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This article was published 9/11/2009 (2697 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For Kiss, it's their introduction.
The New York rock band who helped invent the arena concert spectacle in the 1970s know exactly what their fans want. Say what you will about them -- still on the road nine years after their farewell tour -- there's no denying they know how to put on a big, dumb, flashy rock show.
"There's something about Canada that just brings out the best in Kiss. You're going to hear all the stuff you came for tonight," frontman Paul Stanley told the sold out crowd of 12,750 at the MTS Centre early last night.
He wasn't lying.
The band is touring in support of their first album in 11 years, Sonic Boom, but despite the fact it's a return to their classic sound, the band only played two new songs, Modern Day Delilah and Say Yeah, preferring to stick to hits from their 1970s heyday.
Much like the Alive! album they're celebrating with the title of the tour (Kiss Alive 35) the band opened with Deuce and Strutter off their 1974 self-titled debut. During the opening number founding members Stanley and demonic bassist Gene Simmons gathered at centre stage with lead guitarist Tommy Thayer, dressed in Ace Frehley's spaceman makeup and nailing every solo effortlessly, for some synchronized moves.
Behind them Eric Singer, taking the place of original drummer Peter Criss, was seated on a riser above the famous lighted Kiss logo, which was surrounded by a line of speakers and three rows of video monitors flashing everything from abstract patterns to fire (of course). Three other video screens showed close-ups of the band, who don't look a day older than they did all those years ago thanks to their makeup.
Stanley played the role of hype man throughout the night with his well-known between-song banter, getting the Kiss Army riled up, especially when challenging them to be louder than other Canadian cities.
"It's up to you to show us that you are number one," he said before the blues-based Let Me Go Rock 'N' Roll.
From the first notes to the last, it was as flashy and over-the-top as ever. Multicoloured flames shot out often, the drum riser rotated during Singer's solo, Thayer shot fireworks from his guitar, Simmons breathed fire at the conclusion of Hotter than Hell and both he and Stanley took wire-assisted flights.
With the exception of the two new Sonic Boom tracks and Lick it Up and I Love it Loud, both from the early 1980s, the set was filled with melodic hard rock favourites from the 1970s with Cold Gin, Parasite, Black Diamond, Rock and Roll All Nite and Detroit Rock City making the set list.
The only hitch in show was when a light in the rig caught fire at the conclusion of Black Diamond and had to be extinguished.
Over the past two decades Kiss has become more known for their marketing than music, but if you're a Kiss fan the merch booth was filled with everything you could want including panties, a Thayer-autographed guitar strap, a Singer autographed drum head and a USB leather wristband, or CD with last night's show along with the regular shirts and posters.
It's easy to be cynical, but last night it was about the music, and Kiss fans who wanted to hear the best got it.
Los Angeles quintet Buckcherry opened the night with a 45-minute set of sleazy hard rock perfectly suited for an arena, highlighted by the ode to cocaine Lit Up, the pop-edged Everything and the funk-infused Crazy Bitch.
Nov. 9, 2009
Four stars out of five