A Guide to KISS Bootlegs: The Alive! Tour 1975-76

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Welcome to the fourth article of the A Guide to KISS Bootlegs series! This article will be focusing on the tour KISS did in support of their career-saving live album Alive! This tour is very much a continuation of the second half of the Dressed to Kill Tour. The setlist was revamped with both material that wasn’t found on Alive! and new material that was to be found on Destroyer. It is crazy to see the rate of productivity in this period because Destroyer was both recorded and released while the band was touring for Alive! That is unheard of these days! Enough of the chit-chat, let’s dig right in! Or as Paul Stanley would say, “Listen, I wanna tell y’all, you’ve been a dynamite audience and you deserve to give yourselves a round of applause!”

Tower Theatre
Upper Darby, PA
October 3, 1975

Setlist: Deuce/Strutter/Got to Choose/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/Nothin’ to Lose/C’mon and Love Me/100,000 Years/Black Diamond/Cold Gin/Rock and Roll All Nite/Let Me Go Rock ‘N’ Roll

The audience recording that circulates from this show is one of the best ones from the tour. The band’s performance and vocals can be made out clear as day. During Black Diamond, Peter’s microphone cuts out and Paul covers some of the lead vocals. This was released on vinyl under the title The Towering Inferno.

Rockford Armory
Rockford, IL
November 15, 1975

Setlist: Deuce/Strutter/Got to Choose/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/Ladies in Waiting/Nothin’ to Lose/100,000 Years/Black Diamond/Cold Gin/Rock and Roll All Nite

The audience recording that circulates from this show leaves a lot to be desired. The band’s performance is a bit distorted and while Paul’s stage raps can be heard, the vocals are barely audible. The fire marshal also prohibited the use of any pyrotechnics at this show, including Gene’s fire breathing. Not sure if it was the taper of the show or a nearby attendee but they provide some humorous commentary throughout the show! This was released on vinyl under the title Rockford Armory.

The Palace Theatre
Waterbury, CT
December 18, 1975

Setlist: Deuce/Strutter/C’mon and Love Me/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/Ladies in Waiting/Nothin’ to Lose/100,000 Years/Black Diamond/Cold Gin

The audience recording that circulates from this show is average sounding at best. The vocals are a bit buried underneath the band’s powerful performance that dominates the levels of the recording. From the sounds of it, the taper of the show must’ve been a good distance from the stage. The show ended following “Cold Gin” for unknown reasons, more than likely because the fire marshal pulled the plug since the audience was being unruly, as roadie JR Smalling told the crowd to settle down over the PA. 8mm footage was taken at this show and it appears that Gene had an incident that harks back to the New Years Eve 1973 gig at the Academy of Music, in which he set his hair on fire. This incident is perhaps an obvious giveaway as to why the vinyl release of this show is titled Demon on Fire.

Cobo Hall
Detroit, MI
January 25-27, 1976

Setlist for January 25: Deuce/Strutter/C’mon and Love Me/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/Ladies in Waiting/Nothin’ to Lose/100,000 Years/Black Diamond
Setlist for January 26: Deuce/Strutter/C’mon and Love Me/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/Parasite/Nothin’ to Lose/100,000 Years/Black Diamond/Cold Gin/Rock and Roll All Nite/Let Me Go Rock ‘N’ Roll
Setlist for January 27: Deuce/Strutter/C’mon and Love Me/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/Parasite/Nothin’ to Lose/100,000 Years/Black Diamond

KISS sold out three consecutive nights at Cobo Hall in early 1976, something they would do yet again roughly a year later to the day. This visit was special because it was during one of these shows that Casablanca co-founder Larry Harris presented the band with platinum record awards in recognition of 1 million sales of Alive! These three shows were professionally shot on video and have circulated within the bootleg circles for many years while being officially released in one form or another. The January 25th show was released as a bonus disc for Best Buy retailers of the KISSOLOGY Vol. 1 DVD set. The January 26th show was included as part of the main feature of the KISSOLOGY Vol. 1 DVD set. Portions of the January 27th show were used in the KISS My Ass video. Out of the three shows, the 26th is complete while the other two are cut just before the encores. The audio is more than likely a soundboard mix, thus making it the sole soundboard recordings from this tour, so it is justifiable if these shows got a standalone audio release. These shows were released on vinyl under the title Three Nights at Cobo Arena.

