One of the most popular KISS-related shows we’ve done was our GPS: KISS Landmarksepisode with special guest host Chris Epting. Chris is well-versed in KISS, pop culture, and travel as he’s written books on all three. He also now hosts a great new music talk show that you can access HERE.
We had such a great response to that episode that we knew we had to do a part 2 for this year’s KISSMAS in JULY. We’re fortunate that Chris was equally enthusiastic about coming back to discuss KISS Landmarks. So, let’s crank up the engine and hit the highway!
1 Washington Blvd Detroit, MI 48226 – Cobo Hall
It’s also worth noting that it was the host venue for 1984’s Animalize Live/Uncensored performance as well as the venue chosen for the kickoff of the Alive 35 tour in 2009.
|Michigan Palace location|
It was also a beneficial presence for KISS’ promotional efforts as it was utilized for the videos for Rock N Roll All Nite and C’mon & Love Me as well as the cover photo for the Alive! album shot by Fin Costello. The majority of the structure was torn down but the ornate ceilings can still be seen above the parking garage that sits in its place today.
Corner of 23rd & 8th, NYC – Dressed to Kill Cover site.
Inspiration struck during this shoot and the members of the band were in quick need of some business suits. Peter, being the only one that actually owned a suit, looked spiffy on this cover but the rest of the band looked awkward due to having to borrow manager Bill Aucoin’s duds and Gene borrowing Gruen’s wife’s clogs. It’s a strange album cover for sure but always a destination for KISS fans visiting the Big Apple.
d album awards prior to taking the stage.
Also of note for this concert was the fact that Blue Oyster Cult were the opening act. This was symbolic in the fact that a year prior, KISS was opening in this venue for BOC. This took place 2 years to the day of their first public performance at the Academy of Music. A true crossroads for the band on their way to superstardom.
|San Diego Sports Arena|
San Diego Sports Arena fits in the KISS ether by way of one very famous photograph. The gatefold image of KISS in full bombastic glory from the Alive II album has always been a stern message to other bands to “Top this!” While it’s one of the most iconic photos in rock history, it’s origin location is refuted by the original photographer. Barry Levine has claimed in interviews that the photo was not snapped at Sports Arena but, in fact, at L.A.’s Forum. Regardless of where it was taken, it still makes many say “Wow” upon first glance.
Also of KISS note, Studio 54 was the host venue for one of the only times that band performed as a trio. KISS were set to lip-synch to the song ‘I’ from the Music from The Elder album during a live satellite broadcast for the San Remo Festival in Italy in January 1982. Ace Frehley was a no-show and the band had to soldier on despite his absence. A very strange location for a very strange performance from a very strange album. Strange, indeed.
|Cascais Hall, Lisbon|
As evidenced by the footage on KISSOLOGY Volume 2, the Portuguese fans were a bit surprised by the band’s new appearance but were quickly won over by the energetic ferocity that they still brought to the stage.
|Borden Ink, Depew NY|
Marvel master Stan Lee was on hand as well as a notary and members of the press. This was an iconic moment in the band’s history and it also ushered in the saturation of non-musical merchandise that was to come.
|Broome County Arena, Binghampton NY|
Of KISS note, it is the only venue to feature a full Mark St. John KISS performance. Struggling with Reiter’s Syndrome, St. John was sidelined for most of the Animalize tour and played a couple of split shows with then-replacement member Bruce Kulick. But in Binghampton, St. John would play the entire set. Being a rather small arena, only a select number of fans got to witness one very unique and short-lived lineup of KISS.
|Riverfront Park, Nashville TN|
Headlining the Gibson Guitars 100th Anniversary concert, KISS played after an eclectic mix of artists including Pat Travers, Brother Cane, and Fleetwood Mac. The band threw down a musical gauntlet without the use of pyro or flashy stage effects. Performing on a floating stage, the band pulled out a barrage of heavy and obscure tunes that had the diehards panting for more. Truly a unique concert in KISStory.
The network also aired the beginning of a raucous concert at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium. While the merits of the album and pre-tour hype are hot-button topics for any KISS fan, it’s pretty clear that this venue, on this night, hosted a band that had truly returned to form.
8255 Sunset Boulevard Los Angeles, California 90046 – Casablanca Records Offices
|Casablanca Records Site|
With cocaine running rampant and hype spilling out of every corner thanks to the enthusiasm of label owner Neil Bogart, the Casablanca Offices provide a perfect example of the phrase “If walls could talk.” There are some famous photos in KISS-fan circles of the large billboard outside the building that would regularly feature KISS album advertisements.
|NBC Studios Site|
On 4/1/1975, KISS ripped through a handful of future-classics in front of a slack-jawed audience on The Midnight Special. This fiery performance included loads of energy by the front three as well as machine gun-like drumming from Peter Criss as well as Chris totally trashing his drum kit at the end of the set (a la Keith Moon). This footage is a great way to show a newbie how powerful KISS was in the early days.
|Sidney Town Hall|
Playing soccer stadiums, making front page news every day, and parties that seemed to never end, the band had their official welcome on the balcony of Sydney Town Hall looking down on thousands of fans that had gathered to get a glimpse of their heroes.
|Tiger Stadium Site|
Playing to a massive sold out audience, KISS was there to say “Meet the new boss….same as the old boss”
8852 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069 – The Viper Room
|The Viper Room|
yle=”font-family: “Arial”,”sans-serif”;”>The band were there to unveil the massive Monster book. Chris and his son had a special moment with the band as Gene took note of the strong father and son bond that had connected the two through the love of the band.
Closing out our discussion of KISS Landmarks is another location near and dear to Chris Epting. On May 13, 2013 the band performed and impromptu 3 song set at the grand opening of Rock and Brews PCH location.
|Rock & Brews PCH|
Not using their trademark gear, the band performed with the gear that was laying around but still pulled off an energetic set that had KISS fans in the crowd excited. We close out the show with an exclusive audio clip of KISS performing ‘Hotter Than Hell.’
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