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April 7, 1974


Detroit, MI
Michigan Palace
Promoter: WABX / Steve Glantz Productions
Other act(s): Aerosmith (HL), Mojo Boogie Band, Michael Fennelly
Reported audience: 5,000 **SOLD-OUT
Reported gross: $4,850

Set list(s):

Deuce MP3
Strutter MP3
She MP3
Firehouse MP3
Nothin' To Lose MP3
Cold Gin MP3
100,000 Years MP3
Black Diamond MP3
Baby, Let Me Go MP3


- The WABX-FM "Kite-In and Balloon Fly" was an annual grassroots event in 1968, but quickly grew to require much larger venues that could accommodate thousands. The station broadcast both the Aerosmith and Kiss sets as part of their special all-day coverage of the event, starting at noon. The annual "Kite-In" was cancelled due to poor weather, including rain and snow, forcing postponement of that part of the event until April 21. However, since some among the 3,000 young folk who did turn up for the event caused $2,000 damage inside the Belle Isle Casino, the local Common Council banned WABX from sponsoring any further "Kite-Ins" in Detroit parks (Detroit Free Press, 4/12/1974). Regardless, the concert raised $7,000 towards the clean-up of Belle Isle.
- Joe Perry later recalled, "Aerosmith weren't huge in '74, we were battling to build an audience. There was no MTV or Internet, it was all about playing live and making an impression on an audience. Kiss was in the same place as us. We always checked out the opening band to see what you were up against. We were both on the way up, so I always looked at it as us having a friendly competition with them. When I went out to see Kiss play the audience was going crazy and they didn't have a big show back then. That first record was straight ahead rock and roll, nothing fancy. I thought they were a little hokey, but the audience was going nuts. I watched them for a while and then went back into the dressing room and was shaking my head in frustration saying, 'What the hell's going on? Is that what people want? Are we gonna have to dress up in tutus and put on Halloween costumes to make it?'" (Ken Sharp — Aerosmith on Tour).
- Aerosmith versus Kiss, Part 2: WABX tried to smooth over the friction between the two crews prior to the show, inviting Aerosmith's road manager Kelly "Bob" Kelleher to a pre-production meeting. When he and a couple of others showed up, a dozen members of the Kiss crew, and Casablanca VP Larry Harris, were waiting. The Aerosmith crew felt it was an attempt to intimidate them and akin to an ambush. With Kiss as the new kids out of New York versus the slightly more seasoned team from Boston, it was a typical sports-like team rivalry, where the crews were accustomed to battling for the best for their band at each gig as they strove to reach the big leagues. Aerosmith's crew granted them use of part of the lighting but evened the score by not allowing the use of key truss which affected the impact of the lighting on their show. By the time the Kiss crew discovered the impact of the limitations it was too late for them to do anything about it, other than complain. And perform, they had enough other firepower to rely on.

What Aerosmith may not have known is that Casablanca Records were covering the expenses for WABX to put on the show, as part of a deal pushing for more support of Kiss by the station and courting Aerosmith-supporting DJ Mark Parenteau. Casablanca didn't care that Aerosmith insisted on closing, or what acts were on the bill, knowing the challenges of bands performing after Kiss. According to Casablanca's Larry Harris, the production issues and the number of bands involved in the show slowing switchovers leading to venue representatives to threaten to end the show following Kiss' set. By that point, Tyler was reportedly throwing "a screaming hissy fit" (Harris, Larry - And Party Every Day: The Inside Story of Casablanca Records), and tired audience members were leaving. Requiring an argument to resolve, the result was Aerosmith didn't hit the stage until nearly 2 a.m. In Harris' book, the other matters are not mentioned...
- Tom Hamilton: "We played with them in Detroit, and I remember hearing that there had been a confrontation involving knives between the two crews. We were headlining again, and Kiss was opening, and they needed a lot more stage space than most opening acts. Of course, we didn't want their gear interfering with our gear so that caused problems between the road crews. Back in those days I had an exaggerated competitive attitude to a band like Kiss. Part of that was me being really proud of our band. To be fair, I had a grudging respect for them. Back in the early '70s, being deemed commercial was not cool but Kiss didn't care about being commercial. They concentrated on the smiles on the faces of the kids that came to see them. They were about fun and putting on a spectacle, which they'd mastered. We felt it was important to blow them off the stage. The audience was there to see us, but I don't think it was possible to see their show back in those days and not be entertained by them. Nobody was doing what they were doing. They executed a theatrical show better than someone like Alice Cooper" (Ken Sharp — Aerosmith on Tour).
- Kiss did "win" one thing this night, Paul "Salli" Chavarria had been hitchhiking around following the show and was looking for work. He was advised by the Aerosmith crew to check with Kiss's road manager, JR Smalling. Chavarria would be hired on the spot that night and he'd stay with that band for the rest of the decade becoming Gene Simmons' bass tech.
- For many fans this is the king of early performances — simply for the quality of the surviving source material. Since the show was broadcast on radio pre-FM reels have survived. The low gross is a result of tickets being sold for 0.97c, the radio station's frequency.

Of Interest:

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