Saturday, September 4, 2010

KISS Prove Why They Are The Hottest Show On Earth

It was a hot summer night on August 28th in Charlotte, NC, but it was about to get even hotter. KISS brought their “Hottest Show on Earth” tour to town that night. They showed all of those in attendance why, after 37 years, they are still the iconic giants in the art of over the top rock and roll showmanship. The current touring lineup consists of co-founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons plus Eric Singer on drums and Tommy Thayer on lead guitar.

The amphitheatre was packed that night and the lawn was so full that it was hard to see the grass! KISS came up with a great marketing campaign for the summer tour. KISS and smart marketing go hand in hand. As dates for tour were being announced, a special offer for the lawn seats was announced. A paid adult lawn ticket could bring up to four kids, under the age of 14, to the show for free. There were a lot of parents who took advantage of this offer. There were even KISS shirts for the smaller kids on sale at the merchandise booths. Smart move on Mr. Simmons and the boys!

Touring with KISS is The Envy, who are signed to Simmons Records, and The Academy Is. Both bands performed short, yet very good sets, but you could tell that the crowd was there to see KISS. The house lights went down and the video screens came on showing KISS towering above the buildings ala Godzilla as they marched along towards the concert hall. The next images were of the band coming from their dressing rooms to the stage. The now infamous introduction was made and a huge explosion rocked the amphitheater. The boys hit the stage firing on all cylinders performing “Modern Day Delilah” from their latest CD “Sonic Boom”.

The set list for the 2 hour and 10 minute performance spanned the majority of their catalog, but was short on material from the group’s non-makeup years. “Deuce”, “Calling Dr. Love”, “Lick It Up” as well as the surprising non-makeup choice of “Crazy, Crazy Nights” were performed along with numerous others. A KISS show is known for its theatrics and they pulled out all the stops for the fans that night. Gene spit blood and flew to a platform near the top of the stage for “I Love It Loud”, Paul flew out into the audience for “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”, Tommy shot rockets at the stage lights during his solo, Eric’s drum kit rose up to the lighting rig and Gene breathed fire at the end of “Firehouse”. Of course, there was a ton of pyro and flames all during the show also.

Paul billed the band’s encore as the longest in the history of rock and roll. Most bands play one or two songs for their encore, but then again, KISS is not like most bands. Their encore was six songs which included an amazing acoustic version of “Beth” with Eric coming out from behind the drum kit to center stage to sing.
KISS brought out members of the armed services to present a check to the Wounded Warriors Foundation. One dollar from every ticket sold on their summer tour will be donated to this worthy cause. Paul gave a heartfelt speech about our troops and living in the greatest country in the world and then led the audience in the pledge of allegiance. That’s something that you usually don’t get at a rock show.

The band closed the night with their signature song known worldwide, “Rock And Roll All Night”. The confetti sprayed out into the audience so thick that it was hard to see the band onstage at times. A barrage of smoke bombs, flames and explosions made the stage look like a 4th of July celebration. As Paul smashed his guitar in half and the show ended.

The band looked and sounded incredible. Gene Simmon’s trademark tongue was wagging all night as his monster boots lurked the stage all night long. Paul Stanley was more energetic that night than I have ever seen him before in concert and he jumped around in his platform boots like he was 25 again! Tommy and Eric have brought a sense of urgency to the band again. You can tell that they are having a blast on-stage and not just going through the motions. Paul said at the show that a KISS concert was somewhere between church and the circus. Ringling Brothers doesn’t have a thing on these boys!

1 comment:

Liggy said...

I saw KISS when they came to the Hampton Coliseum in Oct 2009 and that was the most awesome concert experience I've had. It was spectacular and the band was so full of energy...