What’s better than KISS?
Everyone needs their own in-the-flesh KISS concert experience. Not only will it forever intensify how you feel about the band, it will remind you in a very dramatic way what it truly means to be a rock and roll music fan. Besides, nothing beats rocking out in communion with the world’s CRAZIEST fans — completely mesmerized by a stage overtaken by fiery explosions and a long-tongued Demon salivating an unhealthy amount of fake blood.
When forced to pick my favorite KISS album, it was really hard for me to pick between Alive! and Alive II, but I had to go with their live debut. It seems KQ listeners agree — Alive! won by nearly 100 votes on our Facebook poll! Don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate the energy level of Alive II, but its setlist just doesn’t compare. I’m a classic girl, and I can’t imagine seeing KISS perform live without playing Strutter, Rock and Roll All Nite and Deuce.
Released in 1975, Alive! has four sides in total, and my favorite has to be Side 3. Paul Stanley talks a lot during this part of the show, and the funny anecdotes he yells out at the crowd always make me smile. Side 3 also ends with my favorite KISS song of all time: Black Diamond. It’s one of the greatest songs ever made in my option, and this live version in particular is the heaviest I’ve ever heard. I love the mixed lead vocals from Gene Simmons and Peter Criss. They’re basically screaming the whole time, and the harshness of their voices make it raw and passionate. Not to mention, Ace Frehley’s guitar solos (plural) on this song are some of the best he’s ever performed.
I don’t think there was a moment during these concerts when the crowd wasn’t going completely nuts. Their cheers during Cold Gin were especially loud. One of the greatest things about KISS is the way they embrace their fans. For me, it’s all about hearing the audience go wild, and this album does a great job at capturing those real moments from a decade I so badly wish I could have experienced. Photographs of KISS fans having fun at their concerts in the seventies grace the album artwork of each Alive record. Seeing them make me wish so badly I could have seen KISS live in the seventies. Like my Godfather Justin, I too would have been President of the KISS Army in my town.
On the inside of the gatefold, there are handwritten notes written by each of the band members. The Spaceman graciously thanks his fans for helping him “get off,” and The Starchild details how aroused he gets seeing his fans “get off” on him. Clearly the relationship between KISS and their fans is a hot and heavy one, as it should be. Even the physical smell of this record kind of drives me crazy. If vintage had a smell, this would be it. The 44 year old vinyl I purchased looks like it has lived in its fair share of homes, and that’s what I love about it. I actually went around the office and had all my coworkers take a big whiff. They didn’t seem as excited as me about it. 🤷
I can’t wait to see KISS live on Monday night at the Target Center. It will be my second time seeing them, and I just know it’s going to be a blast. Stay checked into the KQRS website and social media pages to see me get my face painted! I may even show up to the KQ Morning Show on Tuesday with it still on. We’ll see if I can even get to sleep after this crazy night!