July 2018 : KRR's review of 2 Gene Simmons Band concerts and 2
Gene Simmons Vault Experiences
I probably had the best summer holiday
ever. For the first time in my life I took 2 weeks off work with
temperatures from 25 up to 30+ °C (77 up to
86 F), no rain, but all sunshine and blue skies …
Back at work, this hot summer is the reason that it took so long to
write a sort of review of both Gene Simmons Band concerts and the two
Gene Simmons Vault Experiences I attended.
From the moment Gene Simmons started his solo band last year, and after
watching YouTube-clips, I was impressed with the setlist, his and the
band’s enthusiasm during all the performances, as well as the way Gene
seems to be approachable to his fans … and seeing he’s enjoying it.
Sure, since I ‘discovered’ KISS early 1977 I always preferred most of
Paul Stanley’s songs above the ones by Gene Simmons … but with Paul
struggling with his voice as well as his ‘hiding personality’ since the
90’s, my respect to Gene Simmons is still growing …. So when the tickets
for the concerts in Tilburg (The Netherlands) and Oberhausen (Germany)
went on sale halfway December 2017 there was doubt to go …
counts for The Gene Simmons Vault box set … , Sure, $ 2000,- (€ 1718,-)
is a lot of money, but the songs on The Vault are exactly the KISS stuff
I personally do collect since the release of
1984 album. So somehow/someway I needed to get my hands on “The Vault”.
Since 2004 (Speaking
Of Tongues DVD) Gene Simmons was talking about
his upcoming box set.
In 2006 it seemed Gene Simmons was close to finish his “Monster”
box set, but it took 12 more years before the final product saw the
light of day ….
Anyway, at the very beginning, Amsterdam was listed at the Gene Simmons
The Vault Experience announcements … Soon after Amsterdam was removed ….
I still doubted about going to Frankfurt, and in between I still wasn’t
sure about keeping my job … but from one moment to another December
2017, Amsterdam was planned for July 22, 2018 – Thank God, together with
a unexpected financial bonus …
The same week a friend gave me call suggesting to book Amsterdam, while
he already had booked Frankfurt March 18, I’d be joining his Vault
Experience in Frankfurt * and he’d be joining mine in Amsterdam. In just
2 or 3 days everything fell into place to a simple Win-Win situation …
* (The March 18 Frankfurt Vault Experience was cancelled at the last
moment due to health issues affecting Gene Simmons while he was in
London March 17. We got a phone call from Rikk just an hour before we
arrived in Frankfurt the day before The Frankfurt Vault Experience.)
July 19, 2018 : Gene Simmons Band at 013,
Tilburg, The Netherlands
Together with a couple friends (better to say the bad boyzz ‘round me) I
went to the Gene Simmons Band at 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands. To skip
an opening act nobody was interested in, we first had a few beers at our
hotel …, so we were a little late, but right on time to see GSB.
The concert wasn’t sold out, but the venue looked packed. At the
beginning there was no way to get up front …. (we thought). Gene Simmons
and his solo band looked and sounded fresh, full of enthusiasm, and from
time to time I realized how good Gene’s voice still is compared to Paul
Early in the set a 14 year old kid joined the band on stage for
“Parasite”, and before turning into the regular guitar solo, the band
gave him a spot to show his skills with an instrumental (bridge) jamming
part halfway the song.
To me “All The Way” is just a good KISS song I forgot about, but with
this band and this song it felt like everything in me went back in time
,,, memories from my youth were flashing through my head …. while my
body went on to the rhythm and lyrics of the song …. I’m sure this
didn’t happen when “All the Way” was played during KISS ‘ Alive 35 Tour
years back … Maybe it was the alcohol in me. After that song I realized
that one of my friends was ‘missing’ … We were standing next to the bar,
but he wasn’t there to order new drinks … When I watched up front I saw
the ladies went on stage to join the band for “Do You Love Me” … Between
all those girls and the band I saw my ‘missing’ friend … a little
misplaced, but he stayed there a little in the back while the band first
played “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” with a woman singing. I’m not sure if
this song was performed spontaneous or already planned. It looks like
our friend was hiding behind all the ladies, but when Gene Simmons
wanted to introduce “Do You Love Me”, I saw him standing between the
drums and the backline, while I heard “Jelle, Robert .. “ coming out of
the speakers twice (using drummer Brent Fitz mike), Gene tried again, my
friend mentioned his girlfriend’s name, Gene Simmons turned back to the
drum set, and my friend reacted by saying “Sorry Gene” …. It’s always
fun having friends like him… , something will happen, that’s for sure.
