We are in the age of the spectacle, when all we want are visually mesmerizing shows that entertain us and captivate our senses. With the festival month of July recently coming to an end, I thought to myself : What better way to end the month than by seeing one of the most visually renowned and energetic rock bands who know how to put on a hell of a show : KISS.
Sitting in row CC with my neighbour aka a lifelong KISS fan , I was literally anticipating what to expect. When the opening metal band “Shinedown” arrived on stage, I was overcome with discomfort. The combination of the close proximity towards the stage and excess amplification from the drums ,made me feel like my lungs were pulsing in synchrony to the drums. It literally felt like my heart was in my throat. Luckily, the discomforting feeling went away as soon as the KISS curtain went down which meant show time was closely approaching.
Projected on a video screen captured Gene Simmons taunting us with his lizard tongue and making his way out of his dressing room towards the stage. My neighour had been hyping me up for months, with his grand exclamations on how KISS is a band you must see at least once in your lifetime to truly experience a rock show. Boy, was he right.
The minute KISS arrived on stage, the audience soared. Just their presence was enough to send a man sitting in front of me howling and waving his arms like a mad man on crack. (more on that later). Even despite not being a hardcore KISS fan and knowing all their tunes, I still found myself gravitating towards each of their performances. They played a multitude of their songs, some off their newest album “Monster” while also keeping their old school rock style alive with “I was made for loving you” “Detroit Rock City” and “Rock and Roll All Night“.
In terms of stage performance, I was beyond impressed. KISS provided you with the visuals to their music .Their stage took the shape of a 20 foot tall spider with purple ( none other than my favourite colour of course) lights featured all around the curved shape of the steel legs. They had a mega projection screen in back of them , as well as a platform which propelled Gene at the very top of the head of the spider to sing tunes like “Shout it out Loud“. With a mystified look on Gene’s face and artificial blood gushing out of his lizard tongue, to Paul’s propelling towards a smaller stage declaring that he’s “COMING OUT THERE” to be with us, I was pretty damn mesmerized. They solidified the show when both Paul and Gene propelled on smaller individual platforms towards the right and left hand side of the stage to get even closer towards the audience. With Gene soaring right above me, I couldn’t help but be that giddy awkward girl and give him a little wave. Throughout every song, impromptu fireworks would blast from the stage, causing a heightened reaction from myself and the audience.
With an energetic rock and roll band like KISS, you’re bound to get some rock and roll schmucks, such as a 50 something year old that stood a row in front of us. Throughout the entirety of the show, he was erratic and having solo body breakdowns while shouting in broken english cliche rock phrases that no one wants to hear like “YEAA KISS . WOO .. ROCK ON !”. At several points he would even take out a cigarette and start smoking. From everyone’s annoyed expression on their faces, I knew his subversive redneck “rebel” ways had to be stopped .What better way to stop an annoying redneck than to nudge the hell out of him and say loudly in his ears “THIS ISN’T WOODSTOCK!” . I can proudly admit, that after my gesture ,he got the point and no longer annoyed the hell out of people.
Despite the rowdy tendencies of the redneck, KISS still stole the show and maintained the same heightened intensity all night long. Overall, the show felt more like a spectacle on its own, with Gene and Paul giving it all they’ve got at their ripe old age of 60+. They truly gave you your money’s worth by providing you with a concert that defines what rock and roll is truly about. They didn’t fall short in terms of entertainment, you name it they gave it. Impromptu fireworks, rising platforms, a bazooka that shot out balls of confetti at the audience, smoke, Gene blowing out fire from a mega torch and the list goes on!
On the surface level, KISS seems like a performative rock band that have their own edgy get ups which attracts many to them. After seeing them perform live and after listening to the manifesto of my neighbour speak about how each member portrays a symbolic entity, I can honestly say that there’s more to their impeccably painted faces, dark wigs and crazy gets up than meets the eye.
For example, when do you see a band member gesture to audience members with his notorious tongue to “get the fuck up! ” Seriously, it’s bad ass and respectable. If you want to experience what rock and roll truly is, then KISS is the band to see! They are artisans and creators of their own style of music. They know how to enrapture and captivate the audience with their catchy rock tunes, glamourized stage persona’s, and passionate vocal performances. Not only will they provide you with a spectacle that’s beyond belief, but you will become acquainted with an innovative rock band that’s inspired generations of people including musicians (like garth brooks for one). From 8 year old girls with their faces painted like one of the KISS members, to an elderly couple sitting 10 rows from the stage, there’s a reason why KISS has a vast generation of fans : They just effin ROCK!
Here’s the visuals to go along with it , as well as a video which features the bombastic ending of the KISS show (also features a cameo performance of me being highly amused by the confetti )