All images courtesy of Sam Loomis/YouTube
By Dylan Peggin
Sam Loomis is an individual with many tricks up their sleeve. Sure, some of the footage they’ve been dropping is a bit familiar to some hardcore collectors (Detroit, Houston and Anaheim ‘76) and then there are some pleasant surprises (Detroit and Largo ‘75). Get ready for this, because now we are going further back in KISStory!
On July 8th, footage from the 1974 KSHE Kite Fly held at Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri on March 31, 1974 was uploaded to YouTube. It had been long speculated that 8mm silent footage was captured and all that circulates were some still photographs from the event. It wasn’t until the A&E KISSTORY documentary that we managed to see a whopping ten seconds worth of footage from the event, which confirmed its existence. Here, we have a solid three-and-a-half minutes worth of footage that very well could be all that exists.
This footage is a gem of a find given how early on in KISS’ career this footage takes place, their early outfits and the rare environment they are playing in: outdoors in broad daylight. This show was also one of the biggest audiences KISS performed to at the time. Billboard magazine reported that an estimated audience of 100,000 was present. Since the 8mm footage is silent, the audio synced in this clip comes from a couple of sources. The FM broadcast from the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio on April 1, 1974, coincidently the day after this performance, is the primary source, with “Let Me Know” being taken from the Music Hall in Cleveland, Ohio on June 21, 1975, which was recorded for Alive! and also broadcasted as part of the King Biscuit Flower Hour.
Setlist (partial/snippets): Cold Gin/She/Nothin’ to Lose/Let Me Know
On July 9th, footage from the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey on October 4, 1975 from the Alive! tour was uploaded to YouTube. KISS performed two shows at the venue on this day, one at 8pm and one at 11:30pm. This footage captures almost nine minutes worth of the 8pm show. This is historic stuff since it is the earliest known footage of Ace’s smoking guitar schtick. This footage has never appeared at large within the bootleg circles and with whatever restoration work went in, this is visually stunning to the eyes! The person who filmed this footage has a solid vantage point a few rows from Gene’s side of the stage.
Speaking of Gene, the shot of him biting his microphone stand just adds another facet to his overall stage presence and Demon persona at the time. He can also be seen biting it in the Cobo Hall ‘75 footage. This was most definitely silent footage since the synched audio is an audience recording from the show at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania coincidently the day before the Passaic show on October 3, 1975.
Setlist (partial/snippets): Deuce/Strutter/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/She/Nothin’ to Lose/100,000 Years/Black Diamond/Cold Gin/Rock and Roll All Nite
It must be said that whoever is responsible for synching up the audio with both of these bits of silent footage has the talent of absolute wizardry! It takes a specially trained eye to pull this stuff off. Given the nature of the film stock, you can only make out so much from mouth movements to sync it up with whatever song they are performing. If you’re a musician, it is easy to notice chord finger placements and progressions to know what song is being performed. It makes one wonder if this can be done with any piece of silent footage and any corresponding audio that was recorded near the respective date. Are there more of these synched 8mm nuggets to appear from the same early-mid 70s timeframe? Give us the goods Sam!
The timing of all of this is so coincidental because while new footage is being uploaded on roughly a daily basis, I am actually going on vacation this upcoming week. While I am away, you best believe I will be eyeing whatever Sam uploads daily and will be working diligently to get my follow up articles up while the content is hot.