“Jelle, Robert .. “ coming out of the speakers twice (10th second)
and "Love You Louise" - "Sorry Gene" (33rd second) - during introducing
"Do You Love Me" ..
To me Gene’s introduction to “Charisma” was also fun, Gene yelled to
Shannon (who was standing on side of the stage) like she was standing in
the kitchen … “Shannon !! … , Shannon !! … You hear that Shannon !!,
It’s My Charisma !! …
Another surprise was the performance of “I”, sure KISS played the song
at the KISS Kruise a couple of times, but with this band all sharing
lead vocals (except for the drummer Brent Fitz) it turned out very good.
Near the end of the show my friends and I went up front to come on stage
to join the band for “Rock ‘n Roll All Nite”. From the moment I was on
stage Ryan and Jeremy immediately yelled my name Jel-léé … followed with
some warm welcome hugs .. cool they still recognize me after a couple of
years, realizing they’ve seen so many faces ….
During the song it felt like an intoxication of spontaneity … everything
seemed to go automatically while singing … after the guitar solo I went
back to my mike when I saw Shannon on side of the stage .. For a moment
I was thinking to take her on stage …. but I wasn’t sure if she’d allow
me to take her arm, haven’t seen or spoke to her since 2014 …. So maybe
she would think “who’s that idiot” …
on stage with the Gene Simmons band "Rock 'n Roll All Nite"
July 20, 2018 : Gene Simmons Band at
Turbinenhalle, Oberhausen, Germany
The next and last concert of Gene Simmons Band mini European tour was in
While the summer was already hot this year, inside the venue
Oberhausen’s Turbinenhalle (an old big factory build in 1920) it was
extremely hot. No airco-system !! I originally planned to see a glimpse
of UK Rockers THUNDER (their “Dirty Love” is one of my fave songs), but
with the high temperature inside the hall I decided to stay in the
smoking area outside the building.
It was cool to see and meet so many international friends prior and
after the GSB concert.
During the concert we had a good spot near the front at the right side
(Jeremy / Ryan) of the stage. The setlist was nearly the same as the one
in Tilburg, except that some songs were played in different order. Both
night GSB played parts of “She’s So Europan”, “Domino” as well as the
Little Richard cover “Long Tall Sally”, but Oberhausen got 5 extra songs
“Unholy (partial)” , “Love Theme From Kiss”, “Ladies Room”, “Almost
Human” and “Goin’ Blind” … Near the end of the regular set Jeremy even
threw away Gene’s setlist papers …
After the concert I had a small meet & greet with the band, again with a
warm welcome from Ryan and Jeremy, as well as from the rest of the band
and around … which made Gene say the funny words “Who’s this guy,
everybody seems to know him, but me.“ (probably he had seen too many
faces, but he’ll find out 2 days later …)
with the Gene Simmons band L-R: Jeremy Asbrock, Brent Fitz, Gene
Simmons, me, Ryan Cook and Phil Shouse
July 22, 2018 : Gene Simmons Vault Experience, Amsterdam, The
On Sunday July 22 I had my Vault Experience at the Gibson Room, on the
10th floor of the Amsterdam Tower. Have to say that Marco Marco and Mark
Laurentz did a great job organizing the whole event at probably the best
location and site of town of all Vault Experiences so far … (except for
the Capitol Records building … maybe ?).
My guest for The Vault Experience was much smarter than I. While I was
hanging out and talking he already took the elevator to arrange a good
spot for me, front row, directly in front of Gene Simmons himself. Thank
You mate !!
Gene Simmons started the Vault Experience the regular way, playing parts
of “My Uncle Is a Raft”, telling the story behind the song, but soon
after some jokes around the meaning of the word “pick” and learning a
few Dutch “G-words” (partly from me). It seemed that Gene Simmons
departed from his standard way of performing the same songs (partial) to
introduce “The Vault” …
For example he learned us how to use our tongues while doing the
alphabet … go imagine for yourself.
