Feature image courtesy of Getty Images/KISSonline
By Dylan Peggin
2022 is prime time to be a #KISS (@kiss) fan. With one hundred extra cities being added to the End of the Road Tour, more Off The Soundboard releases, rumors of a Creatures of the Night box set, and anniversary colored vinyl reissues, KISS Army soldiers are rejoicing as Gene Simmons rings our wallets of every last penny and yet we don’t mind. On the other hand, video footage has just now circulated that has all of our eyes and ears in total shock and awe.
On June 27th, the full video of KISS’ performance at the Capitol Centre in Largo, Maryland on November 30, 1975, during the Alive! Tour appeared on YouTube. The show was archived by the Capitol Centre’s in-house video crew which was more than likely projected onto jumbo-sized video screens at the venue during the show and the band/Bill Aucoin acquired a copy of the tape for their archives. This was an astonishing revelation because prior to this leak, all that had existed in the bootleg circles was footage of the three encores of the show.
The footage is stunning in terms of the camera angles, which give us great shots of Peter thrashing it out on his kit. It is also a treat to hear the track “Ladies in Waiting” be performed, one that was performed briefly during the Alive! Tour and ultimately disappeared from the setlist.
The use of various graphics from the Alive! booklet and camera effects sometimes take away a bit from the visual enjoyment of the show. Audio-wise, it is a soundboard mix that is solid sounding but is a bit uneven in places, particularly with the drum and bass levels being increased. Even with its slight drawbacks, it is still a KISS show from 1975 and it is still visual gold.
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/Rock and Roll All Nite/Let Me Go Rock ‘n’ Roll
On July 3rd, a crown jewel in the KISS video canon emerged on YouTube: Cobo Hall 1975. Ask any KISS diehard fan about this particular show and they will go into great detail about what entails. Yes, it is the famed show at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan on May 16, 1975, during the Dressed to Kill tour that was recorded for Alive! Rumors of footage existing of this show have circulated for many years, especially with photos taken during the concert that show the presence of video cameras on and near the stage. All that had been seen footage-wise of this show were a few second-long bits that were interspersed in the VH1 Classic Albums documentary of Alive! While all that was uploaded was a portion of the show (it is unknown if more footage from the show exists), it can be considered a holy grail given the historical nature behind the show. What I was shocked with was the glimpse of the setlist! It seems like the songs are all jumbled up in whichever order they appeared. “Deuce” was always the opener and here it is as an encore. “Firehouse” also usually appears early in the set (the camera guy failed to catch Gene’s fire-breathing schtick…).
The angles are up close and personal and you get to pick at various nuances that drive any KISS nut insane, such as Peter’s drum kit that could only be seen in the photos in Alive! and the promo films of “C’mon and Love Me” and “Rock and Roll All Nite” (which were filmed at the Michigan Palace the day before this show), Paul’s starless leotard and the extra skinny spikes on Gene’s outfit.
For a brief moment, there is a spotlight passing over the audience and you can see the infamous banner that Bruce Redoute and Lee Neaves held on the back of the Alive! cover.
Audio-wise, it isn’t necessarily a soundboard mix but more so a field recording (somewhat close to an audience recording) that was done to maybe sync up the video footage with the audio. Regardless, the mix of the full band sounds great. If the KISS camp has a hand in ownership of this footage or if they incline to purchase the rights, restore this to a DVD, package it with the full undoctored shows from Detroit, Cleveland, Davenport, and Wildwood in a box set, name your price and we will flock to it.
Setlist (partial): Let Me Go Rock ‘n’ Roll/C’mon and Love Me/Firehouse/Deuce/Rock and Roll All Nite/Black Diamond
Here we are in 2022, KISS footage from 1975 that fans have never seen before is emerging and we are all going nuts over it. But where did this footage come from?
Does the name Curt Gooch ring a bell? He is relatively well known in the KISS circles for being a video archivist of the band, co-writing KISS books (such as KISS Alive Forever, one of the best there is), and working on the KISSOLOGY DVDs. An individual/KISS collector under the alias “Sam Loomis” has spent top dollar for uncirculated video and/or audio, the videos being purchased from Gooch over the years with the promise that no one else had them. Truth be told, the various tapes Sam had purchased found their way into the hands of other KISS collectors such as Ros Radley (the brainchild of the Magic book fiasco) and others. In essence, Curt didn’t hold his end of the bargain and Sam has taken action by starting to upload the tapes they purchased onto YouTube so the owner of the material can’t enjoy the financial kickback of the material given that it is now available at everyone’s disposal for the magic four-letter word: free.
As crazy as this backstory is, let’s get down to the reality of it all. The main purpose behind the selling of these sought-after recordings is two simple words: monetary gain. An anonymous-yet-reliable source claims that there have been cases where a group of five to ten people will join forces to buy uncirculated recordings and there is always going to be one person that wants to either break even or make a profit with the investment of said material. When one does that, it is when recordings leak out to other collectors and fans for free access. After all, if KISS or other official entities refuse to buy whatever material is presented to them, it is a last-ditch effort to sell it to collectors believing they are the only buyers of something exclusive. It is safe to say that there is some material that is in the hands of, not Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley as one would think, but in the hands of private collectors. For example: Winterland. We all know the black-and-white pro-shot from 1975 that appeared on KISSOLOGY Vol. 1. Rumor has it that there is a pro-shot of a Winterland show from 1974 that exists and was attempted to be sold for $20k-$30k to Gene and Paul, which they denied.
At this rate, Loomis is uploading full/partial shows on a weekly basis. You can start counting down the days as to when the next thing they upload drops and all can speculate on what it could be. Could it be the two missing shows from Cobo Hall in 1977? Winterland 1974? Another Capitol Centre show from 1976? Tokyo 1978? A Creatures of the Night pro shot? All is to be revealed in the upcoming weeks. Sam Loomis, if you’re out there and you read this: it is a shame you were cheated and you are justified for your revenge. Just know that the KISS Army at large appreciates it.