Last year, KISS launched what can be best described as a line of official live bootleg albums. KISS Army collectors, like myself, have many of these live concerts in audio (and sometimes video) form. Nevertheless, getting an official release means the potential for improved audio quality or an updated mix. This year’s KISS Off The Soundboard archival live concert release is the band’s Virginia Beach show from July 25, 2004, during KISS’ Rock The Nation tour. It comes out this Friday, March 11. How’s the album sound and is it worth buying? Read on for my thoughts.
My first time seeing KISS live was in 2003 during the band’s World Domination Tour, just a couple years after their Farewell Tour, which wound up being a farewell to the band’s original lineup. I was so happy that they decided not to hang up the platform boots. And KISS’ Rock The Nation tour, which kicked off in 2004, was one of the band’s best. It was the first tour where the modern-day lineup, including Paul, Gene, Tommy, and Eric clicked and became a cohesive unit. Not only did it mark a vibrant new energy for KISS, but it also resulted in a significantly updated setlist. On any given night, fans could hear songs from all decades of KISStory, not just the same old, same old that permeated the reunion tours with Ace and Peter.
I remember attending the KISS Rock The Nation show in Camden, NJ and being floored by the fact that I could buy a CD of the show I was about to see and collect it on my way out of the venue. While this kind of technology is commonplace now, back then it was insane to comprehend and brilliant. KISS pulled this off by partnering with Clear Channel for these Instant Live recordings, and I’m here to tell you that they sound awesome, especially considering that they were made on the spot. I have digital copies of all of them and a physical copy of the Camden show, which came in a 2 CD digipak.
KISS’ Viriginia Beach show, among others, was captured for the band’s brilliant Rock The Nation Live! DVD set, so it’s not surprising that the band has chosen it as the next Off The Soundboard release. Below is a rundown of the songs on this 2 CD set, which is also available digitally and on vinyl.
KISS – Off The Soundboard: Live In Virginia Beach
- Love Gun
- Makin’ Love
- Lick It Up
- Christine Sixteen
- Tears Are Falling
- Got To Choose
- I Love It Loud
- I Want You
- Psycho Circus
- King Of The Night Time World
- War Machine
- 100,000 Years
- Shout It Out Loud
- I Was Made For Lovin’ You
- Detroit Rock City
- God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You II
- Rock and Roll All Nite
As far as I can tell, this official release of a long out-of-print Instant Live recording is very close to the original. The only discernable difference to my ear is the sound of the audience, as well as how they decided to separate the tracks. The timestamps on the Instant Live recording don’t align perfectly with this new release, but that has no bearing on the quality of this show or recording. It’s a great setlist, replete with deep cuts and fan favorites.
KISS Off The Soundboard: Live In Virginia Beach is a terrific opportunity for KISS fans to relive what was one of the band’s greatest tours. And if you weren’t lucky enough to snag an Instant Live recording from this show, here’s your chance to get it. The Off The Soundboard series is a great idea, and I look forward to future releases. KISS is a band best experienced live, and this album is a testament to that notion.