All images courtesy of Sam Loomis/YouTube
By Dylan Peggin
The year is 1974, Neil Bogart started a new label called Casablanca Records and the first band he signs is decked out in black leather, studs, platform heels, and kabuki makeup. Sam Loomis has uploaded some video nuggets that perfectly capture the early essence of KISS at the earliest stage of their professional career.
On July 13, footage from what is now confirmed to be the Michigan Palace in Detroit, Michigan on April 13, 1974, during the KISS Tour was uploaded to YouTube. For the longest time, the footage was labeled to be from the Long Beach Auditorium in Long Beach, California on February 17, 1974. Due to investigative research from photos done by KISS experts, the footage was re-labeled. This footage has a rather intriguing history in regards to how it got out.
The twenty-nine-minute silent Super 8mm footage was auctioned on eBay in 2000. Seventeen minutes worth of the silent footage appeared on an unofficial DVD called The Vintage in 2001. Footage of the song “Acrobat” synched with audio taken from a radio broadcast from the Lafayette Music Room in Memphis, Tennessee on April 18, 1974, appeared on the KISSOLOGY Vol. 1 DVD. What is presented here is most likely the full set the band performed on the given night. With the exception of “Acrobat,” the audio that is synced to the footage is taken from a radio broadcast coincidently from the same venue but on an earlier date of April 7th. This footage and the time it takes place serve as the mere foundation of what this band would set out to accomplish.
Setlist: Deuce/Strutter/She/Firehouse/Nothin’ to Lose/Cold Gin/100,000 Years/Black Diamond/Acrobat
On the same day, Sam Loomis dropped another bombshell that caught the KISS Army in shock considering this next piece was never known to exist or to have been seen by others. Two and a half minutes worth of footage from the Academy of Music in New York, New York on January 26, 1974, during the KISS Tour was uploaded to YouTube. This footage is historical in the sense that Paul Stanley is wearing his short-lived bandit makeup design! The silent footage is synched to audience recordings from a show from the same venue on New Years’ Eve 1973 (the show where Gene Simmons first set his hair on fire during “Firehouse”) and The Bayou in Washington DC on March 25, 1974. While the footage is very grainy in quality, it stands up on its own for its historical nature.
Setlist (partial, snippets): Let Me Know/Black Diamond/Let Me Go Rock ‘n’ Roll
While the now-confirmed Detroit footage is well known by many fans and collectors, the New York footage was a major surprise to us KISS fans. Is there more of this stuff to exist than we know of? If us fans keep wanting it, Sam Loomis will most likely deliver.