I saw Kiss for the 10th time. I’ve now seen them in eight cities on nine different tours, dating back to 1978. The most recent show was Thursday night at Boise, Idaho’s own Enormo Dome, otherwise known as Taco Bell Arena.
Those of us who have seen multiple Kiss shows – especially in recent years – know what to expect:
• Gene Simmons is going to spit fire and blood and “fly” to the rafters.
• Paul Stanley is going to jump on a pulley and make his way to the back of the arena and sing “Love Gun” for those in the cheaper (not cheap) seats.
• Confetti and streamers will fill the arena during the encore and anthem “Rock and Roll All Nite.”
All of that happened Thursday night, as well as an abundance of fireworks, flames shooting from the back of the stage and plenty of fog machine smoke.
And even though I saw all of it coming because I’ve seen this (Psycho) circus before, it was entertaining and pretty awesome. I’m a die-hard fan and Kiss always delivers what I expect.
“Detroit Rock City” and straight into “Deuce” was the start of the show. It was pretty much the same set the band played on the first night of the tour in Tucson, except we got a few extra songs. “Flaming Youth” was the lone surprise. The only non-makeup era tune was “Lick It Up” and the 1998 release “Psycho Circus” was the “newest” song included in the set. (Click here to see entire setlist)
There was something a little bit different about this show, and it was my “a-ha” moment as to why the band pretty much sticks to the classics. It came during some of Stanley’s between-song banter that has helped his reputation as one of rock’s great front-men.
At one point, Stanley said “We know you want to hear some modern stuff, but how many of you want to hear some older stuff?” Of course, the arena exploded, thereby justifying the omission of newer material.
But the more telling moment for me was when Stanley asked one simple question:
“How many of you have never seen us before?” I couldn’t believe the number of people who responded with a roar. The noise definitely was more substantial than when he asked about the older material.
That’s when the lightbulb came on. Kiss will continue to play the hits because, at least in Boise on Thursday night, that’s what the majority of fans wanted to hear. While I would love to hear more obscure songs – anything from “Unmasked” or “Music From The Elder” would be awesome – I am not the majority. Kiss does a cruise (or is it Kruise?) for fans like me, when classics are dusted off and that’s what the audience expects.
With that being said, having the two non-original members – drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer – sing songs written by former members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley still feels wrong.
I love the new lineup. Singer is a beast on drums, and I loved Thayer’s band Black ‘N Blue (who opened for Kiss in 1985 when I saw the Asylum tour in New Haven, Connecticut). But I don’t need to hear Thayer sing “Shock Me” and then rip off Frehley’s patented solo from Alive II. If Thayer is going to sing, I want it to be “Outta This World” off Monster, which is a great song and ultimately his.
“Beth” is another tough one. It’s arguably the band’s second-most known song (behind Rock and Roll All Nite) so there are people who want to hear it, but do they want to hear it from Singer? I didn’t. That made for the perfect bathroom break.
Those are the only knocks on the Freedom To Rock Tour that is coming to a smaller, out-of-the-way city near you. This tour is hitting places Kiss hasn’t played in years or at all. For example, the last time Kiss played Boise was 2000 on the Farewell Tour. I moved here in 2001, so I didn’t have the opportunity to see them unless I wanted to drive to Portland, Seattle or Salt Lake City (which is where I saw the 2014 tour).
Kiss still delivers the expected. And Kiss still delivers it well. That’s hard to do. It proves you can be entertained by something that you know is going to happen – you don’t need any surprises.
Kiss has figured this out. And I’m thankful.
Nick Jezierny really likes KISS He also once ranked every single song by the band Watershed. Click here to check that out.
Pencilstorm has a bunch of KISS related stories. Click here to see a list of the 12 best KISS stories (both good and bad), that you will ever read.