hot in the Shade era. To me, “classic” Kiss was a very faint memory. I recall, only very vaguely, the pre-Dynasty period.

During COVID, I was looking for “new” things to listen to. Kiss was among them. I wanted to know why Kiss had been such a cultural phenomenon in the mid- to late 1970s, especially in the metro Detroit area, where I grew up. So, I started listening to some of the many Kiss podcasts. And then I started to get some of their music. I started with Alive and Alive II. I went back and bought the first six albums, from which the tracks on those live albums are drawn. And then I worked my way forward.

I finally got it. Kiss was not a joke. At least not then. Maybe later. But certainly not from 1974-1977. And they weren’t a caricature of themselves, as they are now, in my view.

Recently, Kiss has started its “Off the Soundboard” series. The releases have been mixed. But I recommend this one without reservation. Sure, the track listing is similar to what you get on the “live” part of Alive II, but the performances are better. And you don’t have to mess around with the studio tracks on side four of Alive II, which, granted, include “Rocket Ride” and “All American Man,” both of which I really like. But the other three songs are just clunkers, in my view.

The sound quality is pretty good and you get the experience of actually being there in 1977, Paul’s ridiculous stage raps and all. Yeah, there are bum notes here and there and you can tell that Peter’s skills are already diminishing, but it’s the real deal. And it’s great.

Will I listen to Alive II again after hearing this? Maybe. But I’m more likely to pull it out just for the incredible packaging.

Oh, and I wish I wasn’t so foolish before. I had a chance to see Kiss at Tiger Stadium in 1996, but turned down the ticket.

Track Listing:
1. I Stole Your Love
2. King of the Night Time World
3. Ladies Room
4. Firehouse
5. Love Gun
6. Let Me Go, Rock N' Roll
7. Makin' Love
8. Christine Sixteen
9. Shock Me
10. I Want You
11. Calling Dr. Love
12. Shout It Out Loud
13. God of Thunder
14. Rock and Roll All Nite
15. Detroit Rock City
16. Beth
17. Black Diamond

Added: September 17th 2022
Reviewer: Aaron Steelman
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 715
Language: english

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