"There's an ageless quality inherent within Kiss's big, dumb but infectious arena-rock and near-peerless showmanship."
KISS require little motivation to hit the road, and the rockers' 40th anniversary, or more accurately 40 years since the landmark Alive! record, seemed as valid a reason as any to slap on the make-up, hairspray and codpieces. Tongue-wagging, blood-spitting Gene Simmons thrusted and leered at iPhone camera-clutching punters, Paul Stanley preened and pouted, while Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer faithfully replicated their predecessors' parts and characters. A major selling point was the impressive stage production 'The Spider', which reportedly incorporated 900 pieces of pyrotechnics. This enhanced the familiar array of well rehearsed and entertaining party tricks á la masses of confetti, guitars shooting fireworks and Stanley flying over the crowd prior to Love Gun.
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From opener Detroit Rock City onwards, the nostalgia-driven two-hour setlist didn't alter much from recent visits, but on each tour the quartet interchanges the odd track not aired live in a while. Harder-edged Creatures Of The Night was a welcome case in point. Stanley's voice had thinned — understandably attributable to advancing years — and some repartee was cheesy, including informing seated punters they should stand or risk getting "fat asses". Hailing Deep Purple-inspired recent cut Hell Or Hallelujah a potential future classic was grimace-inducing too, but both grizzled long-timers and newcomers adored the amusing, masterfully honed pseudo-preacher shtick. The Starchild's solo tease of ballad Shandi (only a hit Down Under) was another judicious move.
The lyrics of a song like Deuce seemed almost archaic nowadays, but there's an ageless quality inherent within KISS' big, dumb and infectious arena-rock and near peerless showmanship. Mainstays Simmons and Stanley may be counting on it, as the tandem have proposed the band eventually soldiering on without them. Could they do so successfully? That remains uncertain, but they'd more than likely have the balls to attempt it.