By request he played parts of “Mr. Make Believe” as well as an early
version of that song having a different title (“One More Chance” which
The Vault), while telling the story behind the
by request for Silvy Roos : "Mr. Make Believe" (starts 02:45)
Halfway the set Barry Hay (singer of Dutch band Golden Earring) joined
in, jokily sharing stories from the seventies when KISS was opening for
Golden Earring in the USA. Also the animated television series “My Dad
the Rock Star” was mentioned. (Barry Hay did the voiceover of “Rock
Zilla” for the Dutch version of the series).
Barry Hay (never to early for a beer) and Gene Simmons
In case of my personal “Gene Simmons The Vault Experience” I was number
22 out of 45.
It wasn’t necessary to stay in line, so there was plenty of time to chat
with friends, have a drink, etc. When it was time for my Vault
Experience it felt like something was going to happen.
In some way I was prepared, knowing what to ask… but that immediately
turned away after knocking Gene’s fist to say Hello … I was expecting he
The Vault first so I could start asking my
I know Gene Simmons knows about
www.kiss-related-recordings.nl, so I was ready
to ask questions related to my website. I didn’t expect him to sign my
Gene Simmons Moneybag Luge Roller (which I use for daily work) first.
So that made me a little nervous starting the conversation, which made
me decide to joke around with some “G-words” again.
signing my Gene Simmons Moneybag Luge Roller
Luckily thereafter Gene start signing “The Vault” so we could talk about
“Kiss Related Recordings”.
My first question was about co-writers I know Gene Simmons demoed with
during the early 80’s, whose songs are not on The Vault. Gene gave his
explanation which answer surprised me a bit. I quickly asked him if he
already had contact with Anna Dalva who was in one of Gene Simmons’
Bullfrog Bheer* .
July 2017, using his
twitter account , Gene Simmons asked for help
to find people he have worked with during the years, so Ole Peko
KISS bands tree) and I responded. A day later
we found out our answers and suggestions were buried by hundreds of
reactions not related to the question.
Gene Simmons thought that Anna Dalva already passed away, which is not
true I responded. From one moment to another Gene Simmons picked a
guitar and played us “Movin'
On”, explaining that the chords came from Anna
(Note : The song is also performed by
Rainbow (1971) and appeared on the
Wicked Lester August 7, 1971 reel to reel tape
Paul Stanley found recently). After the song Gene finished signing “The
Vault”, mentioning W.O.W. “It’s My Life”, which album was the main
reason for me to start collecting KISS Related album releases …
Afterwards Gene signed the page of The Ltd Ed. Family Jewels 2004 box
set, whose book includes a 2 track CD from ‘the upcoming’ Gene Simmons “Monster”
boxset … as well as 2 oversized photo posters for my guest. |
At the End , I can easily say that my Gene Simmons Vault Experience
turned out to be very special !!
Gene Simmons picked a guitar and
played us "Movin' On"by Bullfrog Bheer
Back home I checked my personal gifts in The Vault, but also wanted to
contact Anna Dalva … That night I uploaded the video of My Vault
YouTube and shared the link to Anna Dalva with a few lines
* Anna Dalva vs. Bullfrog Bheer
Late 1967 / early 1968 Anna Dalva (guitar / vocals) was in the first
line-up of BULLFROG BHEER, together with Gene Simmons (bass / vocals)
and drummer Stan Singer.
At the time Anna was only 16 years old, while Gene Simmons was a teacher
in upstate New York.
Bullfrog Bheer had rehearsals at Anna Dalva’s parents garage. According
to Anna Dalva, Gene slept on her couch for about a year and called his
mom every night to talk to her in Hebrew. Anna’s mom didn’t allow her to
tour with the band, so soon after Anna was replaced by Steve Coronel
late 1968. Later on Anna Dalva wrote for Motown, and is still writing
today, currently finishing her book.
