One part of a concert I enjoy is the song a band will play when they dim the lights to signal the show is about to start. For years, Motley Crue would play Frank Zappa's Crew Slut to show they were coming out. Warrant would play Queen's We Will Rock You. Other bands would have parts of a long intro instrumental play. I hadn't seen Kiss play live in maybe 15 years so I was interested to see how they would start.
The first clue was the guys on the side of the stage. I pointed them out to my friend and joked "the Kiss Army" is ready to jump into action. The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again was playing in the amphitheater. The crowd was beginning to buzz as the Townsend guitar riffs filled the summer sky. As Roger Daltrey belts out the lyrics "we won't get fooled again!" a black curtain with a glimmering KISS logo drops down, hiding the stage from the crowd. The lights go off and the anticipation builds as the Who plays on. A couple minutes later, with a final Daltrey scream "YEAHHHHH!!!!!", flames blast behind the curtain, lighting up the stage. The drapery is dropped as the band takes the stage. It is time for one of the most unique shows you will ever see.
KISS concerts are unique. There is nothing else like them in the world. Some would say it is hyperbole but it isn't. A KISS show is not like a Metallica show. Not like seeing Iron Maiden. Not like seeing a spinning drum in Motley Crue. KISS is the originators of metal theatrics. It isn't about the music as it is putting on a show. It is the makeup, the instruments, the strutting. It is about not being Gene Simmons but being the Demon. It is about a now fake Ace shooting fireworks out of a guitar. It is the risers. It is the blowing fire, the spitting blood, the flying to the top of the rafters. It is a show unlike what you can believe.
It appears a lot of people did not understand what was going on. I heard some rumbling on the bus that people were disappointed with the concert. I read the review JSOnline gave them as well. Though not a bad review, the guy missed the point of the show. So does onmilwaukee.com. The show is a reproduction of the Alive album. Celebrating 35 years since it came out. These guys are supposed to be journalists and they can even research this? Didn't the Alive 35 concert shirts give it away? I knew this coming in and I am nothing but a blogger.
Here is the setlist. They actually stuck very close to the Alive show.
Got to Choose
Hotter than Hell
Nothin to Lose
Come on and Love Me
Rock and Roll All Nite
Let me Go, Rock n Roll
Lick it Up
I Love it Loud
Detroit Rock City
My voice recorder got garbled up so I am not sure exactly what was played after the finished the original Alive concert. The noise level was too much for the iPhone to handle.
We did get to see the fake Ace fire shots out of the guitar. I think that was before She. A good drum solo was done just before 100,000 years. Could the fake Peter Criss have more cymbals on the drum kit? There looked to be at least 20 of them. Holy Christ! Finally, Gene Simmons blew his fire at the end of Hotter than Hell. He waited until I Love it Loud to go into full demon mode and spit blood all over the place. He then sang the song from the top of the lighting rig, having "flown" up. I wonder if Simmons was feeling good this night. His makeup was ragged compared to the others like he was sweating more than the others. I swear he puked on stage early in the show and was spitting as the show went on. If he was ill, he held it together like a pro and played on.
I left this experience happier than a pig in shit. It was all a KISS show promises to be. Only downside was not having the original KISS sign on the back of the stage. It was replaced by a big LCD screen that did have problems during the show. But seeing Alive come back to life after 35 years was a treat. Sorry if you came to hear Heavens on Fire or Crazy Nights. You should have bought a clue.