– 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?
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