Kiss: Alive II – 5 stars

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Kiss, the wonderful made up band, started releasing albums 33 years ago and ever since that distant point in time it has been a real rocket ride for both the group and its fans.  First we got the debut album “Kiss” (1974) and later the same year were presented with “Hotter Than Hell”.  Then, in 1975, we were offered “Dressed to Kill”, but none of these releases did as well as either the band or their record company Casablanca had hoped.

All that changed later in 1975 however with the release of the first Kiss live album “Alive”, which was a smash hit all over the world and especially in America, where it remained on the Billboard Top 100 charts for two years, peaking at number nine.

Over the next two years the band delivered three more studio albums in the shape of “Destroyer”, “Rock and Roll Over”, and “Love Gun”.  In between these recording stints the band would take their amazingly over the top stage show out on the road, but keeping up this frantic pace meant something was likely to break, so whilst the Kiss band members were given a small rest and relaxation period a second live album was created.  This was engineered,  produced and mixed by Eddie Kramer, who had been involved in all the Kiss albums up to this point and also worked with the cream of rock & roll; Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and The Beatles to drop in just three.

An attempt had been made to get the latest Kiss live show down on tape in Japan earlier that year but the results were deemed unsatisfactory so only a couple of songs were deemed good enough for this recording.  Fortunately the shows from the ‘Love Gun World Tour’ at the Los Angeles Forum in August 1977 were also recorded and so were the sound-check songs, the latter meaning the studio engineers had a variety of live Kiss songs to select from but without an audience, so crowd noises were later over-dubbed.

What you get here is a selection from all three sources but it still runs like the perfect live concert.  The band and management’s reluctance to repeat songs from the first live album meant only songs from the three previous albums were included in this set, which in the days of vinyl meant that they covered three sides of the album whilst the fourth was taken up by new studio tracks.

While all this was going on, lead guitarist Ace Frehley had decided to take his ‘time off’ part of the deal a bit too seriously and only actually appears on one song on the studio recordings, and that was “Rocket Ride” which he sang on while also playing lead guitar and bass guitar.  Bob Kulick was whipped into the studio and laid down the other lead guitar parts (uncredited until the re-released version in 1997) except on a great cover of the Dave Clark Five hit, “Anyway You Want It” where Paul Stanley took all the honors.

American rock band Kiss.
American rock band Kiss.

But never mind all the sleight of hand, this album is still a scorcher with an adrenalin-charged buzz running right through it.  It opens up with the famous introduction from the MC of “You wanted the best? You’ve got the best.  The hottest band in the world – Kiss” (cue massive amounts of pyro) and then it’s straight into a hard rockin “Detroit Rock City”.  From there on out it’s chocks away and head for the stratosphere with highlights including a thunderous “Ladies Room”, Paul Stanley going totally over the top on “Love Gun” and Ace Frehley showing why he gained cult status as the best glam rock guitarist from another planet.  Beth is extremely soppy but then the girls in the audience all love it.

This is the perfect rock & roll party album.

Kiss Personnel:

Paul Stanley – guitar and vocals

Ace Frehley – lead guitar and vocals

Gene Simmons – bass guitar and vocals

Peter Criss- drums and vocals

Track List:

Live

Detroit Rock City

Kings of the Night Time World

Ladies Room

Makin Love

Love Gun

Calling Doctor Love

Christine Sixteen

Shock Me

Hard Luck Woman

Tomorrow or Tonight

I Stole Your Love

Beth

God Of Thunder

I Want You

Shout It Out Loud

Studio

All American Man

Rockin’ In The USA

Larger Than Life

Rocket Ride

Any Way You Want It

Note: Review written by Mott the Dog and Hells Bells.  If you fancy a chat about rock music, Mott the Dog can usually be found in his kennel at Jameson’s Irish Pub, Nova Park, Soi AR in Pattaya.