Alive Forever -
The Complete Touring History
by Dan Bach
I write this review a few months after I first received and read this book. This book looks at all aspects of touring by the band KISS from the first legendary Coventry and Daisy club dates in January/February 1973 to the Australian leg of the Farwell Tour in March 2001.
Over 28 years of concerts in one book, just over 1800 entries concerning KISS concerts including UK and European gigs starting with the
Destroyer tour Alive costumed performance starting at Manchester Free Trade Hall in May 1976.
The Unmasked tour of August, September 1980 - tied with this is details of the cancelled European tour scheduled and announced in May/June of that year.
The Lick it up leg of September 1983,
Animalize leg with Bruce Kulick as replacement guitarist in October 1984,
Crazy nights/Smashes hits and thrashes - August and September 1988 at Donington and other European Monsters of Rock festivals as well as Arena/City hall sized venues a few weeks later. It lists the re-opening of the Marquee club at Charing Cross Road a few days before Donington 1988.
Revenge European tour that was only an UK leg. The London Astoria convention on the afternoon of the Wembley show. It also mentions a proposed second show at Wembley Arena.
Reunion Alive/Worldwide performances at Donington 1996 and November European tour. Sadly no mention of the pencilled in Dublin show. Shirts for this show were sold at Manchester if I remember rightly.
Psycho circus European tour of February.March 1999. Mention of Paul's leg in a brace/splint.
Each tour entry has a start date and end date, countries visited, support acts and headlining acts (up to 1976 and the odd exception afterwards - Iron Maiden at Donington 1988) as well as average attendances. In the introduction, all these terms are explained and how they were obtained. It's these attendances that are eye opening, look at the Dynasty & 10th Anniversary/Creatures tour of the States & end of the US leg of the Farwell tour leg. Average attendancies drop off by the end of those tours and "major markets for KISS have poor ticket sales". These figures are only boosted by the South American outdoor gigs in 1983 and the Japan/Australia March 2001 dates.
Before I read this book I was not aware of some of the appauling concert attendances and some of the cancelled shows either second dates or even first shows in some areas. Gary Corbett's hiring/release/rehiring due to touring finances on the Crazy Nights tour as an example. The book explains the difference between temporary holding date and a cancelled show.
Great KISStory event that is "corrected" is the two year gap (not one year gap as usually talked about) between the KISS and BOC support slot/headliner swap. Gene catching his hair on fire at the Academy and KISS's triumphant first NYC headline at the Nassau Coliseum.
The preface states "believe everything and believe nothing".
Many individuals have participated in this book. Bill Aucoin, Sean Delany, Lydia Criss, Gary Corbett, Wicked lester's Ron Leejack and Brooke Ostender, Bill Starkey, Joop Van pelt, Nick Smith to name a few.
The authors are KISS fans that are music industry writers. Warning this book will be heavy going for those not KISS fanatics. Just look at the gigs you attended yourselves - that's what I did and read on. It has stories from rehearsals prior to tour, has a chapter on the cancelled Elder world tour. It quotes from former KISS tour manager C K Lendt's KISS and sell book.
Overall it is a great insight into touring etiquette, politics, strategies and marketing campaigns. This book could have been written by actual key KISS personnel such as Bill Aucoin, Fritz Postlethwaite, Larry Mazer, John Harte and Robert V Conte.
To end this book with a question - is the book worth a read. For KISS fans yes. I have learned a lot of interesting trivia from Girl's drop from the Unmasked tour, to the three stages used on the Asylum tour, the set lists on the '95 convention tour, how many UK KISS gigs have there been, how many times they have played NYC, LA, Detroit and San Francisco (appendices), support acts (appendices) and the songs played (appendices).
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