NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 119: KISS at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City!

Today’s t-shirt memorializes the very KISS stadium concert at Jersey City’s Roosevelt Stadium in 1976! This tee is available at their official page KISSonline.com

Wow, we love demolishing stadiums in this state, don’t we? Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City was a baseball stadium that opened in 1937 and was demolished in 1985. Sure, it had its share of memorable sporting events and concerts, but one in particular featured my favorite band ever, KISS.

When you think of famed KISS concerts, you may think of Cobo Hall in Detroit, or even Madison Square Garden in New York City, but merely days after America’s Bicentennial 4th of July celebration, on July 10th, 1976, KISS played very first stadium show right in The Sexiest of all Armpits.

Headlining a big baseball stadium was no easy task. The band had to be louder and crazier than the crowd was, and naturally, KISS was up for the task. At the time, they were riding high on what would become their biggest album of all time, Destroyer, so they were properly equipped to blast everyone directly out of the stadium with their mammoth sound and explosions, and that’s exactly what they did.

For non-KISS fans, it’s easy to believe that if you’ve seen one KISS concert, you’ve seen them all, but I’m here to tell you that’s just simply not the case. There was a special kind of magic going on with the early KISS shows. A group of musicians with a wild idea to mix ghastly face paint, elaborate costumes, and an explosive stage show were still in their formative years as a band. Hell, much like some of their other early concerts, the Roosevelt Stadium show was filmed in black and white, lending it an even more macabre atmosphere. B&W is one quality that always intrigued me with early KISS shows and bootlegs, especially knowing that Gene is such a horror movie fanatic.

Many of you have lived through the many incarnations of KISS. For over 40 years now KISS has been evolving their music, their look, and their stage show. To me, nothing beats those early years. Their music was darker and more seedy, their look was more basic, albeit scary. I wasn’t lucky enough to live through their ’70s heyday, but I relived them on my own through VHS bootlegs as a kid. Now, all that footage is on DVD box sets and of course, YouTube! You can see footage from the Roosevelt Stadium show below.

*Opening for KISS at Roosevelt Stadium was The J.Geils Band and Point Blank. It’s a heinous crime that at of the time of this post this show was somehow not included in the notable KISS concert list on Wikipedia. That is totally insane. Someone please fix this!

KISS at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, NJ 1976

Nearly 14,000 fans packed into Jersey City’s Roosevelt Stadium for KISS
“KISS: The Lost Concert” DVD is not authorized by Gene Simmons, but that didn’t stop The Sexy Armpit from getting his hands on it. While the KISSology DVD collection included a ton of rare footage, concerts, and videos that I’m glad to own, that series neglected to include many important shows in KISSTORY. One of those shows took place at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey on July 10th, 1976. Fortunately it was “…discovered, restored, and remastered” by Passport Video in 2003 and it’s a must buy for those of you KISS Army members who are also certified New Jersey geeks like me.

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Gene Simmons always mentioned that he had tapes of every KISS show stored in the “KISS Vault.” This may not be true since this “Lost Concert” wasn’t a priority for the band to release to the public, so it is possible that KISS did not have a pristine recording archived of this show. For 34 year old footage, The Lost Concert provides a high quality black and white picture with an excellent audio track. But that’s not the best thing about this DVD, what’s even cooler is that this specific concert is special for other reasons.

On KISS’ “Spirit of ’76” tour, the costumed NYC band was on the verge of becoming permanently embedded into popular culture. It was fitting that they played at Roosevelt Stadium since it was a grand venue for presenting one of KISS’ explosive shows. The stadium, named after Franklin D. Roosevelt, opened in 1937 and was demolished in 1985. There is an elite list of concerts that took place there during it’s existence, and fortunately KISS is on that list. Prior to being KISSED, the stadium was known for holding sporting events ranging from baseball, boxing, and football games, some of which are legendary.

Here’s the set list:
1. Cold Gin
2. Do You Love Me
3. Watchin’ You
4. God of Thunder
5. Flaming Youth
6. Firehouse
7. Black Diamond