Limited Edition of 106 Copies Worldwide. Coloured Vinyl and Numbered.
Live in Melbourne, Australia – Hilton Hotel, Australia 7/2/95
Australia had long been the most neglected markets in KISS’ history. This relationship was a result mainly of that continent’s global location and the costs associated with touring there — particularly taking KISS’ show there! While the popularity of the band there never really required a visit with the original lineup until the “Reunion” era, KISS had first visited in 1980 with Eric Carr. In some ways that tour had seen all the saved-up excitement provide a false representation of the state that the band was in at the time. Though for a country with a small population the record buying public had bought plenty of KISS records and merchandise since Astor took up the distribution gauntlet in 1974. That company had expanded from building washing machines to pressing vinyl! Regardless, following the 1980 visit it took another fifteen years for the band to return to the country. The negotiations to bring KISS to Australia had been arduous, taking nearly two years to bring to fruition, and tickets for the shows finally went on sale on November 21, 1994. KISS’s return to Australia included a treat for the fans with the first official KISS conventions taking place. These were mixed in between full electric performances that were scheduled in local arenas. According to Michael Chugg, a general manager and tour coordinator for Frontier Touring, much of the credit, “Had a lot to do with the persistence of the KISS fan club… They’ve really motivated it, both from our end and from the artist’s end” (Adelaide Advertiser). The electric shows quickly sold out, resulting in the second Melbourne show being added. Tickets for the conventions went on sale on January 9. KISS had attempted to trademark the term “KISS Convention” in November 1994. While originally granted the mark was ultimately cancelled. Where unofficial KISS Expos had been highly popular, only the band could provide an all-in-one package, and cut promoters out of the picture so that they reaped all of the rewards. Clarity was provided for the July 1994 Detroit Expo police raid where Gene and Paul arrived to confiscate many items being displayed. In court, the following day, they alleged that certain items, mainly of costumes, had been stolen from their New York City warehouse. But first, the band planned a trial run to field test the idea and work out any kinks on a live paying audience…
Arriving in Australia in the early morning February 2, following a night flight from Japan, KISS didn’t waste much time before getting into full swing for the visit. The following day they were inducted into the “Hard Rock Café Walk of Fame” in Perth, joining other popular acts that had a “star” honoring them. The “star” was inlayed into the entrance of the Café in Sydney at the end of the tour. With the press release proclaiming, “In recognition of 21 years of world-wide success and a triumphant return to Australia” the band would certainly leave something tangible in Australia. The tour was billed as the “KISS My Ass Downunder” which Gene thought was simply “delightful.” To commemorate the tour, Australia PolyGram reissued each of the three KISS “Alive” albums each in special slipcases, each featuring alternative artwork proclaiming them as being a “Limited Edition 1995 Tour Edition.” Included with each was a special bonus EP that included “Strutter” (6/73 Demo), “I Was Made for Lovin’ You,” “God of Thunder,” “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II,” and “Deuce.” While it would otherwise have been nothing spectacular, some noticed that the recording of “Deuce” was different from the first album version then currently available, however it was simply the remix of the song that had been included on some international versions of “Smashes, Thrashes and Hits.” PolyGram had also considered releasing an Australian only compilation in December 1994, though such a release never materialized.
The full electric shows were lined up in February for Perth (4), Adelaide (6), Melbourne (8&9), Brisbane (11), and Sydney (13). A show scheduled for Auckland, New Zealand, on February 17 was eventually cancelled or never fully booked/confirmed. According to Nicola Ciccarone, “The sound check for the first show in Perth one really memorable thing was that Paul was coaching Bruce on how to play ‘Shandi’ because he didn’t know how to play the song at all” (Strike #36). The conventions were held in Perth on the February 3 Adelaide (5), Melbourne (7), Brisbane (10), and finally Sydney on the February 12. For the electric shows, parts of the “Hot in the Shade” stage were utilized, rather than the more recent “Liberty” or newly designed staging. With the mix of playing live and doing nightly sound-checks the band was on form for the conventions. Recovering from their arrival and Gene’s having become ill, the unplugged session in Perth was the least interesting in terms of material performed, though some of the set was broadcast on local radio. Apart from Eric singing “Nothin To Lose,” there were only a few non-standard or “rare” songs performed: “Do You Love Me,” “Rock Bottom,” “All the Way,” “Let Me Know,” and “Magic Touch.” “Shandi,” an Australian hit, only survived in the set for the one show. Gene would also avoid as many sound-checks as he could, probably as a result of both his voice and other business.