The spectacle that is KISS live must genuinely be experienced to be fully understood and appreciated. Though it may be explained in articles much like this, it truly should be witnessed for one’s self. The creativity in design as well as the preparation and execution of a show of this magnitude, undeniably deserves its ranking as one of the greatest shows on Earth.
Without scaling down the menacing stage ensemble in lieu of the 5000 soft-seater arena, crews worked two full days bringing the event to the Colosseum inside Caesars Windsor Casino. With the venue filled to capacity, the city often overshadowed by the neighbouring Motor City, Detroit, Michigan came alive. Amid their historic appearance at Cobo Hall in ‘75 (KISS’s first sell-out of a major arena) and later at Tiger Stadium in ‘96 (launch of their reunion tour), the event seemed to hold more significance for fans and possibly for the band as well.
Now celebrating three and a half decades in the music business with their tour coined Alive 35, the band is sustained by only two of its original four members. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have always maintained their loyalty to the super group, though they have occasionally ventured off to fulfill their own individual interests. Stanley’s passion for the arts has found himself immersed in musical theatre (Phantom of the Opera), branching off on a solo music project and more recently placing his emotions to canvas for a very lucrative abstract art endeavour.
Simmons conversely, has more than dabbled in some media/advertising ventures. His love for promoting all that is KISS has lead him to endorse himself, his family and all of his own business ventures. With his own record label, television reality series, involvement in IndyCar racing, various book deals and numerous television appearances, Simmons is well on his way to establishing himself as one of North America’s most successful marketing enterprises.
Returning to their passion for performing to live audiences, Simmons and Stanley, joined by Tommy Thayer (lead guitar) and Eric Singer (drums) continue the legacy of KISS. Though garnished in face paint and costume, they show no signs of weathering from living the rock & roll lifestyle. With a new studio album due out this October, the band is still at the top of their game.
Their appearance at Caesars Windsor had not only sold out the Colosseum, but consequently a single room in the hotel was not to be had. It seems as though a lack-lustre economy has little effect on society wanting to escape from their everyday worries for an evening. This is without doubt the philosophy that KISS loves to promote. Songs such as “Lick It Up” and the epic “Rock & Roll All Night” scream the message of living for today.
Amongst their rivalled stage antics of smoke bombs, fireworks, fire-breathing, rising platforms and smashing guitars, their music is fundamentally about celebrating life. Definitely non-political, KISS wanted all to be present in the moment that evening. With fists shaking and a relentless crowd demanding for more, KISS were poised in rising to the occasion.
Playing mainly hits from their double-platinum KISS Alive, fans were treated to a virtual re-enactment of that legendary concert recorded across the Detroit River. However, songs including “Black Diamond” and “100,000 Years” were not meant for the novice fan, but for those familiar with their history.
From the opener “Deuce” to the sensational finale “Detroit Rock City” the two-hour set left no one oblivious to what had just taken place - the show of all shows. KISS sets the bar high and leaves every band in the dust when it comes to live performance. Their concerts have been and will always be compared to by fans who pay hard-earned dollars to see their favourite artist, yet never get the show they demand.
With KISS now as relentless as ever, and foreseeing a return to Caesars in October, Windsor will have to prime itself for another night to “Shout It Out Loud”!!