The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Part 34:
At last, we are at the end of the Crazy Nights era. Radio broadcasts are the next best thing to a bootleg. Actually, strike that. Radio broadcast CDs are often better than bootlegs. The audio is usually decent because it’s a professionally recorded broadcast. They are almost always cheaper than an equivalent bootleg CD too. Broadcast discs are easily found on various Amazon sites and all over Ebay. Thanks to their abundance, sometimes you can even choose from multiple releases of the same concerts.
One such show is Kiss’ 1988 performance at the Ritz in New York in 1988. It’s a tight, hot Crazy Nights recording, but there are pros and cons to the different releases. There was a 2013 Gold Fish release of the Ritz concert, called The Ritz on Fire, reviewed here. Fans immediately noted that “Reason to Live” was missing, although others had “Reason to Live” on different releases. In fact The Ritz on Fire is missing two songs: “Bang Bang You” is the other.
To get all the songs, one recommended version is the 4 CD set The Very Best of Kiss – Radio Waves 1974-1988. Inside you will get:
- Disc 1: Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, April 1 1974. We reviewed a better version of this show with bonus tracks from ABC In Concert and the Mike Douglas Show.
- Discs 2 & 3: Animalize Live Uncensored 1985. Missing some of the stage raps, but including all the songs from the original VHS release.
- Disc 4: The Ritz NYC 1988. All the songs, but missing some of the stage raps.
Nothing’s perfect. These broadcasts are quirky that way. You can buy Radio Waves 1974-1988 to get all the songs from the Ritz show, but not all of Paul’s stage raps. You could, of course, compile the best of the two versions together into one custom complete concert. The sound quality is virtually the same. What about an official release? The only Kiss-produced media of this concert is a rare 11 song bonus DVD that came with Kissology Vol. 2, but only at US Best Buy.
Regardless of which version you buy, this concert has a good reputation with fans and it is easy to hear why. Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick rose to the challenge and gave a Kiss a hard, professional sheen. Meanwhile, behind the curtain stood Gary Corbett, thickening up the sound with additional keyboards and backing vocals. Paul Stanley was in his prime, hitting notes only dogs could hear. Meanwhile Gene Simmons was present in body if not spirit. Notably, “Shout it Out Loud” was performed at the Ritz, making it a rare 80s appearance of that song. “Dr. Love” was also something of a rarity at the time.
Choose according to your own preferences, but don’t be afraid to pick up some version of Kiss at the Ritz.
Original mikeladano.com review: 2014/01/27