(Caesars Windsor, Canada - July 10th, 2009)
KISS, the all-American rock band formed in New York City back in '72 have never looked back since those original heady, uncertain days. Easily identified by their trademark face paint and stage outfits, KISS rose to prominence in the mid and late-1970s on the basis of their elaborate live performances - featuring fire breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, and pyrotechnics! And with their original line-up, together with their makeup and costumes, they took on the personae of comic book-style characters: The Demon (Simmons), Starchild (Stanley), Spaceman (Frehley), and Catman (Criss).
Tonight here at a near-packed 5,000 Caesars Windsor Casino house, come the 9.15pm witching hour, the house lights shut off, the crowd rose to their feet, and cometh the hour, cometh the band.
An announcing voice is the first thing, as usual, to greet us: 'You wanted the best. You got the best. The hottest band in the world ... KISS' - which is followed by the large black curtain falling and Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Tommy Thayer being lowered down from the back on a huge platform into the sight of their adoring legion of fans.
Here to promote their 2008/09 European KISS Alive/35 Tour, the three guys immediately come center stage to rock out 'Deuce.' Next up is 'Strutter,' which allows all the guitar-slingers to come front of stage, one by one to get some immediate face time - with the audience, and in the case of Simmons and Stanley, us press! Simmons' saliva-coated tongue is straight out of his mouth, lickin' his strings up and down, whilst Stanley quickly gives us his trademark guitar-playing-between-the-legs routine!
"We played to 22,000 last night," Stanley announces between songs, "and I want to tell you, size doesn't matter!" With that they launch into 'Got To Choose,' 'Hotter Than Hell' and 'Nothin' To Lose.' "This is the greatest part of the country," Stanley says. "I want you to know that. Anyway, we have a new album coming out in October and it's gonna ROCK!" 'C'mon And Love Me' is then brought to the fore, but then with Stanley stating that he thought they needed to turn up the heat a little bit, the much heavier 'Parasite' allows Simmons to have a turn at the mic.
With the huge KISS-lit sign always behind them pulsating, dazzlingly at times, the band continued onwards with their pure rock show. 'Watchin' You' is next, but not before a little Led Zeppelin riff is played by Thayer. His guitar over his head, behind his back, the stage lights off save for a white hot spot and some dry ice for further effect. To cap it all off, come his own finale he fires three firework explosions out from his guitar neck!
"Here's one we never, ever don't do ... '100,000 Years'", Stanley announces, the opening of the song down to Simmons and his thumping bass lines. Complete with a long, oh so long, Eric Singer drum solo - he himself on a raised drum set high in the sky, smoke firing out from beneath to simulate a rocket lift off - it's not long after he's finished that Stanley, and not for the first time tonight, gets a little shirty with the crowd. "Windsor, I want you to sing for me tonight." He sings, they don't. "I gotta break it to you, Windsor, that sucked! OK, catch your breath as we're starting it again!" This time they get their voices louder for their hero. "That's more like it. OK, now, when I put my hand up I want everybody to shout, Hey!" He does, they kinda weakly do. "Come on, Windsor. Do you feel alright? Let's try it again." This time, and after many, many air fist punches, the crowd is there for him all the way.
"This next song is about alcohol," he says, as the band head into the Simmons-sung 'Closing Time.' With enough time in-between songs for Stanley to make fun of a couple kissing in the front row while they were playing, 'Let Me Go, Rock And Roll' is next up, complete with a long Thayer solo break ... again. By now Simmons' chin makeup is all but off, his eyes leaking black eye liner, his entire look that of the clown from 'It'! Stanley's hasn't budged an inch, still looking vaguely effeminate in imagery, it's only his hair that seems sweaty.
Next we get a Stanley guitar solo which starts out one-handed, nonetheless, before he heads into 'Black Diamond.' "I want you to sing and clap along with me now," Stanley announces. And they do, but not to his level of wish. "For God's sake, sing something will ya!" he then fires back at them. They try again and they (obviously) fail again! "Can you imagine how good it'll be the next time we try this?!" Finally finding their true vocals, the crowd sing along with the chorus for Stanley. "That was awesome. Thank you, Windsor".
One large pyro blast later and Stanley's back at the mic. "Windsor, I'll tell you something. We're living in a world of turmoil - T.U.R.M.O.I.L. - but rock 'n roll will save us. So, we're gonna do a song tonight to bring the world together, because we wanna 'Rock And Roll All Nite,' people!" Cue the monster confetti cannons into action and suddenly the entire indoor arena is being showered in small bits of glittery paper shards - for the entire song! Once that euphoria has died down, Simmons comes center stage. Beating on his bass, a white hot spot the only light on him, the other two guitar slingers strut around the stage. Stanley fakes the infamous Pete Townshend guitar breaking swing six times ... before he finally does it for real!
"We love you, thank you," Stanley admits, before the lights come down and the band leave the stage. Coming back for the first encore song, the KISS-lit sign pulsating so vividly in the darkness it was enough to make a blind man see, the band come back on and have a photo taken with their backs to the now-fully-lit crowd for their website. "You don't wanna go home, that's good," he says, as they break into 'Shout It Out Loud' and then crowd favorite 'Lick It Up' - complete with a mid chorus guitar break off into The Who's, 'Won't Get Fooled Again'!
They leave the stage again, but quickly return with Simmons alone, center stage, standing in a flow of dry 'red' ice, adorned by a white spot from above, as he bass beats his own intro. Complete with 'blood' pouring from his mouth in some comic book, comical B-movie horror moment, he laps it up (literally), before the wired-for-flight musician is hoisted (violently and erratically) up into the Gods ... to finish 'I Love It Loud' up there on the slightly-now-lowered lighting rig!
"This was a big hit around the world," Stanley cites, as they break into the soft rock favorite, 'I Was Made For Lovin' You,' before soloing a vocal-only intro into 'Love Gun.' "OK," he finally says, the sweat now clearly starting to erode his forehead makeup, "We got a song about rock in a city. But that city could be you guys here tonight. The rock city we love tonight is you, Windsor ... because you are our 'Detroit Rock City'!" Culminating in a spinning wheel of mini-fireworks, added quickly to with some blazing white larger fireworks, the last chords were struck, the band left the stage for the final time, and after 2 hours and 15 minutes the show was finally over ... until October, when they return!
Review and Photos by: Russell A. Trunk
Caesars Windsor Upcoming Shows
Larry the Cable Guy
Box Office hours:
Non Show Day...........12pm-8pm