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DVD Spotlight - Largo, December 20 1977

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Well, that was a long commercial break....

Welcome to the latest and first addition of DVD Spotlight in 2012. The article that, (like I said in the previous issue) I dig out once every year (or so) when I get inspired to write again and/or find a bootleg worthy of adding to my review list. Shockingly, I discovered that I never reviewed a Love Gun era show and with both nights of Houston and Largo available I chose to shine a (spot)light on the holy grail of Largo 1977.

Having finally been leaked out to the mainstream collector's circle and myself being possibly the biggest Love Gun advocate on the web, I figured this was as good as any time to dust off the review goggles. I'm also on vacation and free time doesn't come as often as it used to so I'd better move or it will be 3 years since the last one or next one depending on how you view it. So with that said, I hope to entertain, educate, and make you laugh a little while we take a trip down memory lane December 20, 1977 in Landover (aka Largo) Maryland at the Capital Center

I'm using the amazing version done by Mick E. Gee (great job Mick as always on your upgrades!!), this version is a dual layer with the Kissology short version without a time code (of course) and featuring Rip & Destroy from the Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park movie. Once you click the bonus section hyperlink on that page you are then transported to a 2nd menu with the entire show with the time code and all this without the use of the Talisman. My how technology has changed, we know have blu ray and dual layer bootlegs...I remember doing this as Video Spotlight with VHS tapes and dual layer or blu ray were not even a sperm in the ball sack of technology at the time.  Tongue out

You Wanted The Best....well, you're settling for my review instead.

 

 

I STOLE YOUR LOVE - In my humble opinion and not because it was the first song I ever heard and caused all this in my life, I truly believe this song is the ultimate Kiss opening song ever! Yes, over Detroit, and over Deuce as well! This one just kicks ass and yet only was an opener on this and the HITS tour 1990. The show opens with 2 spotlights on a mirror ball and the now late (RIP) Eddie Balandas' monster opening announcement. No other announcer could touch his opening before or since him. I'm glad I got the chance to tell him that when I met him in NJ's 2011 Expo before his sad & untimely passing.

We're now off and Kiss is ramped up playing at a fast tempo as they descend from their lifts which was a great entrance only since being mildly duplicated by the 2010 over the drum riser entrance on the Sonic Boom tour. Tons of echo here on Paul's vocals but not as much as on the Dynasty or Unmasked tours that followed. I enjoyed these mixes and vocals and to me it really seemed this period is when Kiss really became Kiss and evolved from a street band from NY and immersed themselves into their personas fully and it shows in this performance especially. Gene (with Sam The Serpent stage left) is owning "his side" of the stage with Ace (visiting from Jendell I presume) periodically to do some choreography and backup vocals. I call this gig also the smiling Cat gig either from the amazing Cat nip he had prior to the show or the fact this is on Peter's birthday, the smiling and goofy looks on Peter's face are fun to witness. There are a few minor flubs in this version but Paul's stellar vocals really just propel this version to heights not even captured on Alive 2.

KING OF THE NIGHTTIME WORLD - Without hesitation the famous guitar intro squeal kicks in and were into King Of The Nighttime World. I've never been a big fan of this one live but this is a really good version, but having Take Me removed in its place to me was a huge error in this setlist to me but, it did provide a change from the Love Gun tour since we are technically in the Alive 2 portion of the tour. This song does have one of the best dual leads with Paul and Ace however, a bad note at the end of the breakdown portion of the song from Ace knocks it down a little. Too much Cold Gin perhaps for our spaceman that evening or, he got some of Peter's birthday coke....err, I meant cake! Vowels confuse me at times so maybe I need help from Vanna White, oh wait.. I'm sorry Ace just corrected me its Betty White. (See what I did there?) (Go read Ace's No Regrets book if your lost, or Snowblind!)  

LADIES ROOM - Paul's first chat with the crowd to talk about the hot night and offer the girls an invite to meet them in the ladies room.....FREAK!!! Some women are possibly taking a number 2 in there and he wants to get some action in there?  What the hell is he thinking and, who could perform under those conditions?!  This song is a lost classic and I'm still perplexed as to why from 1996 'til now this song has yet to make an appearance at all. It features a great riff, classic solo, a great cowbell break, and solid simple drum beat. One of my favorite Gene classics that just is underrated. If by chance Kiss (or members) are reading this which, I've heard they have in the past; please add this song to the stale setlist you currently are doing on the Motley Crue/Kiss tour.

FIREHOUSE - Paul once again makes mention of the hot night, (does he not know it's the dead of winter in December) As he introduces the next song, he does another small detail that I wish as a fan they'd bring back. As possibly the coolest shuffle is played by Peter in the background, Paul struts back to the riser to grab the fire helmet. Why something so small makes a song I'll never know but, it should also at least for nostalgia sake come back when they do perform Firehouse. Another great Peter moment to search out is the intro from 1979 Fresno audio bootleg which is just so manic and frantic it's worth a deuce, or a listen. One of Ace's coolest solos is featured here and is nailed to perfection. Peter does change the drum pattern here from the floor tom and snare to a double time on the snare. The sirens and lights go crazy and Gene spits a massive blast of fire to end the song.

