KISS, the American rock band that has pretty much influenced a big chunk of the music that we, the writers and readers of A&GS enjoy, embarked on a relatively short tour this year, and one very special date in Irving, TX, at the brand new Toyota Music Factory, which looks like a venue that will hold huge musical acts from different genres (and it’s right across the street from the office!). This would be my third time seeing KISS, but it always feels like the first time, just like lead singer Paul Stanley says: “Nobody forgets their first KISS”. This band is one of the very few that I can think of that can make ANYONE enjoy their show. With a complete production, full set and a solid connection with the crowd, KISS showed exactly why they’ve been doing what they do best for over 40 years.
A night that featured no opening acts and no delays caused by the rain was shaping to be a very fun one. “Deuce” was the first song to start the party, followed by “Shout It Out Loud”, which moved things a bit more with the already excited crowd. “Lick it Up” and “I Love It Loud” continued with this party, where we could also appreciate all band members Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons (bass, vocals), Tommy Thayer (lead guitar, vocals) and Eric Singer (drums, vocals) moving around at will and interacting with all levels of the crowd. Then one of my favorite songs made my heart stop “Love Gun”, which is probably not the most complex number, but I always feel drawn into singing along to that chorus.
Being this was my third time seeing the group, and also knowing that most of the people at the venue are having a great time, Gene Simmons proved again that KISS is the real show once he spat fire after playing “Firehouse”, which is also a very entertaining song. “Shock Me” was next on the setlist and Tommy Thayer also showed us his skills by taking over the stage with a few minutes of guitar solo that made everyone go wild. This gave way to “Flaming Youth” which was super fun to watch because the band combined the sounds with some pictures of different times and stages that they’ve has gone through. It was amazing to see all current and former members of the band through the years and also realize that they’re playing right in front of us at that same moment.
Following that, Gene Simmons took over the stage to make it darker, consume some energy and spit out blood, then fly up to continue jamming his bass from just above the stage. Then all band members came back to play “God of Thunder”. So far, just barely half of the show has passed, and the best songs haven’t even come up next, but just wait. “Say Yeah” is one in particular that brings my energy up, and the first time I listened to it was basically by accident when I was looking at the Finnish band LORDI’S discography, but gladly bumped into this song, the first one that I memorized from this legendary band. Right after this, with zero seconds of pause, a complete BADASS tune that I never heard before live just made me go crazy: “War Machine”. Things then turned from great to amazing.
This is the time when lead singer Paul Stanley needed to come closer to the crowd, and as “Psycho Circus” landed its intro, we found ourselves seeing Paul coming to the crowd to sing with us and share our view. He also stayed over to continue playing “Black Diamond”. It was a good combination of tracks to share with the crowd before going back to play one of their most famous songs of all time: “Rock and Roll All Nite” (and party every day!). This certainly was a high note to leave with before coming back for the encore.
The show easily lasted at least two hours and all of us needed more. KISS pleased everyone with “Cold Gin”, which also featured fireworks, special effects and a very clear sound. Finally, to put the cherry on top of the cake, “Detroit Rock City” was chosen to be the last song of the night. This is a song that brings up the energy from anyone and also one that’s also turned into a favorite after hearing it live a few times. It was certainly a bummer that none of us could hear “I Was Made for Lovin’ You”, but this setlist was extremely good to have a great night and enjoy one of the best live bands ever.
My first time seeing KISS I was not too excited, but I was impressed after the show ended in Mexico. The second time, it happened at Chicago Open Air, where my expectations were met and set the bar even higher for me to classify this show as the best KISS I’ve seen (and maybe the best I’ll ever see). After all these stories and feelings, I can’t say no to a band like this one when they come around again, and I’ll recommend this as much as I can to anyone that doesn’t know how a KISS concert feels. Like I mentioned before, this is a band that will give you a great show whether you know the tunes inside and out, or not..
LIVE IMAGES: GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: THE ALCALDE