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August 24, 2010

Concert review: KISS at Jiffy Lube Live

kiss

Sun writer (and wrestling blogger) Kevin Eck saw Kiss at Jiffy Lube Live. Here is his review:

To many people, Kiss has long been Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and two other guys.

Even when fellow original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss returned to the iconic glam rock group in the late '90s, it was clear that Simmons and Stanley were steering the ship and the other two were simply along for the ride.

That's not the case with the band's current lineup, though. While "The Demon" and "The Starchild" are still Kiss' main men both on and off stage, lead guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer – who have assumed the "Spaceman" and "Catman" stage personas made famous by Frehley and Criss, respectively – are more than just bit players.

In fact, they provided some of the more memorable moments from Saturday night's Kiss concert at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va. ...

Thayer and Singer have been given the opportunity on this tour to step into the spotlight and sing lead on a couple of Kiss classics that had been signature songs for Frehley and Criss back in the glory days.

Thayer sparked the crowd with his version of "Shock Me," which included a guitar solo that was at the very least equal to Frehley's. Thayer's solo morphed into an entertaining jam session between him and Singer, as they showed that they make Kiss a better band not only because they are free of the personal demons that hindered Frehley and Criss, but also because of their playing skills.

During the encore, Singer emerged from behind his drum kit to sing the hit ballad "Beth." Unlike when Criss would perform the song to pre-recorded strings and piano, Singer was accompanied by his bandmates playing acoustically. Also unlike Criss, Singer sang with conviction and actually hit the notes.

As for Simmons and Stanley, even at this stage of their careers, it was obvious Saturday night that the tongue-wagging bassist and pouty-lipped rhythm guitarist are not just going through the motions.

Kiss, still going strong as a live act 36 years after the release of their self-titled debut album and a decade after their "farewell tour," played a spirited 21-song set that went two hours and 10 minutes and had everything you would expect from a Kiss show (pyro explosions, flashing lights, fake blood, fire-breathing and, of course, Simmons and Stanley flying above the crowd) as well as something you wouldn't (Kiss leading the audience in reciting The Pledge of Allegiance).

Kiss opened with "Modern Day Delilah," the first track off its latest album, "Sonic Boom," and then played three songs from its first two albums – "Cold Gin," "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" and "Firehouse," before going back to "Sonic Boom" for "Say Yeah." The other track Kiss played off the 2009 album was the plodding "I’m an Animal," which actually is the only song that I skip when listening to the CD.

Another curious addition to the set was "Crazy Crazy Nights," which was one of three songs in the show from the non-makeup era. It’s not a great song to begin with, and the vocals here sounded flat compared to the slickly-produced studio version.

My only other complaint about the set list is that "100,000 Years" was retained from last year's tour while sing-along Kiss standards such as "Strutter" and "Hotter Than Hell" were dropped. Then again, when a band has a catalogue as extensive as the one Kiss has, it's impossible to please everybody.

Kiss wrapped up the main set with concert staples "Love Gun," "Black Diamond" and "Detroit Rock City" before returning to the stage for a six-song encore. Among the highlights was Stanley's rendition of "I Was Made For Lovin' You," which he sang after riding a zip line from the stage to a platform in the middle of the pavilion. Usually when performing the song live, Stanley grossly over-emphasizes the vocals, but he was much more subdued and thus truer to the studio version of the song.

As is often the case, Kiss saved "Rock and Roll All Nite" for its bombastic finale, once again proving that Kiss members and their fans may get old, but standing up and singing along to this song while being showered with confetti never does.

SET LIST

Modern Day Delilah
Cold Gin
Let Me Go Rock ‘n’ Roll
Firehouse
Say Yeah
Deuce
Crazy Crazy Nights
Calling Dr. Love
Shock Me
I'm An Animal
100,000 Years
I Love It Loud
Love Gun
Black Diamond
Detroit Rock City
Beth
Lick It Up
Shout It Out Loud
I Was Made For Lovin’ You
God Gave Rock And Roll To You
Rock And Roll All Nite


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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:01 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Concert reviews
        

Comments

I assume the reason why you skip over, "I'm an Animal" is because Batista left the WWE? Too bad they don't play one of my favorites from their non makeup era, "EXCITER" from their Lick it up album! Good Review!!

Would've loved to seen this show. Jiffy Lube is just too far of a hike

I agree with Jack--JLL is not only too far, but it's usually a parking lot when you're trying to leave...
Kevin-you know that this write-up is featured on the front page of the KISS website, don't you?

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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