I've seen KISS so many times now I can't even remember. It doesn't matter, though. As soon as the intro music of Led Zeppelin's" Been a Long Time Since I Rock 'n Rolled" kicks in and the countdown to the band hitting the stage begins, I always have butterflies of anticipation in my stomach.
Whether you're a die-hard KISS fan or just a casual listener of their music, their stage show and live performance always trumps anything you've seen before. Unless, of course, you're comparing their concert in 2017 to one of the band's own performances in 1977 or 1978. KISS delivered the goods to the masses once again at the Pavilion at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, TX on Wednesday, September 27th.
The rain couldn't keep the faithful KISS Army away, as several hundreds stood in the lawn with no cover from the elements. All they cared about was seeing the rock legends tear up the stage once again. A little sprinkle here and there wasn't going to defeat their loyalty to the Hottest Band in the Land!
KISS hit the stage shortly after 8:00PM to the blaring notes of "Deuce" as the curtain dropped to the ground. The band donned their "Creatures of the Night" costumes, which they premiered on last year's KISS Kruise. I was in the photo pit for the first two songs and they definitely know who their target audience is for their opening couple tunes, as proven by their posing and staring into the cameras from every angle.
Paul Stanley was our MC for the night, getting the audience excited with his between-song banter and rallying cries. He pranced around the stage, shaking his tail (literally) and flinging guitar picks out to the crowd. Each band member in KISS gets a chance to shine on their own. The Starchild chose to fly out into the crowd and perform "Psycho Circus," which is a change from his usual "Love Gun." He then broke into a solo riffing session before heading into the intro for "Black Diamond."
The Demon himself stalked around the stage and performed just as great as he always does. Simmons went between hamming it up with goofy facial gestures and flicking his tongue around like a ravenous serpent looking for its next meal. He breathed fire at the end of "Firehouse" and then dramatically thrust the flaming sword into the stage. He flew into the rafters to perform "God of Thunder, which the Demon doesn't do at the smaller casino shows. Blood splattered out of his mouth as he was bathed in green light and smoke just before taking flight. Gene delivered all his goods just the way audience wants it.
Spaceman Tommy Thayer executed all the classic leads KISS fans want to hear while adding just enough of his own flare to keep things interesting. His solo time onstage consisted of firing rockets from his guitar which exploded in the rafters of the venue. Thayer also sang Ace Frehley's signature "Shock Me," which has always been a sort of theme song for his persona. I said it before and I'll say it again: I wish Thayer would perform one of his own songs off of "Sonic Boom" or "Monster." Both of his cuts on those albums fit the Spaceman character as well as "Shock Me" or "2000 Man."
Eric Singer banged away on the drums, adding the driving beat that pushes each adrenaline-fueled song forward that keeps the audience on their feet. The Catman sang lead vocals on "Black Diamond," a track that original drummer Peter Criss used to bring to life. Singer has that same type of soulful voice and sounded excellent. As with Thayer, I really wish he would perform one of the tracks he fronts on "Sonic Boom" or "Monster." I understand, though. Most of the masses are here to see classic KISS.
It always blows me away how many people raise their hands when Paul asks from the stage if it's the first time they've seen KISS live. I would venture to say almost a quarter of the crowd raised their hands this time. Some were children hanging out with their parents, while others were 40 to 50-year-olds who, for whatever reason, just never got around to experiencing the band live. One way or the other, Stanley is right when he says, "You never forget your first KISS." I can guarantee none of the first-timers forgot what they saw Wednesday night at Irving's Toyota Music Factory.
You can check out more photos from the show right here.