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

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.

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.


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