The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Part 32:
Oh, live bootlegs! A fascinating and labyrinthine assortment of live Kiss bootlegs are out there, but don’t always expect the covers and song titles to match the actual contents! Kiss didn’t release a live album from the Crazy Nights tour, as was expected by many fans. An old Faces magazine from 1986 proclaimed, “Already there is talk of the next studio album, and Alive III.” Instead we have numerous bootlegs from this period to sift through.
This CD is without any notes, but fans pieced together that it’s Schweinfurt, Germany, August 27 1988. Kiss opened with “Deuce” rather than “Detroit”, and the energy is electric. Bruce Kulick did a fine job of adapting his style to the old Kiss songs, and “Deuce” demonstrates that Bruce really was the right guy for the band. He’s awesome but he plays for the song and not himself. “Love Gun” is next, truly an awesome song, and with Paul at the peak of his vocal prowess, it rarely sounds better. Meanwhile, Eric Carr sings the backing vocals impeccably, but there’s an annoying electronic drum that he hits at the end of it, a very 80s touch that wasn’t necessary.
The Kiss classics you’ve heard a million times are great as always, but what about the newer material from Crazy Nights? It takes a while to get there. “No No No” and “Crazy Crazy Nights” are crammed back to back in the middle of the set. “No No No” acts as Bruce’s big solo too, which is fantastic, but the song isn’t. It’s a shambles, as if they don’t know exactly how to play it. “Crazy Crazy Nights” is much better, almost a classic. They follow that up with the also-recent “Tears are Falling”.
One cool surprise is a bit of “Heartbreaker” right before “Fits Like a Glove” which is strangely split up between two tracks. Another surprise is obtrusive keyboards. Since Kiss had an offstage keyboardist now, maybe they felt like they had to use him on songs like “Cold Gin” that totally do not need keyboards. In fact it’s like oil and water. The keyboards roll off the rock and roll like an annoying rain storm.
The CD has some audio issues, odd noises here and there. Ignore the track list on the back which is nonsense. You’ll find the real track information below for your convenience. At least the back cover credited keyboardist Gary Corbett, surely a rarity. For a real howler though, check out the front cover. That’s not Bruce, and that’s not 1988!
With all respect to Ace Frehley, the originator and influencer, I think Bruce Kulick is the finest guitar player that Kiss ever had. His solo career is certainly worth investigating, and so is live Kiss from his time in the band. Monsters of Rock is difficult to recommend over others, but if you find it within your price range, go for it.