The best part about YouTube.com for this KISStorian is the fact that one can find diamonds in the rough almost weekly like the full live concert vids that seem to keep coming like the mail!
So many great moments on this recent find; a KISStoric Hot In The Shade Tour show from Oklahoma City that finds KISS at their most compelling sans make-up playing their best set list and sounding considerably less frantic than on the prior two tours with Kulick & Carr. By 1990, the ‘new’ KISS is a seasoned unit, hitting on all cylinders, reclaiming territory.
For a hand-held bootleg, the sound is surprisingly warm and not only is Bruce Kulick on fire ‘n tasty throughout, but Gene Simmons is smooth and singing better here than on most of the HITS tour stuff I’ve heard.
It also nicely illuminates the bands evolving groove with Eric Carr and their take on semi-shelved KISS classics like “Strutter”, “I Want You” & “I Stole Your Love” with ‘The Fox’ on drums.
More centrally though, this is our rock & roll party because it captures Paul Stanley at his very finest as a live performer, singer and one of a kind rock star. No one can move while playing guitar like Paul does. He really gives every moment a whole lotta love and can be downright artful at it, bringing a passion, joy and style to the stage rarely if ever achieved by less dedicated artists.
Many KISStorians argue that Vinnie Vincent saved KISS but, any you way you slice it, it was ERIC CARR who saved KISS. The ride he took manning the drum fort on behalf of The KISS ARMY proves Carr was a true ‘Rock Soldier’ and, as The Elder would no doubt agree, indeed ‘worthy of the fellowship’.
And as much as he gave it his all for KISS and their fans when playing live, Carr’s studio work is what makes him “King Of The Mountain” as savior of the band. Shit, take any track off Creatures Of The Night — It’s Bonham meets the Demon & The Starchild and it sounds invincible! Even when KISS went soft rock on Crazy Nights, Carr remained heavy. He also wrote, sang, played bass, and made arrangement contributions on KISS material throughout his tenure with the band.
Even when the KISS experience soured for Carr personally, he never let it affect his level of devotion to the fans. He never, ever sucked. He was a pros pro and, by all accounts, one of the nicest guys on the planet. His only fault may have been that his heart was a big as his bass drum and he wore it on his sleeve. So be it, amen Eric.
Anyway, I moved recently and found this: my angry letter to Rolling Stone for ignoring his career. I share it with you on the Anniversary of his passing to give thanks to Eric for hanging tough when everyone else was jumping ship, Vincent included.
Behold, the ying ‘n yang of KISS; the clunkers that have become the KISS Army’s crosses to bear. Sure, there are others that deserve mention but these each have enduring cringe-worthy moments that are hard to shake. I spared the boyz their solo efforts out of respect for all that is humane. What are your ten worst?
“LONELY IS THE HUNTER” (Animailze) I too get a cold KISS reading (ha-ha, ooh-yeah!). So you’re my one and only AND lonely is the hunter?
“NO, NO, NO” (Crazy Nights) ‘Nuff KISS stuff said …please stand down, Demon.
“BANG BANG YOU” (Crazy Nights) Paul plays the KISS villain where loves a crime, like this KISS chorus.
“MY WAY” (Crazy Nights) See, again, in the KISS danger zone (IE with Nevison behind the board) it’s a fucking jagged edge we climb people.
“CADILLAC DREAMS” (Hot In The Shade) A cool KISS concept but a lousy KISS ride.
“KING OF HEARTS ” (Hot In The Shade) I do get KISS happy feet in the verses like with most Stanley numbers but this chorus is a bridge to far.
“TOUGH LOVE” (Revenge) “KISS hot-line, hello? I’m sorry …you were calling Dr. Strangelove or Dr. Feelgood?”
“EVERY TIME I LOOK AT YOU” (Revenge) To me this is KISS Kryptonite and with it, no powers.
“YOU WANTED THE BEST” (Psycho Circus) An Ill-conceived farce of a KISS song only just saved by Ace’s guitar.
“NEVER ENOUGH” (Sonic Boom) A very good KISS album without this damning ode to, of all posers, Poison.
Helmets tight KISS Army …I sat and looked at the album covers, accessing the part of my brain that governs KISS related decisions to figure out which album I really wanted to listen to most, and 2nd most, and so on and so forth. A short blog piece on a Herculean task. Please forgive me.
LICK IT UP > back on the streets …hey, hey have you read the news? this album is as good as Creatures of The Night and is the make-over that saved the KISS brand.
ASYLUM > alive n’ kickin’ …guh-guh, guh-guh, guh-guh, guh-guh get the message sugar: Asylum is Kulick/Carr KISS hitting their best 80’s stride.
ANIMALIZE > once bitten, twice shy …Stanley’s triumph in fret-frenzied St. Johns wood; had Simmons given a damn, or Vincent remained on-board, Animalize might have been as good as LIU.
REVENGE > cult of personality …KISS was cool again but I’de give the album higher marks were it not for Stanleys somewhat labored contributions under the rose w/ Ezrin.
HOT IN THE SHADE > these happy days are yours and mine …KISS lighten up to become almost human with “Forever” and a fun album.
CRAZY NIGHTS > desperate, but not serious …KISS buffed to 80’s money-shot oblivion by the grace of Nevison’s hand.
CARNIVAL OF SOULS > return to sender …unmasked KISS fade to black with a grungy dirge.
I bought this in some record store in London, England in ’85. It’s an ANABAS (Magazine) promo shot that looks like it was taken pre-show at one of KISS’s October dates in England in 1983 when they kicked off the LIU tour overseas as a KISStorically smart ‘hedged bet’. Gene & Paul were determined to not repeat the disaster state-side that the Creatures of The Night / 10th Anniversary Tour was for the lads. Starting in Europe gave them time to not only get comfortable in their own skin live but to wait for LIU to take hold at MTV and on radio in the US. On what must have seemed a lot like The 8th Day or worse, KISS was rising from the rock & roll dead.
Hmmmm … “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” … Jagger was right, truth is stranger than fiction. Don’t look back in anger, The Elder is the Kiss fan’s “Wonderwall” but, really, it’s you who turns the light in to day.