 
 

LOVE GUN - Long before lengthy intros about Levi 501's you know the real tight ones or having a pistol in his pants, this intro was very simply put,"Alright, Love Gun" The title track from the greatest album in Kisstory (and in my opinion) is off and running but I have to mention the backing vocals especially Ace are just really off key and sound poor. No one however does the machine gun ending like Peter Criss does either!

LET ME GO ROCK AND ROLL - Paul asks if everyone is ready, and gets the crowd to scream "rock and roll" accompanied by 3 bass drum beat and they launch into the "short" version of Let Me Go Rock & Roll. This was another nice surprise in the set and just is really fast and rocks. The echo also really just makes this that much cooler to hear. I wish Hooligan wasn't taken out of the set in favor of it but I can see why it was done and really made an impact in the set.

MAKIN LOVE - Paul tells the crowd " I wanna make love to you" guess the invite to the ladies room wasn't direct enough! The band launches into a sped up version of this 1976 classic. Paul does his best Robert Plant impression here and again the echo really adds to the song's power. Ace's solo is again full of piss and vinegar or Dom Perignon but it's definitely a highlight. The songs main riff sounds a little odd like they tuned up for this one but being somewhat tone deaf I'm not the best judge.

CHRISTINE 16 - A song for the jailbait chicks in the MD crowd but also the coolest into with Peter & Gene. You really hear Peter's backing vocal on this one and you really see how great of a backing vocalist he was even though he sounds like he's singing "Christine Sexteen". Another rumor can be debunked here that Eric Singer was the only gum chewing Catman at the 129:28:25 mark! Peter is shown chewing like a cow, (not a cat) on perhaps some Tuna Flavored Hubba Bubba right here in 1978. I wonder if Peter had his way would the album had been called Love Gum??? Paul is active at the end of the song with a high jump and a few kicks to end out this piece of pure power pop goodness.

SHOCK ME - Paul tells the crowd about the surprise they have which we find out is the vocal styling's of Ace with his debut vocal off Love Gun. Peter actually plays the cross over sticking drum pattern like the record prior to the drum roll that goes back into the main riff of the song and I've yet to hear  anyone duplicate it which really shows how great 1970's Peter was. The camera angles are way better than either nights of Houston in my opinion as well. You get different shots like behind Peter's kit and the a perspective that I can only describe as the view the amps would have. The band kicks into a mini jam and launches Ace into his solo with all the know effects and licks that made Ace the legend that he is.

 

I WANT YOU - A soft guitar into and lush vocals by the starchild and we launch into the opener of the opus known as Rock And Roll Over or RARO to fans. Isn't it funny how we as fans on message boards such as Kiss Faq (shameless plug) can write things in this way and we all get it.

Read this below passage and if you get this you know you :

A. spend too much time on Kiss message boards

B. are in need of help

C. are a real diehard Kiss fan

D.  all of the above

Here we go.....

Don't you wish Kiss would drop ILIL, LIU, IWMFLY and RARAN from their setlist and put in GLFS, SKS, PC or FLAG...or Eric dropping BD in favor of SW or HLW and Tommy dropping SM for RR or NYG  If you read this perfectly you know way too much about Kiss. =)  

Now, what I did there was a "classic" spotlight diversion. Since I really had nothing notable to say about I Want You (or whatever song I'm at in the review) I filled space with a rant or off topic ramble.  One thing I can say for the song is the I Want You chant at the end of the song is pretty close to duplicating the Alive 2 version. and next to ISYL, IWY (see what I did there?) features my favorite Ace and Paul dual solos.

CALLING DR. LOVE - Starboy asks the Maryland chapter of the Kiss Army "Is everyone is ready for their medicine?" & "Are ya ready to get your prescription filled?" "Let's call out Dr. Love"  I'm glad he got to it because I'm thinking he would soon run out of medical puns and would be left with How many of you peee-pulll need a probe up your ass? Great version again with the echo standing out on the vocals and Peter's backing vocals being the big highlight along with his monstrous drumming on this song. Tie this in with an awesome Ace solo and this is one of the few songs when done right I don't answering this Kiss house call. However, in some years the over placement of the song in the set has made me want to prescribe some bed rest for this Doctor of LOOOOVVEEE YEAH!!.

