All images courtesy of Getty Images/Sam Loomis YouTube (official)
By Dylan Peggin
While this story is an interesting one with tons of layers and speculation, let’s cut to the chase: Sam Loomis is back! Tons of footage of the hottest band in the world has dropped and I have a lot to report. Let’s get started!
Five minutes worth of footage from the Richfield Coliseum in Cleveland, Ohio on September 6, 1976 during the Destroyer tour was uploaded to YouTube. What is rather significant about this footage is that amongst some of the other well known visual pieces that circulate from the Destroyer Tour (Roosevelt Stadium, Anaheim Stadium), this is the only known piece of silent 8mm film that is known to exist from this tour. The filmer was originally positioned on the far right side of the stage (from the artists’ perspective) and ultimately would move their way towards the right for a better viewpoint. By the encores, they found themselves on the opposite side of the stage. They managed to capture snippets of each song with the exception of “Strutter” and “Shout It Out Loud.”
This footage gives us a chance to appreciate some of the aspects of the Destroyer Tour production that are only magnified to a certain degree in previous footage that has circulated, such as the chaser lights that flash around the arena during “Do You Love Me” and the sparks coming from the “God of Thunder” machine during the song of the same name.
The audio synched with the footage is taken from the superb soundboard recording (one of the best audio bootlegs from the tour) of the exact same show! It’s little nuggets like this that drive the most uber KISS fan nuts with the various bits of production minutiae.
Setlist (partial, snippets): Detroit Rock City/King of the Night Time World/Let Me Go Rock n Roll/Hotter Than Hell/Nothin’ to Lose/Cold Gin/Do You Love Me/God of Thunder/Rock and Roll All Nite/Deuce/Firehouse/Black Diamond
Three-and-a-half minutes worth of footage from Chicago Stadium in Chicago, IL on January 22, 1977 during the Rock and Roll Over Tour was uploaded to YouTube. The filmer had a spot on the arena floor towards the center-left of the stage and while the footage is a bit grainy, its still KISS from 1977, what more could you ask for? This footage was captured on silent Super 8mm and the audio synched is of an audience recording from the show two days prior at the Pershing Auditorium in Lincoln, Nebraska on January 20, 1977 (Paul Stanley’s birthday!).
Setlist (partial, snippets): Detroit Rock City/Take Me/Let Me Go Rock n Roll/Firehouse
Twelve-and-a-half minutes worth of footage from the Civic Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 24, 1976 during the Alive! Tour (despite Destroyer being released a mere ten days prior) was uploaded to YouTube. If you can take away the time stamp coding and “www.researchvideo.com” text on screen, this is some very enjoyable live footage.
From what I have investigated in other footage from this time frame, Gene is often at his most animated on stage, whether its during “She” where he can be seen either grabbing the microphone stand from his mouth or, in this case, throwing a top hat into the audience with just his mouth! The silent footage is synched with an audience recording taken from the same show.
Setlist (partial, snippets): Firehouse/She/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
Four minutes worth of footage from the Space Center at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 29, 1975 from the Dressed to Kill Tour was uploaded to YouTube. The band performed two shows on this day, one at 8pm and another at 2am. Much like the footage from Philadelphia, if you can bypass the “Screener Test” text on screen, this material is pure gold.
The filmer had some great shots of the band beneath and It can be made out briefly for a millisecond but if I am correct, this show is another one of those occurrences from back in the day where the venue ceiling was so low that the lighted KISS logo had to be placed on the ground at Gene’s side of the stage. The crowd shots give it a time capsule type feel, similar to what we saw in the past with the Houston ‘76 footage.
Setlist (8pm show, partial, snippets): Deuce/Strutter/Firehouse/She/100,000 Years/Black Diamond/Rock and Roll All Nite
Setlist (2am show, partial, snippets): Firehouse/100,000 Years
Six-and-a-half minutes worth of footage from the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania on October 3, 1975 during the Alive! Tour was uploaded to YouTube. At this point, time stamp codes and on-screen text is becoming a pattern so no need to acknowledge it. The filmer must’ve had a sweet front row seat or a spot close to the stage because the shots in this footage are astounding. The silent footage is synched with an audience recording taken from the same show.
Setlist (partial, snippets): Deuce/Strutter/Got to Choose/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/Nothin to Lose/100,000 Years/Black Diamond
Almost five minutes worth of footage from Bingley Hall in Stafford, England on September 5, 1980 during the Unmasked Tour was uploaded to YouTube. The grainy footage tends to jump rapidly with only a few seconds of a song being present so I worked my hardest to make out what song was being performed at a given point. What is unique about this footage is that we have brief snippets of the band performing “You’re All That I Want,” a song that was only performed during this tour and was dropped by the end of it. It is likely that this footage was silent and was ultimately synched with an audience recording taken from the same show.
