Tuesday’s crowd was stocked with members of the KISS Army, and for nearly 90 minutes, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer gave their best because the crowd wanted the best. Right?
KISS’ setup was the opposite of Motley Crue’s, all open spaces with stacks of amplifiers, some lighted stairs and the HD screen behind Singer’s raised drum kit offering frequent close-ups of the band.
And from the opening “Detroit Rock City” to the platform-boot-stomp of “Shout it Out Loud” and “I Love it Loud,” flash pots exploded with every cymbal crash and punctuated every song ending, sending fans into a devil horn-throwing frenzy.
Stanley, who looked as if he was wearing the remains of a black ostrich around his shoulders, and Simmons, who had a noticeable new accessory to his bat wings and frizzy topknot – a wedding band – appeared gleeful as they dug into their familiar bag of razzle-dazzle tricks.
Simmons grabbed his flaming sword and turned it into a whooshing fireball with one spit of accelerant during “Firehouse” and later dribbled blood during his bass solo/ “God of Thunder” routine – which of course never gets old if you love the band’s brand of theater rock.
KISS has always been more about entertainment than musicality – and relax, KISS fans, there’s nothing wrong with that – and at Tuesday’s show, Stanley was determined to either woo the crowd or talk them to death in his Edith Bunker honk.
“It’s good to be back in a city that knows how to rock.” “I remember when we played on Peachtree, in a place called the Electric Ballroom.” “I want to come out and see y’all in the back…I want to hear my name from here to Augusta.” “We have a new album coming out in October, called ‘Monster.’”
Being interactive with the crowd is commendable, but his constant chatter got a bit tiresome after about the sixth song.
Stanely did, in fact, go to see the people in the back, ziplining to a rotating makeshift stage for “Love Gun.” He also engaged in his patented sideways wiggle as Thayer and Singer handled the heavy lifting on “Shock Me” and ended the song with a lengthy whiz-bam jam.
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