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD - Another song I rarely grow tired of and even though I keep repeating myself Peter  Criss and those backing vocals make this song move and shake. 1st verse and 2nd chorus Cookie Monster's voice cracks a bit and really provides a nice chuckle. I should note before I get my ass handed to me that this was one (RARAN being the other) used for Dick Clark's 78 Special Golden Greats as seen on the 1976-78 TV comp from Kissvision. The camera men love this one effect seemingly where the film the logo and zoom to the inside and pan to another camera filming one of the band members. Cool effect once or twice but forty times its done and I just wanna fuh, I just wanna fuh, I just wanna fuckin' crack his head in with a sledgehammer.

GOD OF THUNDER - Gene's solo leads into a massive bloodbath after which he goes onto his cherry picker and there is a really harsh sound, which is some sort of harmonizer effect that sounds like a pipe organ filtered through his bass. Peter and Gene kick the song in and then Ace and Paul slip a bit coming in with the guitar riff they do cover up quickly. During the solo Gene goes over to Sam T Serpent and Sam starts smoking!  Doesn't he know Gene hates smokers? Well, no wonder he was gone after this tour. The birthday boy's solo is up next and while it's not the Alive! solo that launched a million drummers worldwide, it still is a decent solo with a lot of jazz and tribal influences with a touch of the Alive 2 solo. It also made me wonder why in 1996 or even modern day (Delilah) Kiss do not use a flanger when the drum solo is part of the show. It really was a cool effect and though I don't know if Peter innovated it or not, that and the gong would be another nice addition while I'm at it. The effects on Gene's voice are more demonic though of all the GOT's I've heard over the years, I prefer the Jersey City '76 one personal simply because it was so album like and just the perfect rendition of this song.

 

ROCK AND ROLL ALL NIGHT - Paul makes an announcement before the R&R National Anthem that it is indeed Peter George John Crisscoula's birthday and on the count of 3 (Peter's lucky number, how thoughtful) they yell, "Happy Birthday Peter" and the band quickly launches into this now tired number but damn if the casual fans don't freak when they play it. It must be what Zeppelin fans do when Stairway comes on. But like I mentioned above this song also was used in the Dick Clark special so in case you missed it I figured I ought to bring it up again. I also enjoyed Gene's quick "yeah"  quip and the way he sings "EEEYYYEEEEE wanna rock and roll all night..." Peter's vocals again get some more love from me and I've stolen this harmony myself when my bands played this number as well. His soulful rasp just works so well on tracks like this even and he's having some fun too with the playful "All Night Mommy"  he sings before the solo.

 

DETROIT, ROCK CITY - A quick exit of the stage and the boys are back to take us on a trip to Detroit, Rock City. Very fast paced version for late in the show, and even though they were younger it's amazing how much energy they had at this point of the show.

BETH - Peter gets the last 2 vocals of the evening, his vocals are a bit rough here but not as rough as Alive 2. This song as popular as it is just always seems to bring the show to a halt. Had I written this setlist, I would've swapped this for RARAN put Black Diamond here and closed with RARAN. After GOT you'd get Beth out of the way and have 3 steamroller songs to end the night and get that momentum back. But again on the other hand, without Beth; I may not be writing this article and you may not be reading it. Well, simply because then I would've never had written this article. Um yeah, so Beth is important I guess is the point I'm trying to make.

BLACK DIAMOND -Paul is out to do a little mini solo and start the soft portion of our last song. I'm not a huge Black Diamond fan but it does work well live. I just wish they'd give it a break for a tour so it freshens it up at bit. For fans that seems to be the biggest complaint of the setlist is it gets stale hearing the same songs tour after tour and doesn't give us a chance to miss those songs. The version here to get back to the review (good idea huh?) really lets Peter shine, has a blistering solo, all the classic moves like P&G rockin' over Ace while he's down on his knees(insert song pun here), the cherry pickers going up and Peter's riser with the coolest 2 cats for a riser cover ever! I remember having a poster similar to the gatefold of Alive 2 in my room and the end of this show (and my last screen capture) really just shows Kiss at all its power and that's what 1977-78 Kiss was to me BANG!

This DVD like I said previously is a re-mastered and upgraded version and it just a crisp and clean perfect concert for any fan of the 77-78 period, before Super Kiss came to town. I would highly recommend this DVD so search it out via torrent sites, trade for it whatever you need but as a fan this is a staple in the collection for sure. I can't promise when I will get around to doing another one of these, with my normal everyday life it's rough but I will try when I can.

For those who do appreciate what I do,  I never claimed to be a great writer and quite frankly my command of punctuation skills are horrible. But, I try my best and have fun which is what counts!

I also want to mention that I recently saw over 800 hits on my last article from 2010 and an average of 500 or up on the others. So, that says people are still reading these  articles and while those are not blockbuster numbers; I thank you for reading this from the old Asylum days in 1997 up until now on Danny's great site here at Casaboontha!  . The great thing is that we (the fans) are all still here almost going on 40 years when no one thought we'd be here for 4 so that's a testament to Kiss fans and the power of Kiss!  Until my next article, thanks for reading and get ready for Monster!

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 21:16  

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