(Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, Canada - July 27th, 2011)
As we all know by now, KISS, the all-American rock band 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!
Easily identified by their trademark face paint and stage outfits, KISS have been playing explosive live shows ever since! And tonight, here at a packed Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, at just past the 8pm mark, their chosen personae of comic book-style characters blazed forth: The Demon (Simmons), Starchild (Stanley), Spaceman (Frehley), and Catman (Criss).
As the lights go down, as usual a booming announcing voice is the first thing 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 covering KISS curtain being removed to reveal the boys in all their glory.
Bathed in a purple light, 'Modern Day Delilah' is the first song of the night and as good as it was, as many constantly pointed out around me throughout the entire show, the overall loudness of the show was well below what we had witnessed before. "How ya doin,' Windsor," Stanley asks, "Windsor always comes to visit us at our Cobo Hall and Joe Louis shows so tonight we come to see you!" And, once the screams had died down he adds, "Wild animals, make some noise," as Simmons leads us into 'Let Me Go Rock 'N' Roll.'
Inclusive of an early Thayer guitar solo, Stanley (a constant rambler at the mic) hopes we all feel good tonight and adds, "Tonight is not about size. It is about power. I don't want you to be like Oshkosh or Montreal. Little Windsor, just be yourselves. Tonight is your night to show us that you're number one!" 'Firehouse,' complete with on-stage TV flames and pyros is next, before Stanley is off again, "Last night we played CasinoRama in Orillia, but we've forgotten about them already!"
Stanley then stops the flow of the show by getting each side of the audience to scream the loudest against each other! An act that goes on for too long, and ultimately leads nowhere, before Simmons takes over with 'Deuce.' "This next song comes off Destroyer," you-know-who informs us, "An album that had a few hits, if I recall." A drum solo then introduces us to 'Do You Love Me' before Stanley spots all the bums on seats still, "You havin' a good time, Windsor? I mean, if so, come on, this ain't TV you're watching tonight! Stand up for rock 'n roll," he then screams, as Simmons launches into the beloved 'Calling Dr. Love.'
"Let's switch it up a little bit," Stanley suggests, as Thayer sings 'Shock Me.' A song originally written by once-lead guitarist Ace Frehley, it is no shock (pun intended) that poor Thayer doesn't sing again tonight! The highlight of the song though is when Stanley plays his guitar between his legs, but as that only lasts 10 seconds it's over in the blink of a thigh!
The song bleeds into a Thayer solo (of course), which then allows drummer Singer to back him with his own moments of solo time. Then, and after Singer's own three minute drum solo, as if trading musical barbs, the pair feed off one another. One minute Thayer is playing his guitar upside down behind his head, the next Singer is standing on his drum kit and stil playing it! Then, as Thayer's guitar is hoisted into the heavens, Singer asks the audience if they are ready to play along with him and clap their hands. To which they are, and do as amid another this-time-longer drum solo, flashing lights and pyros go crazy for the skin beater.
Thayer then comes back out, his guitar now in hand, and does his guitar-neck gun fire routine, before Singer asks the audience if they are still with him. Standing back up on his kit, he produces a bazooka, aims it at a fake light high above the stage, and fires off at it, causing it to 'explode' and fall to the stage!
"You're not feeling tired, are you?" Stanley inquires. "I know this is only Wednesday, but it feels like a weekend. So, I declare this the weekend," he bellows, as they launch into 'I Love It Loud.' He then sings alone the opening to 'Love Gun,' but without backing, his hoarse voice is exposed, and he even manages to forget one of the lines.
Weirdly, by now it's obvious the band has been, in my opinion and many more around me, stuck in a musical second gear. And when Simmons comes out and does his demonic Demon solo bass guitar act, complete with blood oozing from his mouth, well, for a few moments KISS resembled a Vegas nightclub act. Bathed in green light one minute, red the next, his moment is fleeting out there, but also tired.
The always-impressive 'God Of Thunder' is next before in a quiet moment Stanley begins to play Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' - albeit it for just 10 seconds! "Is that what you wanted to hear, Windsor?" he asks the audience, "Anybody out there know the song 'Black Diamond'? Sung by Singer (pun intended), it springs forth before Stanley informs us that next they are going to do a song about a city not too far from them tonight. And so, of course, they launch into 'Detroit Rock City' which is beloved by one and all gathered.
With Singer's drums now billowing rocket-like high above the stage, the culmination of the song brings a full 60 second frozen-rock stage pose by the three guitarists. Then, ninety minutes after it had begun, Stanley wishes everyone a goodnight, before they all leave the stage.
Returning for the always-expected encore, they first shake hands with audience members, Singer throws his sticks into the crowd, and they have a group bow for the cameras. "You don't wanna go home yet, do ya?", Stanley inquires, "Good, so we're gonna play some more for you." Which they do in the form of acoustically backing Singer; now center stage, mic in hand, all alone under the spot for 'Beth.' Resembling a cat in headlights (pun intended), he looked like he wanted the song to be over within the first verse, but actually managed to get through it with flying colors.
Informing us that they didn't want to end on a mellow note, and that they wanted things hard and heavy, 'Lick It Up' powers out. Midway though we get a burst of The Who's 'Won't Get Fooled Again,' before Stanley takes to the mic one last time, "If you want a little rock and roll in your life all you have to do is 'Shout It Out Loud'."
En mass of giant cannons boom millions of pieces of confetti into the air for a full three minutes or more as the song plays through the sea of white-shredded paper. And as the paper still manages to linger in the air, they burst into the show ender, 'Rock and Roll All Nite.' Complete with an endless array of firecracking pops and electronic guitar whoops from the stage, Simmons and Thayer rise up to the Gods on their respective end-of-stage platforms as the song, and the show finally comes to a spectacular end.
Review by: Russell A. Trunk
Photos by: Paul Medved and Roger Lauzon
'Confetti' Photo by: Russell A. Trunk
Caesars Windsor Upcoming Shows
The Moody Blues
Jeff Dunham: Identity Crisis Tour
Roger Daltrey, and More!
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