Setlist (partial, snippets): Detroit Rock City/Cold Gin/Strutter/Is That You/Firehouse/Talk to Me/You’re All That I Want/2,000 Man/God of Thunder/Rock and Roll All Nite/King of the Night Time World
Three-and-a-half minutes worth of 8mm footage from the Capitol Centre in Largo, Maryland on December 19, 1977 during the Alive II Tour was uploaded to YouTube. Of the two 1977 Largo shows, the one fans are familiar with is the 2nd show on December 20, which was filmed primarily for the American Music Awards and was released as a bonus disc with KISSOLOGY Vol. 1 exclusive to Walmart retailers. This perhaps poses the question if a pro-shot exists of the first night.
The audience recording that is synched to this silent footage is interesting to hear since the audience chatter can sometimes overpower the band’s performance, which adds an interesting dynamic to hearing them while watching the band perform. The film stock is solid enough to be restored to this great extent and see some awesome clear shots of the band.
Setlist (partial, snippets): Firehouse/Love Gun/Let Me Go Rock n Roll/Makin Love/Christine Sixteen
Six-and-a-half minutes worth of footage from the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York on New Years Eve, December 31, 1975 during the Alive! Tour was uploaded to Youtube. There is the classic story of when KISS was opening for Blue Öyster Cult on New Years Eve 1973 at the Academy of Music in New York. Precisely two years later to the day, Blue Öyster Cult was opening for KISS. The footage opens silently with some shots of the crowd piling into the arena and you can catch a brief snippet of Blue Öyster Cult’s set. A ring of light counts down the final seconds of 1975 with the audience chanting. Midnight strikes, 1976 is in place and KISS starts the show precisely at midnight.
As JR Smalling announces the band, confetti and balloons come down from the ceiling, bombs ablaze and the band is off to the races. Just by watching this footage alone, you can sense the excitement in the air of the arena from the ecstatic fans. Gene can also be seen grabbing a painting of himself with his mouth briefly in one shot! The band overall delivers a tight performance and coupled with the quality of the footage, its material like this that make fans worthy of seeing such uncovered greatness.
Setlist (partial, snippets): Deuce/Strutter/C’mon and Love Me/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/100,000 Years
Almost eleven minutes worth of black-and-white footage from the London Gardens in London, Ontario, Canada on April 24, 1976 during the Alive! Tour was uploaded to YouTube. The opening shots of the footage showcase the soundboard and various bits of equipment, along with fan shots, while the PA is playing Supertramp, Genesis and Peter Frampton over the loudspeakers. A small portion of opening act Hammersmith’s set was also shown in the footage. There is a general sense of excitement in the air of the arena as the crowd keeps pushing balloons in the air.
Once the band’s performance has gone underway, the filmer makes their way behind the stage and captures some backstage shots of the band performing, including a sweet spot behind Peter’s drum kit. Then, they make their way into the crowd and capture some full stage shots. The quality of the footage is a bit rough around the edges but you seldomly see angles of this sort being shot in amateur footage, thus making it such a delight to watch.
Setlist (partial, snippets): Shout It Out Loud/God of Thunder/100,000 Years/Black Diamond/Rock and Roll All Nite
Three minutes worth of synched silent footage from the Calderone Concert Hall in Hemstead, New York on August 23, 1975 during the Dressed to Kill Tour was uploaded to YouTube. The footage provides some wide stage angle shots with some rich lighting to make the band pop out tremendously. The silent footage is synched with an audience recording taken from the same show.
Setlist (partial, snippets): Deuce/Firehouse/She/100,000 Years/Black Diamond
Three-and-a-half minutes of synched silent footage from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York on July 24, 1979 during the Dynasty Tour was uploaded to YouTube. The footage is a bit grainy in quality but there are still some solid shots of the band, particularly when Peter’s drum riser works its way up to the lip of the stage during his drum solo.
Setlist (partial, snippets): Firehouse/New York Groove/I Was Made for Lovin You/God of Thunder/Black Diamond/Detroit Rock City/Rock and Roll All Nite
That is not all that has been seen today with the rebirth of the Sam Loomis YouTube account. This is just enough to sink your teeth into for the time being. Keep your eyes peeled for my next article as I go through the rest of what has been uploaded!