A Live Kiss: a review of ‘Kiss Off The Soundboard: Live In Virginia Beach’

Photo from www.qobuz.com

Photo from www.qobuz.com

Mike Singer

Photo from www.qobuz.com

On March 11, Kiss released the second album of its “Kiss Off The Soundboard” series. This time around the recording was from the 2004 Rock The Nation Tour in Virginia Beach.

I am going to first off say that this was already a CD that the band put out so the fans have already seen footage of this tour and concert so it isn’t anything exciting.

Second off, some of the die-hards of the band, including myself are waiting for a recording from Australia in 1980 to be part of the “Kiss Off The Soundboard” series. I for one kept commenting under the band’s social media asking for the recording.

Before the downside of this album, I will start off with the positives of this record.

The first positive (for some), is the lineup of this era of Kiss. The band features Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Singer, as well as Tommy Thayer. This is the second live album that the band has recorded and the current group that is on the End Of The Road Tour as of 2022.

I emphasize the “for some” part because, if you’re like me, then Kiss is Kiss and no matter who is in the band, you’ll love them. For some purists, if they aren’t the original members of Peter Criss and Ace Frehley in the makeup, then they won’t listen or give them the time of day. 

The second upside is the setlist for this tour and some of the deep cuts and rare songs that the band doesn’t play today. Some of the deep cuts on the record are “Makin’ Love” and “Christine Sixteen” both of which haven’t been on a live record since 1977’s “Alive II.” The next rare song that the band has started to incorporate in their setlist now is “Tears Are Falling” off of 1985’s “Asylum” and has never been recorded live before until this record. The final song that is not on a lot of live records from the band is “War Machine” which came off of 1982’s “Creatures Of The Night” and also appears on the 2016 live album “Rocks Vegas.” 

As far as songs go, there are many favorites and setlist staples like “Rock And Roll All Nite,” “Detroit Rock City,” ‘Shout It Out Loud” and the second single released off the album, “I Was Made For Loving You.”

Unfortunately, there aren’t a whole lot more positives when it comes to this record.

The main fault that I have to mention straight up is that this record is the slow decline of Stanley’s voice, from the start of the record, which starts with 1977’s “Love Gun” (my favorite live song they perform), Stanley’s vocals just aren’t where they are used to. Even on the first “Kiss Off The Soundboard: Tokyo 2001,” even on Paul Stanley’s solo album from 2008 “One Live Kiss,” the vocals are good.

Since we are on the topic of vocals, the harmonies between Simmons, Stanley, Singer and Thayer, don’t sound like they normally do. Even if the other albums and live recordings on Youtube are doctored up, the harmonies aren’t all there. 

That could be a few reseasons as to why it sounds this way. The first reason is the mixing at the venue they were at on July 25, 2004. The second reason could be that this is only the first full-length tour that featured Thayer on guitar. In 2002, Frehley left, and Thayer had to step in and don the makeup. In 2002, according to www.kissconcerthistory.com, there were only four dates, two of the four dates being television performances. The 2004 Rock The Nation became the first tour of the current lineup.

The next negative that the album brings is like I said before, the Kiss Army already has copies of this album as it was released as a CD following the conclusion of the tour in December 2003. The album has also been uploaded online so I’ve seen the footage more than once and knew what I was getting.

As a loyal member of the Kiss Army, I will be the first one to defend the band and what they release. I for one, love the idea of live copies of concerts from over the years, and the “Kiss Off The Soundboard” series is the perfect way to do it. From the beginning with their first live record in 1975, ‘Alive!” Kiss has always been a live band but this record isn’t up to par with the other live records they’ve put out

“Kiss Off The Soundboard: Live In Virginia Beach” is the ninth record released by the band on streaming platforms and it doesn’t seem like the band is going to stop this series anytime soon.

Kiss is currently gearing up for the South American leg of the End Of The Road tour from late April till early May. The band also announced the final Kiss Kruise which will set sail on Oct. 29th from Los Angeles and return Nov. 3rd. 

At the end of the day, “Kiss Off The Soundboard: Live In Virginia Beach,” is a good album, but it’s not one of their best live albums and the first record in the “Kiss Off The Soundboard” series set the bar high and this record just didn’t reach that level.


Overall Grade: 5/10