“Here I am at the end of the road and at the top of the heap..”
-Pope John XXIII-
From the Popcorn Club in Queens in front of an audience of less than 20, to 45 years later and sold out arena’s around the globe, KISS has dedicated themselves to the art of performance. Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley are the original members, however by 1982 both Criss and Frehley had left the band. Today on drums you’ll find Eric Singer and on guitar Tommy Thayer both took on the personas that Criss and Frehley made famous.
One of the “things to do” when attending a KISS concert is to don make-up and come as your favorite character. During this show there was more makeup being worn then you would find at a Sephora convention. You don’t just go to a KISS performance to hear music, or for the pyro, you go to interact with all the other KISS ARMY members, and they were there to declare martial law in Omaha for at least one night.
It was a blast watching the kids react to the spectacular that is a KISS show, like the fire breathing, ziplining, fireworks and lasers. They were all wide-eyed and their jaws were dropped. Who am I kidding? It wasn’t just the kids who were mesmerized, it was all of us. From gray-bearded fellas like me, to grade-school kids. The best component was the opening. A massive curtain with the word KISS scrolled across it covered the massive stage. Then the iconic words are spoken. “YOU WANTED THE BEST, YOU GOT THE BEST, THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD…KISS!! The curtain falls and, from the sky on three separate platforms, we see Gene, Paul and Tommy slowly descending in a plume of fire, smoke and fireworks. When they hit the stage, they kicked-off with a blistering rendition of “Detroit Rock City.” Their second offering was “Shout it out Loud,” and the deafening roar of the crowd was proof that they were indeed compiling. During “Lick it Up” there was a cool laser show and the song morphed into The Who’s “We Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Tommy laid down a killer solo during “Cold Gin” which had him firing flares into targets high above the stage. Before “God of Thunder” we see Gene, splitting blood and being raised to rooftop as if he is looking over his domain. All of this being projected onto 17 super large octagon shaped monitors.
A spot hits Paul and he tells us we need to “turn this place into a Rock n’ Roll zoo!" With that, “Psycho Circus” fills the air. The crowd screams for Paul as he climbs on a zipline to a landing zone in the back of the arena. From there we get “Love Gun” and what he called their biggest international hit “I Was Made for Loving You.” By the time they got to the end of their main set, our senses were simply just over-whelmed. They close out the set with “Black Diamond" and this had the people singing along as if it were Church on a Sunday morning.
The band left but didn’t stay gone long. When they returned for their encore, Eric was alone at the piano and gave us an informal an emotional version of “Beth." A call and response ensued with “Do You Love Me” and the show ended in a breathtaking hail of fire and confetti with “Rock and Roll All Nite.”
I hope at some point, you’ve been able to attend a KISS performance. What can’t be argued is that they put on one hell of a show. KISS believes that the fans deserve to be entertained and It’s their job to do it. If possible, try to catch them before they really do call it quits.
Detroit Rock City – Shout It Out Loud – Deuce – Say Yeah – I Love It Loud – Heavens On Fire – War Machine – Lick It Up (with snippet of The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again) – Calling Dr. Love – 100,000 Years – Cold Gin – God Of Thunder – Psycho Circus – Let Me Go, Rock N’ Roll – Love Gun – I Was Made For Lovin’ You – Black Diamond – Beth – Do You Love Me – Rock and Roll All Nite