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Kiss's extraordinary rock juggernaut in full flight on official Des Moine bootleg

The third and earliest show in Kiss's official bootleg series, Des Moines 1977, finds a distant audience enjoying an upfront performance

Kiss: Off The Soundboard: Des Moines 1977 cover art
(Image: © UMC)

The two shows so far released in Kiss’s Off The Soundboard series might benefit from having been recorded in the 21st century, when live recording technology was way more advanced than in the 70s, but there’s something more compelling about this dustier, shakier affair. 

The first of the series captures their makeup-clad, fire-breathing 70s prime, this Midwest arena show fizzing with villainous vim, even if the audience sound like they are miles away.

In a year when punk threatened to make such trad rock sound pedestrian, Kiss could hardly be accused of lacking edge. Paul Stanley sounds positively possessed as he whoops and exhorts his way through Love Gun, Shout It Out Loud and a riotous take on “rock’n’roll national anthem” Rock And Roll All Nite

And even without the visuals to accompanying a demonic God Of Thunder, you sense that if you’d been there you’d have been ready to drink your own blood to get on board this extraordinary rock juggernaut.

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock