Errols Weekly Music Update.

October 11, 2009

Concert Review: KISS at Madison Square Garden on Saturday Rocktober 10, 2009. KISS ALIVE 35

Concert Review: KISS at Madison Square Garden on Saturday Rocktober 10, 2009. KISS ALIVE 35.

KISS in KISS Country”

Is there a more dedicated fan base than the Kiss Army? The elder “statesmen” and “stateswomen” brought along a whole bunch of new recruits to witness the spectacle of what could be the best visual stage show ever as well as the constant supply of down home Rock and Roll cooking for the New York audience. I am positive that the new recruits are just as enthralled with KISS after witnessing them deliver a knock out punch on the world’s greatest stage and who knows they may just get the chance to introduce their kids to a KISS concert for their “KISS ALIVE 50” tour. I don’t know if it is the addition of Tommy Thayer on guitar or Eric Singer on drums but Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons appear to be revitalized. They seem to be breathing fresh air again and you would have thought that it could have been 1979 instead of 2009 because the energy they brought to the table last night has me thinking that they are drinking out of some kind of fountain of youth. (And all I know is that I want some too). Now when I was 12 years old, KISS was not cool for my parents or their generation. My parents were not taking me to a KISS concert, I had to wait of age and then go with friends. The great thing about last night was that my generation is now bringing their kids to see “the hottest band in the world.” All I know is that I was stoked last night to see them and I was looking for that “match” to ignite me into orbit. And you’re not going to believe what did it for me. I was blasting KISS in my car the whole ride down to NYC from Connecticut. (Again NY is the only place to see them, especially since this is their home town). After I parked I was rushing to meet my “brother” –John- and as I was running along 7th Avenue, I saw the KISS Army in their “get-ups,” heard their music being played in passing cars and then as I’m running pass the Garden, I stop dead in my tracks. There is this dude with his son (who couldn’t have been more than 7 yrs. old) and the kid has the “spaceman” painted on his face. The father is taking a photo of him right underneath the Madison Square Garden logo. They didn’t know it but that was “the sign” for me and I knew it was going to be a great night.

After eating at Harrington’s, (another Garden ritual) John and I followed the “yellow brick road” into the Garden as we gazed at the endless stream of the face painted soldiers (most were Gene by the way), checked out the “T-Shirts” ($45-ouch) and went looking for the “M&M” candies but after a long search-none were to be had. Again no offense to Buckcherry (the opener) but we were there for Kiss, so we kind of waited off to the side for them to finish their set. The “pre-game” ceremony was mainly uneventful as the stage was completely surrounded by four curtains (have I mentioned “Oz?”) with the front curtain containing the KISS logo in Oakland Raider colors, so we couldn’t figure out was going on. I knew KISS was coming out when the stereo system played “Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin. As the song ends, the fans witness on these two substantial screens tucked away high up in the corners of the Garden, the members of Kiss being filmed backstage as they walked in the tunnel to get to the stage. Then there it was- the announcers’ voice and the crowd quickly joining in unison to say “You wanted the best, You got the best, The hottest band in the world… KISS!!!  \m/ \m/   The opening chords to “Deuce” spray out throughout the Garden as the curtains drop while the bombs and explosions crash down while the audience finally gets to see the massive stage. At the center of the stage is the KISS logo, approximately 9-10 feet high and 10-12 feet long with seeming thousands of light bulbs in them. Gene, Paul and Tommy are spread out among the enormous platform while Eric and his drum kit are above the Kiss logo and he appears to be “Larger than Life.” The ground floor has a row of speakers going across the entire stage and they were about three feet high. Then there were these three layers of what I would call perfectly white squares (picture the precise white blocks for the children’s game “Don’t break The Ice”-remember that game?) and these squares were basically screens that showed the members of Kiss while they performed as well as album covers, etc. The bottom layer was the longest, with the second being a little shorter than the bottom and the top row of squares being shorter than the middle level. There were two massive “KISS ARMY” banners that hung on each side of the stage. Above the band was this colossal movie screen that depicted the bands every movement with the highest “HD” quality you have ever seen. This screen at times was split into four equal parts, three equal parts as well as two equal parts illustrating each member of this infamous band. There he was-Mr. Simmons screaming “Get Up and Get Your Grandma outta here!!!” into the microphone looking every bit as the demon he was back in 1975. The crowd is going wild and as the song is ending-Paul, Gene and Tommy do this unison dance with their guitars in hand as they dip then raise their heads to the pounding beats of Eric’s drumming. Eric then begins the next classic-“Strutter”- with his sticks as the crowd prepares to help out Paul with the lyrics as they anxiously wait to belt out-“I know a thing or two about her.. I know she’ll only make you crryyyy..” The elder state person’s are all smiling and high fiving each other as the Army prepare to air guitar to Tommy’s guitar solo. Whew, what a way to start-back to the classics (and it would stay this way most of the night). Paul says hello to the crowd as they blast into “Let Me Go, Rock and Roll” a sort of Chuck Berry sounding song that appears on their “Hotter than Hell” album. Eric and Tommy share the spotlight as their playing was super solid. After the song Paul tells the crowd that he use to drive a cab in NY and would drive people to see Elvis back in the day as he grew up in New York and he was determined to one day play Madison Square Garden with his band. He pays homage to the NY crowd by letting them know that no matter where they might play, New York will always be their home and that this is “KISS in KISS Country.”

