KISS Off The Sound Board Series: Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Des Moines, IA 1977 Album Review!
Understand that I am going to be biased here as I am a diehard fan. This is my favorite era of the band as I was just a teen at this point and they were everything to me at the time. The first thing that makes this a real gem is you get the actual setlist and order of that tour as opposed to the one you got on “Kiss Alive II”. If you aren’t familiar with the sound board series, it’s like it states the concerts as is, warts and all from that particular show. It makes this much more realistic since nothing is supposedly doctored on this. It certainly doesn’t sound like anyone changed anything in this release.
The album opens with I Stole Your Love. A classic, yes and to me such a cool way to start the show versus the standard fare they give us now. I’m not going through every track here. If you are a fan of the band you know these songs which are all now historic in the bands catalog. Instead I’m just going to point out the differences and/or highlights from the record versus the “Kiss Alive II” album that signified the tour. For example Hard Luck Woman and Tomorrow And Tonight don’t appear on this record. But you do get the actual setlist they used. They only have four songs from “Alive I” to compare too. On a side note, when you listen to Ladies Room, pay attention to the third verse as Gene Simmons ad libs a line. What this proves is that this a true to form, caught in the act live album.
As I stated earlier, I think it’s how cool that you get to hear the sound of everything as if you were there. I don’t want that to go unnoticed. When you consider all the moving and actions they take on stage, it’s pretty amazing that they are still able to maintain the integrity of the songs. That being said, they seem to be moving along at a much quicker pace. I’ll try not to give any spoilers as I go through the record. The banter is a highlight, as it’s not the polished up versions we know of. We also get Paul Stanley talking to the crowd on songs like Christine Sixteen that we hadn’t heard. I also like the was they do the encore for Black Diamond in all the times I have seen KISS, I never heard them be announced like that for an encore.
The true hero on this album is Ace Frehley, his playing is superb and not far behind him is Peter Criss. Musically, the record holds its own. You get all the pyro and the solos. You really do get a feeling of what it would be like if you were there. To my surprise it sounded better than I anticipated, seriously, they captured the show in rare fashion. Overall, I think most fans of the era will enjoy this. You get to feel a bit nostalgic and reminisce. I just wish we had the performance film with it. Check out I Stole Your Love below.