The Godfather Records is well known for its stellar Springsteen and U2 releases but each month their catalogue is expanded with less common artists. Great releases off the beaten path by bands or artists that deserve great releases but aren't as commercially established as for instance the before mentioned 2 or artists like Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Beatles or Stones.
KISS is one of these artists, they were hot on vinyl but CD releases, especially the last 10-15 years are scarse. The Godfather somehow has its sources for unreleased and rare KISS material. One of their landmark (KISS) releases was the Not For The Innocent! demo & outtakes collection that gave the official KISS boxset a run for its money with high quality unreleased material. Also their KISSOLOGY Companion DVD was a stellar release with material that didn't make the official KISSOLOGY series and consisted of material of the same (if not higher) quality standard as the original series.
Now The Godfather gives us: KISS THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH! In 1979 KISS was at their commercial peak, not to mention their current rejuvinited vitality with the releaseof Sonic Boom and the very succesfull tour that followed and will be continued with a sold out tour of Europe this summer. But back to the Summer of '79. Dynasty was out and selling a million copies on release despite the poor market for rock music in these days. The tour, hailed as: THE RETURN OF KISS would become the final tour of the originl four untill their reunion in 1996 and musicially and commercially proved that KISS , in that incarnation, wa at their last legs. The drugs and alcohol problems of Ace Frehley and especially Peter Criss led to his departure in early 1980 only to be followed two years later by Ace Frehley.
The Return Of KISS though WOULD be their biggest tour ever! With a, for those days, whopping 1 million dollar show the band started full show rehearsals at the Civic Center in Lakeland in early June as the tour would kick off there on June 14. That show was cancelled due to a, according to their management, poor removal of stiches from drummer Peter Criss's hand after a accident but was actually canceled due to poor ticket sales as this "first" show was put on sale after the show on the next night was nearly sold out. So the initial firs show became a dress rehearsal and the tour kicked off a day later at the same venue.
On June 11 the band rehearsals were in full flow and the structure of the setlist (for the first part of the tour) was completed. Consisting of classics, 2 songs of the new Dynasty album and tracks from each member's 1978 solo album. These rehearsals were obviously recorded and the Godfather somehow obtained an unreleased tape of these recordings that give a very interesting view on this tour.
The full set is on this excellent CD and despite the lack of an audience, the raw interpretations of the songs and the comments of the bandmembers in between songs this is a very interesting release. It's truely a pleasure to listen to it as it's very down to earth, mistakes are covered with imprompt alterations to lyrics, chords and solos and the introductions are far from Paul Stanley's usual raps. So far only one other Dynasty concert has been released on CD or vinyl titles SHOW US, SHOW YOUR TITS or DYNASTY TOUR & MAKING. All titles include the same Fresno 1979 show with a different setlist than this release and quality of those release is way beyond this one making it the ultimate Dynasty release.
The quality is excellent especially considering its age and the fact that it is unreleased. The great content, quality and excellent APPROPRIATE packaging (with photos from the actual show including shots of Gene Simmons in the first incarnation of his Dynasty costume only used for these rehearsals and the first 2-3 shows of the tour) makes this release essential for every KISS fan.