REVIEW: KISS – Monsters of Rock (live 1988 bootleg)

The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Part 32

 – Monsters of Rock (Mistral Music bootleg from 1988 tour)

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.

3/5 stars

 

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22 comments

  1. I saw KISS on this tour, Donington 1988. I thought they were okay, nothing to get over excited about. Thinking about my last post, if you are actually putting a band of underrated musicians together, from what I read here, I think you’ve got your guitarist. Bruce is definitely underrated.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I need to start picking these bootlegs up. I have never been into them, but I am to the point now where I want anything from Kiss and especially live shows from that time as those were the shows I went to. I will definitely grab one the next time I see one. And amazing on the cover…not the sharpest tool in the shed put that together.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Probably a good idea. I saw one out the last time at this one place, but didn’t grab it and I wanted to. If it is still there, I might just have to grab it. I wish I could remember which one and then I could just ask you if it was one you had heard.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Were they asking a lot for it?

          One bootleg I would love to get — missing from my collection — would be a show with the lineup of Stanley/Simmons/Singer/Frehley. They did one brief tour and I have nothing from that lineup.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. KK, do you REALLY wanna know? I was thinking about writing a full post about it.

      I’m not happy. I have been looking forward to that box set since he announced it in 2003-ish. I am a KISS FAN and I want those songs. Especially the three Van Halen songs. I have been collecting Kiss bootlegs and now I want official releases of those demos.

      Which I cannot have. Because Gene has decided to price this out of the range of every normal fan who isn’t rich. And the more expensive packages are just ridiculous. I just want the box set. I don’t need a 26 pound safe. Why can’t he just release it normally? I’m pissed.

      Would you like to read a full post on this?

      Like

      1. definitely would like a full post. I’m kinda tempted about the cheapest option but it’s still too much. To me the cheapest option 2000 dollars with the meet and greet along with other buyer’s from the same area isn’t so bad.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The bootleggers couldn’t find a photo from 1988 for the cover? Instead we get Vinnie Vincent. Maybe this makes up for the fact that Vinnie didn’t make it on either of the album covers of his finest studio work with Kiss, Creatures of The Night.

    Like

  4. Interesting to hear Kulick’s name as the best guitarist. It would be neat to see a poll of Kiss fans as to who they’d choose as the best guitarist or drummer.
    Not which band lineup they’d want to see, but which musician was the best.
    THere’s a weezer tune, In the garage, where Rivers sings, “I’ve got Ace Frehley, I’ve got Peter Criss” and that’s likely what I’d be tempted to pick, but maybe that’s just because they’re name checked by Rivers!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Any time between 1974 and 1977, I’d pick Ace and Peter too. With all deference to Ace (who did a tune last night with his old band, Frehley’s Comet!) who is the Spaceman himself, Kulick is a more schooled player and that’s what appeals to me.

      As for Peter, on the reunion tour, he was but a shadow of his former self. It was hard to watch him play simplified versions of drum parts, using electronic samples to beef up his snare drum sound. and he lost all the feel. It was all gone :(

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ha…love the back cover! Imagine if KISS actually put Corbetts name on the back of an album. Simmons would have went bat shit crazy!
    Nice writeup….
    Kiss could rake in a bunch of dough if they probably released some of these 80’s show…speaking of which…check you inbox…

    Like

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