Unused concert ticket, KISS @ Free Trade Hall, Manchester, England, May 13th 1976. First KISS-concert in Europe ever!

KISS, unused concert ticket, Free Trade Hall, Manchester 1976. This was their first ever concert in Europe!
KISS, unused concert ticket, Free Trade Hall, Manchester May 13, 1976. This was their first ever concert in Europe!

The unused vintage concert ticket pictured here is a treasured piece of my rock memorabilia collection. It is a ticket for the very first European concert by legendary glam/horror rockers KISS. It took place in Manchester, England in May 1976. Although their album ‘Destroyer’ had been released in USA, this show was part of the ‘Alive’-tour. The ticket is an authentic piece of rock memorabilia and not a reproduction.

Show info: May 13th 1976 was a Thursday. The ticket price was £2.00 and doors opened at 7.30 PM. KISS was the main act and they had just gotten their big breakthrough the year before, after a few years of struggling. The support band was also in the ‘soon to be superstars’ category, it was SCORPIONS of Germany. They had not yet had their commercial breakthrough, and would follow KISS around Europe as support act on this tour. Needless to say, this show would have been a real ‘clash of the titans’ if it happened today.

Ticket info: The ticket is actually very big compared to modern tickets, approx 7.25 inch long and 3 inch wide. This was how they made the tickets at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester back in the 70’s, and there was no exception when KISS kicked off their European leg of the ‘Alive’-tour. It’s complete, unused and printed on a medium thin paper. It was bought from dealer Ed Manley of Rock Memorabilia International in 2012, and they graded this 37 year old Kiss UK concert ticket in a “Mint+” condition. As this is an unused printed concert ticket, it includes all three portions (audit portion, admission portion and the ticket portion of information). For your information I can say that Ed Manley has an excellent record of trading and handling this kind of merchandise and is a pleasant person to deal with, so if you have any specific needs I’m sure he’ll help you out.

What is it worth?: Value is very relative, but this ticket is unused, in very nice condition and of a certain significance in rock history (at list thats MY opinion). If I was forced to put a value on it, I would say a collector will pay 150-250 USD.

File:The Free Trade Hall, Manchester.jpg
The Free Trade Hall in Manchester has now been turned in to a hotel. But in it’s time it has seen both speeches by the likes of Winston Churchill and concerts by Pink Floyd, Genesis and Sex Pistols. And Kiss, of course!

Venue info: Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England, indoor arena, concert capasity 2.500.

Video from the gig: No video found.

The band: KISS was founded in New York by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley in 1973, after their former band ‘Wicked Lester’ never achived any commercial success. Drummer Peter Criss (1972) was recruited via an add in a magazine, and later guitarist Ace Frehley (1973) impressed the guys at a gig and was asked if he wanted to join the band. The quartet wanted to do something special, and inspired by acts like Alice Cooper and the New York Dolls they started trying out different kinds of costumes. We all know how that went, with KISS and their signature costumes being a part of rock history.

They played their first concert in early ’73 (in front of 3 people), but were stuggling both with their costumes and getting a record contract. Finally, in november 1973 they signed with Casablanca Records, and released their debut album KISS in 1974. The album didn’t do as well as the band had hoped, despite heavy touring and promoting. The second and third album, ‘Hotter than hell’ and ‘Dressed to kill’ also failed to deliver commercially, and Casablanca Records as well as the band was now in severe money trouble. They needed a success, and by late 1975 they knew it was “make or break” with the next album.

Kiss were saved by their charismatic and wild live shows, and despite poor record sales they were a hit on stage. Spitting blood, catching fire, firebreath and elevated drumkit were some of the ingredients. The band wanted to catch the atmosphere at their shows on record, and in September ’75 they released the album ‘Alive’ as their “do or die” project. And it went through the roof. It saved both the band and the record company and gave the four new yorkers their big breakthrough. Few months later the got on the plane to Europe and gave their first ever show of the continent in the important historical building Free Trade Hall of Manchester, England.

The original concert poster from the Free Trade Hall show in 1976. Photo courtesy of www.kisschikara.com

Setlist: Kiss played these songs in Northern England this evening in May 1976:

  1. Deuce
  2. Strutter
  3. Flaming Youth
  4. Hotter Than Hell
  5. Firehouse
  6. (Gene spitting fire)
  7. She
  8. (Ace guitar solo)
  9. Nothin’ to Lose
  10. Shout It Out Loud
  11. Bass Solo
  12. 100,000 Years
  13. (Peter Criss drum solo)
  14. Black Diamond
  15. Detroit Rock City
  16. Rock and Roll All Nite
  17. Let Me Go, Rock ‘N’ Roll

As always; if you have any questions – feel free to mail me: LBMikalsen @ gmail . com or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you 🙂

7 Responses

  1. I went to this Concert and The scorpions did not open it was UK band Stray .The Scoprions didn’t play on any of the Kiss 76 tours

    • lbmikalsen

      Hi there and thanks for the info. I certainly didnt know that 🙂 . I will have to check my references. From what I can dig up online they actually were supported by Scorpions at three dates in Germany and one in Belgium, and no more. My source was Setlist.fm which state that Scorpions played the Free Trade Hall on May 13th, but thats obviously not true if you say it isnt and you were there 🙂

      Strangely enough the claim theselves to have been there on their own website: https://www.the-scorpions.com/tour/?tour=18

    • lbmikalsen

      Hi there and thanks for the info. I certainly didnt know that 🙂 . I will have to check my references. From what I can dig up online they actually were supported by Scorpions at three dates in Germany and one in Belgium, and no more. My source was Setlist.fm which state that Scorpions played the Free Trade Hall on May 13th, but thats obviously not true if you say it isnt and you were there 🙂

      Strangely enough the claim themselves to have been there on their own website: https://www.the-scorpions.com/tour/?tour=18

  2. There is a pic of a poster showing Scorpions as the support, but I recall it was certainly Stray who supported them. Also confirmed when a few years ago, I met Stray’s Del Bromham, who is a friend of a friend, and we chatted about it …

    • Ah so Scorpions were not part of this tour of Britain at all? Do you know the reason for this?

      • I have no idea why they were ‘dropped’ from it Levi. I never even knew they were even involved until I came across that poster ….. then this site. Odd that they have themselves down as having done the tour even on their own site.

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