REVIEW: KISS – Unholy Kisses (1992 bootleg)

UNHOLY KISSES_0002KISS – Unholy Kisses (Audience recorded bootleg, 1992 Flashback)

“You know who we are, let’s kick some ass!”

That’s how Paul Stanley introduced the legendary Kiss on their stripped-down 1992 club tour, April 23 1992 in San Francisco.  The Revenge album was a “reboot” of sorts, out of necessity.  New drummer, new attitude, and a return to the producer (Bob Ezrin) who helped make them huge.  A return to the clubs without the lights, stage show, and costumes helped Kiss transition into the 90’s.  If this one bootleg CD is any indication, then the club tour was a huge success.

Eschewing their normal opening routine, the band entered to the sound of “Love Gun”, but heavier than ever.  Many fans consider the Simmons/Stanley/Kulick/Singer lineup to be among their best, and this live bootleg proves why.  In fantastic voice, Paul leads this devastating lineup to demolish the clubs in their wake.  Full of adrenaline, “Love Gun” is faster than its studio counterpart, and Bruce Kulick creates his own individual guitar solo that fits the track.

Gene’s next on “Deuce”, the new lineup infusing it with menace.  The CD, though obviously a bootleg, sounds great.  Even though the drums are a bit distant you can hear that Eric Singer has come into the band paying homage to the drum parts he inherited.  Then Paul takes a moment to tell the audience that they’ve been so fired up about the way Kiss have been sounding, that they just got to come down to San Fransisco and play.  A rough opening to “Heaven’s On Fire” is a mere hiccup after they get going on the hit single.  For the first time you can clearly hear new guy Eric Singer singing background vocals.

“You ready to hear something old? One of those Kiss klassics?  Bruce – let ’em have a taste.”  Then the shocked audience picked up their jaws as Kiss slammed through “Parasite” for the first time since 1976.  Returning to songs like this was critical for a band who spent the 80’s largely ignoring the deep cuts.

UNHOLY KISSES_0001One thing I love about bootleg CDs is the chance to overhear some audience chatter.  “Shout it Out Loud” however is marred by one nearby fan who keeps singing “You got to have a party,” even when that’s not the current part of the song!  Minor beef, as “Shout it Out Loud” rocks and is another song that was tragically ignored during most of the 80’s.

“How many of you people have Kiss Alive?  Gene must know this one.  Gene’s got Kiss Alive.  Goes like this!”  There begins “Strutter” (also from the first Kiss album) and the crowd goes nuts.  “Dr. Love” follows, with Eric Singer showing off some fancy footwork on the double bass drums.

Fans who were shocked by these old tunes must really have lost their minds when “I Was Made For Loving You”, heavy as hell, tore through the club.  “I Was Made For Loving You” was re-imagined as a chugging metal track and in the club environment, it’s only more raw and aggressive.  Then Paul lets another bomb drop when he introduces “100,000 years” from the first album.  “Oh my God!  I don’t fucking believe it! I do not fucking believe it!” says one nearby fan, obviously excited by this rarity.  It’s incredible how well Bruce and Eric adapted to the sound of old raunchy Kiss.

But what of new Kiss?  The band weren’t ready to start unveiling all the new songs, as Revenge hadn’t even come out yet.  They did roll out two: the first single “Unholy”, and album cut “Take it Off”.

“We got a new album about to come out,” begins Paul.  “And I’ll tell you something, this album is the shit.  I’ll tell you, this album is our fuckin’ Revenge and when you hear the album you’ll know what I’m talking about.”  Indeed, as promised the new songs kick ass, though “Unholy” is kind of awkward in the live setting.  “Take it Off” is more like Kiss.

It’s all oldies from here.   Aside from the new Revenge songs, the most recent track that Kiss played here was “Heaven’s On Fire” from 1984!  (Note: this CD is not the full concert and 1985’s “Tears are Falling” was also played that night.)  I think it’s safe to say that Paul and Gene understand some of the errors in direction they made over the last 10 years, and successfully steered the ship back on track.  “Firehouse” and “Cold Gin” from the first album are present. “I Stole Your Love”, “Detroit Rock City”, and “I Want You” close the CD.  “I Stole Your Love” with the backing vocals of Eric Singer is top-notch!

