KISS – Off The Soundboard, Tokyo 2001: Album Review

The hottest band in the world – that’s Kiss if you had any doubts – dig into their archive.

Release date: 11th June 2021

Label: UMC-Mercury

Format: CD / vinyl / DL

Ah Kiss…. The memories… I remember being intrigued as a youngster by Kiss. The logo and the make up. The classic Alive record and eventually taking my son to see the band in 2010 and several years later having the privilege to shoot from the pit in Manchester. And yes, it was hot – we weren;t allowed in until the band had descended from the roof, the curtains cleared and the explosions had gone off.

The band who remain forever on their Farewell Tour are now launching their new official live bootleg series. Th elate great Lemmy may have declared “Rock and roll is not Kiss” but they sure know how to put on a show. No one can deny that despite the fact that the quartet aren’t exactly musicians of the highest calibre, their rock and roll comic book capers can’t be matched.

They may have had their fair share of live albums (I really enjoyed the Symphony: Alive IV album btw) but we’re now digging into the archive. Coincidentally, I’d just watched Kiss Rocks Vegas having stumbled upon it on one of the Sky channels and becoming engrossed, so it’s apt that we should strike while the iron’s hot, or at least lukewarm compared with the hottest band in the world.

Recorded at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan on March 13, 2001, the 21-track show is a celebration of the band’s musical legacy pretty much as you’d expect. Co-founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are upfront and centre with Ace Frehley on guitar and Eric Singer on drums (who’d replaced Peter Criss two months prior). And you know the script – You wanted the best, you got the best – the hottest band in the world…. you can hear the explosions and fireworks. A reminder that Kiss live isn’t just about the music – the songs are just the gateway to the spectacle

In amidst the opening excitement of the classics Detroit Rock City and Deuce, a few curveballs come such as the rarity of I Still Love You from 1982’s Creatures Of The Night. The incredible 55,000 strong Japanese audience are past their days of sitting politely and awaiting the entertainment. Well versed in the way of Kiss, they gleefully sing along with Lick It Up. It’s all orchestrated by a well-rehearsed showbiz OTT and hammed-up song intros from Paul Stanley that mainly involve whipping up the excitement even before a note is played. All part of the service ladies and gentlemen.

In between the songs comes plenty of rabble-rousing and triumphant talking of the “we’re so glad to be here tonight / I need to hear you say ‘YEEAAAHHH‘” variety. Of course, they provide the pause points – the get your breath back points – to the musical set-pieces. I Was Made For Lovin’ You / I Wanna Rock And Roll All Nite bring the set to a close after visits to Love Gun, Shout It Out Loud and the obligatory solo slots – best seen and not necessarily heard. While some music comes over in a carefully constructed art form, Kiss presents the alternative version.

And that’s the crux of any live album, a Kiss one in particular. The music is only half the story with the visual element being so powerful. But – if you were there (and the term ‘you had to be there’ is never more apt) then any official bootleg/recording of the event is the ultimate souvenir. Watch out for a desk recording of Kiss in YOUR town!

Here’s I Was Made For Lovin’ You from the album:

Kiss online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube

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