Anna Dalva (2017)
July 24, 2018 : Gene Simmons Vault Experience,
The next morning - Monday July 23 - I had to pick up a friend, who
joined me at my Vault Experience in Amsterdam. In return I was his guest
at the Frankfurt Vault Experience at the Roomers hotel, Frankfurt,
Germany. We arrived the night before The Vault Experience to meet and
drink with some friends we already knew and/ or made at the cancelled
Vault Experience a few months earlier. The next day the whole Vault
Experience was much different compared to the one in Amsterdam, First
Gene Simmons acoustic set was planned outside in a tent on the terrace
behind the hotel. Due to the summer heat the set was moved to the
restaurant inside … which was a little dark… I’m not sure, but my
feelings is that the acoustic set was little shortened because of the
delay. Special guest by the end of the set was Doro Pesch . Because we
were staying at the hotel for 2 night we choose to be the last to do The
Vault Experience (number 57) … Because it was my friend’s Vault
Experience I stayed a little in the back, trying to be quiet … My friend
asked Gene a good question about the 1991 (“Revenge”-) demo recording “I
Wanna Live” with Vinnie Vincent. Gene Simmons answered that they both
recorded about 10 songs more which are all much heavier …. When it was
my turn to let Gene Simmons sign some stuff I told him I did contact
Anna Dalva, telling him she is 70 now … (which was wrong, she’s in her
60’s), as well that she still have Bullfrog Bheer tapes … and again the
“G-words” during the photo shoots ….
Gene Simmons The Vault Experience Frankfurt, Germany July 24, 2018
After the whole experience was over I went back to Gene Simmons to make
sure he’ll contact Anna Dalva … Showed him her Instagram account on my
phone and got a business card of his project manager Keith Valcourt.
I few hours later I got Anna Dalva’s phone number, whose info I mailed
the next day … A few days later I got a couple of messages from Anna
letting me know that Keith phoned her, and the next week she got an
email from Gene Simmons, who found out (using Google) that Anna Dalva
was a boat racer during the 90’s …. I didn’t even know that !! It’s cool
to realize they’re back in contact with each other after 50 years !!!
Is it worth the bucks ?? !! For me as a collector of all Kiss related
music including demo’s … YES !!
On the other hand – besides the costs - the The Vault probably is not
meant to be for the masses, meaning, in my opinion the same KISS fans
who’re complaining that the “The Vault” is too expensive would also
complain when they’ve bought this box set for a regular price (or even
worse after downloading), now with the words that the quality of the
songs are not good enough compared to KISS, whatever ….
So far I’ve played The Vault discs about 2- 4 times each, while reading
I remember when I first got my hands on a tape called “Gene
Simmons Asylum demo’s” (tape trading). It must
have been 1989, around the time Paul Stanley did his solo tour …. That
same (proud) feeling I have now while listening to The Vault, as well as
realizing that fewer songs from that tape are on The Vault … Sure, some
Gene Simmons related demos are circulating on bootleg albums since the
late 80’s, as well as on the internet … But the versions on The Vault
are much different (“Feels Like Heaven” for example) … As Gene Simmons
explained earlier (as well as in the book), a lot of his songs are not
suitable for KISS… You can probably make one or two KISS albums out of
The Vault, as well as a heavier disc sounding somewhere between KISS’
“Carnival Of Souls” and his “Asshole”
album. Some of his 60’s recordings on disc 11 reminds to Peter Criss’
In between there’s a lot of stuff that surprises me, sure many demo’s
from the 70’s and his 78 solo album.
Or what about the 1979 demo of “Only
You”, which sounds more like a Rockin' Foreigner song compared to the version on “Music From The
Elder”… I also like to mention “Got Love For Sale” (original title “Have
Love Will Travel”), one of the 3 songs on The Vault recorded with the
Van Halen brothers … You’ll immediately
recognize Edward van Halen’s guitar sound when it starts … Also a lot of
Beatles inspired songs which will never make it on a KISS album, while
some of them will fit on a E.L.O. album …
I suggest to listen to The Vault with somebody who started his interest
in music with KISS, then lost interest while discovering new bands, and
who knows something about music and writing songs…I did that recently
with half of the discs, and you’ll be surprised what you’ll hear
together instead of listening alone …
I'm not sure if it is mentioned in the book or if he told us recently,
but Gene thinks he's not a real songwriter ... Probably this is the
first topic Gene Simmons is a little modest on ... I think he’s a good
songwriter (“See You Tonite”). Okay, maybe not in a way like Bob Dylan
.... but more Beatles inspired ... and he’s able to write good 3 minute
Ever realized how many voices Gene has, which he’s still using today
without struggling ?
I just did, seeing the electric shows, his acoustic sets (especially
when he performed “Mr. Make Believe”) … and with The Vault ???
I don’t like to make promises I can’t keep, but I’m still thinking of
doing a song by song review for the
KRR website …
Thanks to Gene Simmons, Keith Valcourt, Mark Laurentz, Marco Marco, Rikk
Scholvinck, Stefan Schipper, Alexx Michael, and Arjen Alkemade.