Kiss “Alive!” is a landmark in live albums and one of the best live albums of all time. It features the band in full flight with jamming, crunching riffs and raucous vocal work. It is an incredibly well produced album with enough crowd cheering to appease any band, but the word is the crowd sounds were tweaked in the studio to make it sound like there were more there than in reality. There are rumours the live tracks were doctored in the studio to make up for all the mistakes, broken strings, wrong lyrics or incorrect solos. Whatever the case the fact remains that this album is an incomparable ultra heavy experience from start to finish. I must have played this hundreds of time in the 70s. Every track, every lyric, every instrumental I memorised by rote learning.
I adore this album to this day. It is full of Kiss Klassics, beginning with the raw riff heavy ‘Deuce’. Simmons actually growls like a death metal singer, the beginning of death vocals may be found here?
‘Strutter’ is next with Paul driving the girls crazy strutting about like a sex god. ‘Got to Choose’ has an awesome slow riff with very heavy drumming. ‘Hotter Than Hell’ is one of the heaviest tracks from the album of the same name, and ‘Firehouse’ is the track that features Simmons breathing fire at the end, and we hear the blazing sirens at the end of this as evidence.
Side 2 of the vinyl began with the Peter Criss rocker, ‘Nothin' to Lose’ which starts things off well. The fantastic single ‘C'mon and Love Me’ is next, even better than the studio version, as are most of the songs live. One of the brilliant Ace riffs features next in ‘Parasite’ that sounds incredible live, Anthrax did a great tribute to this track. The riff is one of the best for Kiss and it features a blistering lead solo. ‘She’ is played at its best in tis live version with heaps of riffs and time changes. The lead break by Ace is mind blowing, simply magical.
Side 3 begins with the Simmons driven ‘Watchin' You’ that features some unforgettable killer riffs. The best version of ‘100,000 Years’ is next with some of the best riffs from Ace, the instrumental is masterful. The lengthy drum solo is Criss at his best and then Paul revs up the audience with legendary finesse, “I want to know how many people her like to get high!” He does not hold back and even gets the crowd to shout ‘Rock and Roll’ until he is satisfied it is loud enough. I had never heard anything like this as a teenager.
‘Black Diamond’ is next beginning with gentle 12 string acoustics, and then it launches into the crunching riff all Kiss fans know. It is simply an indispensable Kiss track.
‘Rock Bottom’ is a Paul Stanley vehicle again with a fantastic instrumental section at the end with the band rocking up a storm especially Ace.
‘Cold Gin’ has caustic vocals from Simmons that I never liked when I first heard it but I kind of think it suits the song now. The lead break is once again exceptional, Ace was incredible on this album.
‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ is the infamous single and live it is much heavier especially Simmons. It is always a crowd pleaser and here it is absolutely wild.
‘Let Me Go, Rock 'N Roll’ is brilliant live with lots of jamming and sections that are only played live. The lengthy ending solos and bass lines are fabulous. I love the way the band just locks into one riff after another on this. It is a perfect concert closer.
“Alive!” is the best Kiss live album, it is raw, focused energy with the band at their most dynamic. It is the best live album I have heard and effectively this album put the band on the map; this was their breakthrough and they were headed for stardom after this with the masterpiece “Destroyer” that would send them into the stratosphere.