The songs played that night that aren’t on this CD are “God of Thunder”, “Lick It Up”, “Got Gave Rock and Roll to You II” (its live debut), “Rock and Roll all Nite” and the aforementioned “Tears Are Falling”.  Too bad this is only a single CD bootleg, but bootlegs were so expensive that a double would have cost at least $60-80.  If it was a double, I never would have bought it and heard what I have of this awesome show!

4.5/5 stars

UNHOLY KISSES_0003

CD KISStitics

Songs:

  • 5 from Kiss (1974)
  • 2 from Destroyer (1976)
  • 2 from Rock and Roll Over (1976)
  • 2 from Love Gun (1977)
  • 2 from Revenge (1992)
  • 1 from Hotter Than Hell (1974)
  • 1 from Dynasty (1979)
  • 1 from Animalize (1984)
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21 comments

      1. Spreadsheets & Fun are not mutually exclusive in my books! You’ve given me an idea – I think for the next live album I look at, I’ll do a pie chart with the % of tracks broken down by studio album!

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  1. You know Mikey I kinda miss this period of the band (1992) at the time I guess you could say I took advantage of them always being around back than! But that’s a great set list for sure! They should just rub off the greasepaint and do another club run with Kulick and do this kinda stuff ….but man the return haul of $$$$ is way too low now for Simmons and Stanley to do a club run whereas back in 92 they had to battle all the other acts out there for attention!
    Shame really…..
    Well written Boss!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I miss it too.

      I think the only way I could see a Bruce return to the band is if they embark on a massive fairwell tour with portions of the show with past members. It would be cool to start the show as unmasked Kiss (do a tribute to Eric Singer) and end with the original lineup. Kinda how Helix did their anniversary show.

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  2. Very cool. I never got much into buying bootlegs, assuming poor sound quality on them. I don’t think you mentioned it here, does it sound OK? Or is it tinny/crappy/far away/distorted like a lot of boots I’ve heard?

    It’s funny, around this time I was grooving to Harry Connick Jr and Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane, but I listened to this when a buddy bought it on cassette and remember finding something satisfying in the crunch of it. Your use of the word heavy is very apt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t get into it but yes, the CD sounds pretty good. Aside from those moments I mentioned like the guy singing “Got to have a party…” during the wrong parts of the song. Sonically it’s good enough, probably a bit bass heavy but anyone can EQ it down. You can hear the instruments and singing, it’s just very LOUD.

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      1. Haha true you did mention the guy in the crowd…

        Loud? KISS? Nooooo… ;)

        I have a bootleg of the Pearl Jam show I saw in 1998, and it must’ve been recorded with a microcassette recorder – so bad. And all I can hear is the Wahoos! of the crowd with occasional moments of music. I should review that.

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      2. Yeah it was tough giving those up, but I still have a few of them here. I tried to keep the ones that had rare covers or lesser-played tracks on them. I have them playing a Tom Waits tag on the end of Elderly Woman… in Norway! ;) The rest, well, one city or another, how many version of Even Flow does one man need when there are other bills to pay?

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  3. That sounds really good – bootlegs are so random though, some sound so great and some are bog awful. I used to have a bunch of old Marillion ones on cassette, all now gone. My uncle had a bunch of Iron Maiden vinyl ones from Eastern Europe from about 1983 – they’re worth a fortune now apparently and really great quality.

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    1. Madness!

      A buddy of mine had a bootleg/radio promo disc. He was told by the person who sold it, “Play this once and keep it safe.” I told him, “If you ever sell it, TELL ME FIRST!”

      He fucking sold it without telling me!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah, see that’s the confusion. My family was transplanted to Sicily. I have a post coming in a few days called “Ladano” that will touch upon this heritage. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of my family ever weilded a shotgun like the guys in Godfather Part II.

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