REVIEW: KISS – Off The Soundboard – Poughkeepsie NY 11.26.1984

 – Off the Soundboard – Poughkeepsie NY 11.26.1984 (2023 Universal)

Are you getting sick of reading all the same complaints about the new Kiss Off the Soundboard CD from Poughkeepsie NY 1984, the fifth in this series?

Me too!

If you can’t appreciate the historical value of a Mark St. John show with Kiss, then I can’t help you.

If you didn’t know Kiss played these songs at lightspeed in the 1980s, then you never saw Animalize Live Uncensored.

And if you don’t know what an official bootleg is, then this CD is not for you anyway.

Actually, the only thing I’m really sick of is typing “Poughkeepsie”!

There are Kiss bootlegs with Mark floating around out there.  I can’t vouch for the audio quality on those.  This, I can tell you, is soundboard quality, which in my opinion is the best way to hear a live album.  Unpolished, the way it was that night on the board.  I love hearing the band make mistakes.  I have no problem with the fact you can barely hear the bass on some tracks, and too much on others.  The vocals are clear and each member is distinct in their singing.  Whether you think Paul is too “erratic” or not, that’s personal taste.

The setlist is similar to Animalize Live.  You won’t hear any Animalize deep cuts that were not on that video.  Two songs are incomplete (“Young and Wasted” and “Rock and Roll all Nite”) due to tape issues but are included for their historical significance.  No issues here.  In fact, “Rock and Roll all Nite” might be better this way…it often drags on too long at the end of a show!

The jazz-influenced Mark definitely added his own style and twists to the solos, even simple ones like “Detroit Rock City”.  There, he inserted an extra note or two to make it his.  Mark was a shredder, and that was the direction Kiss wanted to go in at that time.  It was the 80s.  Bands had to have shredders if they wanted the kids to take them seriously.  Mark wasn’t even Kiss’ first shredder, but he was certainly unique.  There’s a lot of whammy bar, and some pretty wicked licks on songs like “Fits Like a Glove”.  Now, before you get too excited, the “Guitar Solo” listed on the back cover is Paul Stanley’s familiar solo that he was playing during that era.

Mark aside, Eric Carr is a star on this album.  He was a busier drummer than Peter Criss and he goes to town on songs like “Cold Gin” and “Under the Gun”.  Fox fans will not want to miss this CD in their collection.  Peak Eric.  His drum solo will be familiar, yet will also most likely sound better than any version you currently own.  Unfortunately he stops singing on part of “Young and Wasted”, which is one of the partial songs anyway, so no big deal.  We have him singing that on Animalize Live.

Paul Stanley’s performance is pure rock and roll, and especially expressive on “I Still Love You”, but many have complained about the F-bombs dropped during his intro to “Love Gun”.  Hey…check out the Animalize Live version for something naughtier than an F-bomb!

If you’re Kiss collector, this is ending up in your library regardless.  Choose your format and go wild like the animals.

3.5/5 stars for the quality

3.5/5 stars as a “Kiss show”

5/5 stars for historical value and significance to the Kiss army



  1. Paul does swear a lot at this show. Hearing a mostly complete show with Mark is pretty wicked. I did get my hopes up when I saw guitar solo on the back and it was Paul’s noodling, not Mark. Bruce may have been a better fit after all.

    Off topic: I don’t know if we’ve already discussed this or not, but wouldn’t Harrison look great as a goth vampire? He won’t indulge me by wearing eyeliner and pancake makeup. A long cape is also necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review and spot on. You are hitting all the points I was planning on hitting when I review. It is great show and typical of the time so no complaints. I have a bootleg from around that time, I saw that tour and the Animalize Live video so I have this tour covered well in my collection.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you summed it up really well. I personally like soundboard and radio broadcast shows, because, as you said, they sound more “real” than official live albums full of overdubs and production tricks. I’m glad so much of this sort of material is coming out these days, sometimes even in official releases like these Kiss soundboards, or the Portland 1982 soundboard show included in the last Mob Rules re-release.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marc! Thank you! I must tell you that reader reaction to this review has been unanimous. Which makes me happy. I know a guy who worked on this series (credited on all the recent Kiss releases) and he would be happy to see these comments.

      Ack Mob Rules! I keep forgetting I need those Sabbath reissues! And now Live Evil too! I just can’t afford everything but Sabbath is one of those bands I have to have everything.


      1. Please keep doing reviews as time and mental state allows. I’m glad your head seems to be getting to a good space, and your wife is doing better.

        About newly-issued old shows, for me the Kiss Des Moines soundboard has basically replaced Alive II. The live material with recent remasters of Moving Pictures and Permanent Waves mean I may never listen to Exit Stage Left again (I know we discussed this briefly, last year). The official live albums are just too polished and processed to my ears, which have had their perspective altered by listening to plenty of raw Black Metal albums lol.

        Live Evil is a bit different. I always enjoyed it because Dio’s vocals sound great. But the Portland show is a nice indicator of how it all probably sounded before some studio trickery was applied. Wyn Davis did a great job mixing and mastering the Fresno 1983 show on the Holy Diver Super Deluxe Edition, so I hope and expect his new mix for Live Evil will be worthwhile.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I wrote a new review yesterday! It will be up soon.

          Des Moines has also replaced the 3 lives sides of Alive II for me. I can’t wait to rock it at the lake this summer. Next time perhaps!


  4. Great review Mike. I really love the rawness of this release too. I didn’t know about Paul doing the guitar solo. Mark St John’s story is a tragic tale. I’m just really glad they acknowledged him this way. My favourite of the Soundboard series so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This review is right on the money! Not sure why people are getting their panties in a bunch over this particular release more than the other ones. Maybe some people just had unrealistic expectations, for some reason. I’m listening to the Soundboard back to back with Animalize this morning! Great reason to revisit the era! Totally reminds me of getting on the bus after school as a teenager in 1984 and going downtown to my local record store to grab Animalize on it’s day of release, and anticipating getting it home and tearing the shrinkwrap off to give it it’s first spin!

    Liked by 1 person

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