They continue with the second of three consecutive songs from “Hotter than Hell” by performing the title track as the background screens all have flames blazing everywhere along with the pyrotechnics exploding on each side of the stage. John is amazed by the stage show and presence that they command and states already that this is the best concert he has ever attended. Gene then takes the spotlight by getting out the torch and you know what’s coming- yes the spitting of the fire- and he executes it perfectly. I was hoping to hear more than a few songs from “Sonic Boom” but the only one they squeezed in between two classics was the new single, the scorching “Modern Day Delilah” and I have to tell you there were a lot of fans who knew all the words to this song already. (If you are a Kiss fan you really need to own “Sonic Boom.”) One of the early highlights of the show was the lost classic-“She” from their “Dressed to Kill” album. I was in my glory as Tommy and Eric really sent the crowd into orbit with their playing ability. Thayer’s guitar solo was electrifying as I was basking in the moment slowly head banging along with the many die-hards singing word for word. Tommy then had a guitar solo which included shooting flames into the night from his guitar from each side of the stage. The “hidden” classics continued with the blazing “Parasite” from “Hotter than Hell.” I couldn’t believe they were performing this song; this is a track I have told you about a few times on this page and to be able to hear it live in more than a quarter of a century was unreal. Paul then stated that the next song was the “classics of classic”- the staple of their shows: “100,000 Years.” Johnny was beside himself as he sang along to every word and hit all the drum & guitar parts. This is his song and I informed everyone around me to “Get up!!!-there is no sitting down on this one.” As kids we always would put “Kiss Alive 1” on and listen to this track the most as we couldn’t wait for the drum solo. The crowd knows when the drum solo will arrive as many of the faithful are “air-drumming” along with Eric. Mr. Singer breaks out into his solo and wants audience participation as he gets the crowd to hand clap as he pounds the skins. His drum kit was lifted in the air to add to the spectacle. As the rest of the members come back on stage, Paul really gets the audience involved as this song definitely stretched beyond the 12 minute mark.

Now it’s time for Gene’s solo and as we all know by now- Gene loves Gene. The screens had a close up of his face and it seemed to surround the Garden and he had the fans eating out of the palm of his hand. (Would he have it any other way?). The older brethren know what’s coming- the gurgitation of blood from his mouth. He is then swiftly (and I mean swiftly) lifted into the air high above the audience and is standing on a platform that appeared to be on the same level as the corporate “boxes” high atop the Garden. They lace into the hard rocking “I Love It Loud” and the crowd is singing word for word. “Turn it up, hungry for the medicine, two fisted to the very end..” After another classic, Paul lets the crowd know that we were there for one reason and one reason only- an “escape” from our day to day worries, bad news, etc. (Haven’t I been preaching that since I started this page?). He said we have the right to rock and roll and they laced into “Rock and Roll All Nite.” I’m telling you folks, I don’t care how many times you hear it, and how many times they play it- there is something about this song that just does it for every one. There were these “machine guns” spraying out confetti throughout the Garden while they were performing this song and it really was the icing on the cake. The screens showed the rabid fans singing along, cheering and just plain smiling. Freakin’ awesome. They exit the stage and after a few minutes the crowd is chanting “We Want Kiss!! We Want Kiss!!”

After about 5 minutes, they come out all together and bow to the audience. Paul lets the crowd know that they will not keep coming out for additional encores that they will have the “longest encore in the history of music.” As they prepare to get their instruments Paul playfully jumps on Gene’s back and Gene is carrying him across the stage. (Did I mention that they appear loose and free?). They played five songs for the encore with the highlight being “Love Gun” aided by this huge crane with a hook (just picture the largest fishing pole you have ever seen) that lifted Paul to the middle of the Garden where there was a small circular stage waiting for his arrival. Paul was the “bait” and the crowd ate it up. Mr. Stanley rocked, rolled and danced around this stage and sent the audience around him into a fury. The night ended with the incomparable “Detroit Rock City” and I know the crowd wanted more but they were definitely satisfied with the passion, dedication and effort put into the show by Paul, Gene, Tommy and Eric. KISS came home last night and proved to everyone why they have lasted for 35 years and I know the same audience (as well as future recruits) will be there when they come back for their 40th, 45th and 50th. Thank you Gentlemen for a rocking evening.   \m/ \m/

Set List:

1.       Deuce

2.       Strutter

3.       Let Me Go, Rock and Roll

4.       Hotter Than Hell

5.       Got To Choose

6.       Modern Day Delilah

7.       C’mon and Love Me

8.       She

           Thayer Guitar Solo

9.        Parasite

10.     100,000 Years (included Singer drum solo)

            Simmons Bass Solo

11.      I Love It Loud

12.      Black Diamond

13.      Rock and Roll All Nite


14.      Shout It Out Loud

15.      Lick It Up

16.      Cold Gin

17.      Love Gun

18.      Detroit Rock City


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