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KISS Still Delivers A Rock 'n' Roll Show Like No One Else 

Back on August 1st, I wrote a column about KISS and my decision to purchase tickets to the August 7th show in Mansfield, Massachusetts. I feel it is proper, as a follow-up, to provide my review of the show.

Bottom line, KISS is still an amazing live show!

I timed my arrival at the venue (the Comcast Center) just right, as I arrived just as the last opening band was finishing their set, so I can offer no opinion on either "Envy" or "The Academy Is." I grabbed two beers for a mere $23.00 (one for me and one for my wife) and went off to find our seats, which were dead center in the middle of the pavilion, about 10 rows behind Paul Stanley's 'small stage.' My wife is not really a fan of the band, so I was explaining all of the nuances that KISS fans expect from the show. For example, all fans know to start paying attention when they hear "The Who" over the P.A., because the curtain is about to drop...and believe it or not, when it drops (even though you are expecting it), you still get goose bumps. Minutes after the curtain drops, the lights go dim and you hear the famous introduction. However, apparently no one informed the announcer where they were that day because we got, "Alright....[uncomfortable pause]....ALL. You wanted the best, you got the best..." I found humor in the error.

KISS doesn't just take the stage, they own it. They hit all the high spots that would be expected. Synchronized moves during "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" and "Deuce;" blood spitting, fire breathing, levitating drum set, Gene Simmons flying to the rafters, Paul Stanley flying into the audience, guitars shooting rockets and of course insane pyrotechnics and confetti. No one can deny that a KISS show is truly a visual spectacle. As for the set list, it was a varied mix that covered their entire career, including "Lick it Up" and "Crazy, Crazy Nights" (from the non-make-up era). They did three songs from Sonic Boom, but to be honest, two would have been enough, as "I'm an Animal" went over like a lead balloon. No matter though, as I left the concert satisfied in my decision to attend and thinking it was well worth the cost of the tickets and the drive to the show.

Now, the most discussed KISS issue these days is the presence of Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer in the band (both performing in the make-up and costumes of Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, respectively). I have to admit that I was one of the many that thought it tarnished the legacy of the band to have replacement members in the make-up of the originals. However, Paul Stanley recently summed up the situation in such a way that I no longer object to what KISS is doing (and unfortunately, it was broadcast during that awful KISSteria special). Paul essentially said that Tommy and Eric are, in some ways, more important to the band right now than Peter and Ace, because they have the ability to recreate the shows from the earlier days that the fans are still expecting to see when they attend a KISS concert. Paul is 100% correct. I am sorry to say, but I do not think that Ace and Peter could deliver a show like the one I just saw.

As for Paul and Gene, both put on amazing performances, and in particular, Gene was a highlight for me. Gene still has his 'character' down, and plays the part perfectly. I remember noting that at several points during the show, he was making facial expressions and moving in the exact same way as he did back in the 70s, and his voice sounded as strong as ever. However, when it comes to Paul, everyone in the venue could tell he is having great difficulty in singing his songs. His voice is clearly strained. Even when he was addressing the crowd in-between songs (in his ever so annoying, but lovable manner..."People...I know that you love Rock 'n' Roll..." etc.), his voice was cracking and he was struggling. It reminded me of the Cinderella tour a few years back when Tom Keifer was having vocal difficulties. Nonetheless, just like Tom, Paul did not let his problems slow the show at all, and I give him all the credit in the world for doing everything he could to deliver an amazing performance. For a show like I saw that night, I will look past the minor flaws. Unfortunately, though, I think Paul may be nearing the end of the line with KISS. He has been alluding to this possibility in interviews as of late, so I think he may be packing it up sooner than many of us would care to see or expect...but hopefully I am wrong.

Finally, the last thing that really stood out to me was the crowd, and more specifically, how many kids were there. Just in my immediate area, I must have seen about 15 or 20 kids there with their parents. If my girls were a little bit older, I would have had them there with me as well. It was just a great sight to see so many kids enjoying a rock 'n' roll show.

So all the haters can say what they want about KISS, when it comes to putting on a rock show...they are untouchable.

Reader Comments (8)

Spot on review. Kiss was my first concert, waaaay back in the day. I was a huge fan when I was a kiddo, but not so much these days. I saw them last year and was blown away by how awesome the show was. I can be as cynical about Kiss as the next guy (or gal), but you have to give them credit -- they put on what has to be one of the absolute best shows in all of music. They put in 110% percent and it's just a great, great time. Total pros. Yeah, they want your money, but dang it, they give you your money's worth in concert. I was on a high for days after seeing that show last year, so I'm totally feeling this review.
August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBB
Ditto, Brian and ditto, BB. Excellent review, excellent comment. For all the mixed opinions of the band - they're still giving you plenty of bang for you buck, so to say. And nothing can bring me back to the '70s faster than when I hear, "She's a dancer, a romancer, I'm a Capricorn and she's a Cancer." I find comfort in that. ;)
August 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermom2ross
I have seen Kiss more than any other band and they never let me down. Last winter, I took my 10 yr old to his first rock concert, and it was Kiss. A memory that he will never forget. I think it is great that they are letting kids in for free during this leg of the tour.
August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian L
Saw 'em sixth row point blank at Madison Square Garden during the '97 reunion tour with Ace being served up on a hydraulic silver platter right above and in front of me so he could point his black nail polished index finger repeatedly at my face with every downstroked e-chord in the final throes of their 3rd encore -- surprise, surprise, "Rock And Roll All Night".

I quit while I was ahead.
August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Was my very 1st show ever back in 1976 when I was a ripe old 13 years old. It was the Alive tour and I saw it at the old Civic Center in Philly.(Long since torn down) Saw them also in 78 on the Alive 2 tour at the Spectrum,also in Philly.(Also torn down last year!) They were absolutely fucking incredible both times I saw 'em!! Best stage show I've ever witnessed, and homey has been to an awful lot-o-shows over the years!! lol
August 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary
One of the best stage shows ever. They needed to rely on those visual gimmicks and pyrotechnics to make up for what Zeppelin had in spades and Kiaa totally lacked and I know I don't need to spell it out for you what that is when comparing the two acts.

I saw Zeppelin 3rd row at Capital Centre, Largo, MD, in '77 off "Presence" and let me tell you, there was more happening on the frets and strings of Page's Les Paul than the entire stage of a Kiss show.
August 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!

You have got to be sh*tting me?!?!? I have read a lot of bullsh*t in my days when it comes to on-line comments but the ones you place on this forum are just bat sh*t f*cking crazy!

Back in 97, Ace was really right in front of you in Madison Square Garden with with the black nail polish AND he was pointing this finger at your while he was playing "Rock and Roll All Night"? Really? Baaaaahaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!1

Do you realize how many stories you have relayed of rock and roll greatness that you have supposedly experienced on this forum? You need help because your living in a fantasy world and have lost grip of what is real and what is not real. Get yourself some help. Maybe at some point you will realize living your life through true rock and roll legends is not a healthy way to go through life.


A concerned BringBackGlam member.
August 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBillie Bad Ass
Saw'em a few weeks ago and yes they still kick it!
August 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShadow

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