1996 was a momentous year for the Monsters Of Rock festival, but not for the right reasons. After 16 years, this venerable event-come-pilgrimage finally reached the end of the road. And it was Kiss who brought the curtain down once and for all.
Europe had always been more resistant to the band’s charms than the US, and even the lure of the reunited original line-up in full make-up wasn’t enough to pack out the Donington field. The result was a damp squib of an evening that suggested the decision to shut up shop wasn’t the worst move. Still, this third instalment in the band’s under-the-radar live series suggests their 70s-centred performance wasn’t as underwhelming as it seemed at the time.
It’s a long way from the glory days of the first two Alive! albums, and it’s as unpolished as Kiss get, but the spirit of fuck-you defiance that has always lurked just beneath the surface of the band was present – not least in guitarist Ace Frehley’s could-go-off-the-rails-at-any-moment performance.
There’s nothing here that Kiss fans won’t have heard before, and it’s unlikely anyone in attendance would want it as a souvenir of an event that had clearly reached its sell-by date. But as a snapshot of a moment in time it’s not without merit.