Milwaukee Auditorium
Milwaukee, WI
February 4, 1976

Setlist: Deuce/Strutter/C’mon and Love Me/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/Parasite/Nothin’ to Lose/100,000 Years/Black Diamond/Cold Gin/Rock and Roll All Nite/Let Me Go Rock ‘N’ Roll

This show doesn’t circulate often in bootleg circles but it does exist in the form of an audience recording. Overall, it sounds a bit distant and muffled. On the other hand, there was some stunning 8mm footage captured at this show. For a while, the footage was silent and the audience recording was eventually matched up to the film; so it proves to be one of the readably available sources to hear the audio from the show. This show has yet to see a vinyl release.

Ellis Auditorium North Hall
Memphis, TN
March 14, 1976

Setlist: Deuce/Strutter/C’mon and Love Me/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/Parasite/Nothin’ to Lose/Shout It Out Loud/100,000 Years/Black Diamond

The audience recording that circulates from this show is rough-sounding, partly because of the condition of the cassette tape it is sourced from. While it suffers from drop outs and tape wobble, the band’s performance sounds distant but passable. It is safe to say that this recording is incomplete since it is missing the usual encores from this tour. Even though this show is from the tour in support for Alive!, Destroyer was to be released the day after this show and “Shout It Out Loud” makes an early appearance in the live set. This show has yet to see a vinyl release.

Jai-Alai Fronton
Miami, FL
March 21, 1976

Setlist: Deuce/Strutter/C’mon and Love Me/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/Parasite/Nothin’ to Lose/Shout It Out Loud/100,000 Years/Black Diamond/Cold Gin/Rock and Roll All Nite/Let Me Go Rock ‘N’ Roll

The audience recording that circulates from this show is certainly another one of the better ones from this tour. The band’s performance is on point and the taper had a great position in the audience to have the recording sound as leveled and clear as it sounds. This show was release in its entirety on vinyl as part of the KISS Kronicles 1973-1993 box set (which you can see me unbox here!).

Civic Center
Philadelphia, PA
March 24, 1976

Setlist: Deuce/Strutter/C’mon and Love Me/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/Parasite/Nothin’ to Lose/Shout It Out Loud/100,000 Years/Black Diamond/Cold Gin/Rock and Roll All Nite/Let Me Go Rock ‘N’ Roll

The audience recording that circulates from this show is rather decent-sounding. Even though the band’s PA system fed back at times during the show, it surely doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the show. The band’s performance is solid and the vocals are leveled just right. This show was released on vinyl under the title Eat Lightning and Crap Thunder.

The recordings from this tour were interesting to go through, as most of them appeared to be incomplete or the shows themselves were cut short. It goes without saying that the big highlights from this tour are the two shows in Philadelphia, Miami, and the three nights at Cobo Hall. Leave the rest for the diehards to sink their teeth into. Stay tuned for my next entry in the A Guide to KISS Bootlegs series, and it is surely going to be a “Destroyer.”

Dig this article? Check out the full archives of The Record Spinner, by Dylan Peggin, here: https://vinylwritermusic.com/the-record-spinner-archives/

About Post Author

Dylan Peggin

Dylan Peggin was born and raised in Vineland, NJ, USA. Music has always played a huge part in his life, thanks to his parents who brought him up on bands such as Rush, Genesis and Yes. At the young age of two, he became a member of the KISS Army and has never looked back since. Dylan started his vinyl collecting journey in 2014, partly inspired by musician Jack White and his label, Third Man Records. What started out as a casual hobby turned into an issue when Dylan realized he could not expand his ceiling to make way for his ever-growing vinyl collection, featuring artists that reside in Rock, Metal, Punk, Alternative, Psych and Indie, just to name a few genres. On January 1st, 2018, Dylan started <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE-Bo2U7mrTWPb1zIS8Jk1A">The Record Spinner</a>, a YouTube channel about vinyl collecting and music. Videos are uploaded every Friday based on a myriad of topics such as mastering engineers, pressing plants and best-sounding pressings. Other content is featured, as well, such as artist analysis videos, monthly vinyl hauls, record store vlogs, unboxings, interviews with musicians, and much more. The channel has grown to reach almost 3K subscribers, obtained over 300K views and received 1.5 million minutes in watch time. Dylan is also studying to receive a BA in Music Business with Berklee College of Music and he hopes to take what he is doing on YouTube to bigger heights.
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