North Little Rock, AR @ Verizon Arena
I've been neglecting my duties as a blogger by not saying some words about the KISS concert last week, my umpteenth time to see them, so here's a little bit.
First off, it rained. A lot. Just walking from the car, even with an umbrella, we got drenched thanks to sideways rain and some jackass in an SUV flying through a big puddle. On top of that they wouldn't let us take our umbrella in so we basically tossed a $10 umbrella at the door. Oh well, that sort of stuff may dampen the pants a bit, but never dampens my spirit for some rock n roll. Once inside, we grabbed some beers and took our wet asses to our good seats.
Good crowd on this night and I heard the number was just a little over 10,400, which is decent for Verizon Arena and more than the last few times I saw them there. As usual with a KISS crowd it was people from all generations and I saw a lot of kids, many in make-up. Being 2 days before Halloween even made it more of a carnival atmosphere than usual it seemed too.
Buckcherry played a solid set and were well received but I couldn't help but feel a little guilty singing along to Crazy Bitch's filthy lyrics in front of all the little ones, who fortunately probably couldn't understand a word of the lyrics (except maybe the 10-year-old a few rows in front of me would apparently knew them enough to sing along).
After a short set by the raunchy rockers the lights drop and we get the usual "YOU WANTED THE BEST YOU GOT THE BEST" bit and KISS comes exploding out to Deuce and a huge ovation... and the pre-Halloween party is on. Again, I've seen them so many times I won't go into a lot of the same ole same ole about them, but let's talk about what's different. Shall we?
OK, so Peter and Ace are gone and they're replaced by guys in their make-up. That works fine for me, though I know many people hate it. Those guys just don't fit any more, so move on I say. Eric Singer is an AWESEOME drummer and he's been in the band longer than Peter was anyway. Tommy Thayer is an extremely competent guitar player in his own right and I think he completely smokes the later day Ace. I think these guys do a fantastic job and if this is the way KISS wants to move forward, so be it. Paul and Gene are still very energetic and they look great, so there's no let down there. Both of their vocals seems to have lost only a tiny bit, as would be expected, but both guys still sound good live. All 4 members get some lead vocals chances and nobody sounds weak, with Tommy and Eric handling the formers members vocals just fine.
The huge stage is pretty cool as well, adding a lot to the spectacle that is a KISS live show. There are a wall of TVs running on loops with CD covers and photos of the band in it's heyday and such and also a state-of-the-art, huge screen for close-ups and 2 very large screens on the side. Not a bad seat in the house indeed as you can view these from anywhere. There's all the usual pyro, fireworks and fancy lights for the people who like shiny things and the show is punctuated with Gene's blood-spitting, flying act along with Paul "flying" to the back of the arena to play Love Gun a bit more up close for the farther back folks. You get your drum and guitar solos as well, so have no fear if that's your thing.
The set list? Impressive in my book. They played only two songs from the new album, one from the no-make up days, and only one other post-1980 song. What does that leave? Hits. Lots of hits. Surprisingly Tommy even did his version of Ace’s signature “Shock Me.” They did probably my 2 all-time favorite KISS songs, “She” and "I Love It Loud" so I can't complain at all. If I must come up with a few replacements I'll take "God of Thunder" and "Beth" as a couple of songs I'd like to see in the set list. Eric can nail the later and it's just a classic part of a KISS show for decades. No such luck though. As usual, they closed with “Rock and Roll All Night” complete with massive confetti storm, but then came back out for an extended encore.
Once again I say, whether you like their music or image or anything about them, the complete spectacle of a KISS show is pure entertainment, and the old men and new members didn't disappoint the old and new fans in the crowd. At least with KISS you always know you'll be getting your money's worth live.
Here's the full set list:
* Let Me Go Rock'N'Roll
* Hotter Than Hell
* Shock Me
* Modern Day Delilah *new*
* Calling Dr. Love
* Say Yeah *new... see video below*
* 100,000 Years *drum solo*
* I Love it Loud
* Black Diamond
* Rock And Roll All Nite
~~ encore break ~~
* Shout It Out Loud
* Lick It Up *the only tune from the no make-up era*
* Love Gun *Paul played at the back of the arena*
* Detroit Rock City
And just so you know, we exited the same door we came in, somehow found my umbrella, and proceeded to get MORE soaked and have the umbrella destroyed by the monsoon going on outside as we hustled back to the car. Ah well, all in the name of rock n roll.
Somebody posted "Say Yeah" from the show on YouTube, so here that is: