After 35 Years - A KISS is still a KISS

KISS - The Hottest Show On Earth
All Access Concert Review: A

KISS Concert: Houston  9-17-2010
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t quite as ready to ‘Rock ‘n Roll All Night and Party Every Day’ as much as the overly excited "never seen KISS live before" fan in the seat next to me at last Friday’s KISS concert in Houston. Maybe it was because it was his first KISS show and while he was easily pushing 60, he had the stamina (and matching behavior) of a teenager. Or maybe it was because this was approximately the 30th time I was going to see KISS and started to wonder (doubt even) if – after 35 years – the time was nearing where I no longer would enjoy seeing and hearing “The Hottest Show On Earth”, which is how their current tour is aptly labeled.

Don’t get me wrong, a KISS concert (or KISS experience is perhaps the better word) still beats the pants off, well, just about any other band. Few will give you as much bang for your buck as these guys do and you just can’t help but to get caught up in the madness of it all. You’ll get the blood and fire breathing theatrics, explosive fireworks, hit after hit, a smashed guitar and about a ton of confetti. Oh, and did I mention that these guys can flick a guitar pick with ease, precise aim and well past row ‘P’?

Tommy Thayer
So, here I find myself again watching Gene and Paul doing what they’ve been doing for 37 years now. Sure, Paul’s voice isn’t what it used to be and Gene has become a little bit more static on stage over the years. That however is largely compensated by the energy and quality delivered by Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, who – like it or not – have made KISS a better band than their original predecessors.

Judging by the demographics of the audience, it’s easy to conclude that KISS has truly become an event for all ages, all walks of life and possibly a family affair. From toddlers to retirees, from rough rockers to soccer moms, it seems that everyone wants to be "puckered upon" tonight. Each song goes down like a smooth glass of "cold gin" and sitting is not an option. It’s bombastic, theatrical, somewhat predictable but – and this is the only thing that in the end matters – it sure is entertaining.

Paul Stanley
As I looked around and saw that the fan sitting next to me was having the time of his life just like the other 15,000+ in attendance, that’s when it hit me…..I was observing the audience as much as I was paying attention to those 4 guys on stage and realized that the sheer joy and pure pleasure I witnessed around me was no different then when I got bitten by the KISS bug at an early age. The KISS Army is still very much alive and signing up new recruits every night. With so many bands struggling to keep up and sell out shows, it is understandable why a band such as KISS could easily keep rockin another 10 or 20 years.

Me? I was getting my satisfaction from the little things. If I never hear a live rendition of “Beth” anymore I wouldn’t loose much sleep but to see them play their biggest (radio) hit as a band – with Paul and Tommy playing acoustic guitars – was a first for me….and I loved it. Another nice touch was bringing out 3 Marines and reciting the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’, after presenting a check worth well over $400,000.00 to the ‘Wounded Warrior Project’ ( Also, I can’t remember seeing a band doing an encore that lasted nearly an hour, again - that whole “bang for your buck” thing.

Gene Simmons
Going to see KISS is very much like going to your favorite restaurant. You know what you’ll get, you know it’ll be great, you also know you’ll be coming back and after a while, you enjoy seeing new patrons come in and discover why this place is so special. I wasn’t sure how hungry I was last Friday night but I left with a full and happy tummy.

Nearly 70 years ago, Humphrey Bogart serenaded Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca” with the words “a kiss is still a kiss”. He couldn’t have been more right. And if you have never seen a KISS concert, I’d recommend that you put it on your bucket list and prepare to be "puckered upon". After 37 years KISS is still KISS. 

By Jacques van Gool, 
Backstage Auctions, Inc.
Jacques van Gool (Backstage Auctions) & Gene Simmons (KISS)
Brussels (Vorst Nationaal) 1983 Tour

1 comment:

  1. Excellent write up! Great mustache Jacques. Maybe someone will invite me to tag along to the next concert.