Let’s not sugarcoat it. I was never a huge KISS fan. Don’t take that to mean I don’t appreciate what they have done or the influence they have on the bands that I listen to today because I understand and acknowledge that but I feel like KISS may have missed part of my generation. Case in point- I sent a friend (who shall remain nameless) a video of Paul Stanley doing a solo last night and she thought it was Axel Rose. It wasn’t her being funny (although I about spit my beer out laughing), but it was more that she and I grew up fairly similar as far as music goes and KISS was just never one of our bands. All of that being said, I was not going to miss a chance to see the legendary band on one of their many farewell tours so, when given the opportunity, I inevitably jumped on it.
As if one legendary act for a night wasn’t enough, KISS enlisted David Lee Roth as the sole opener for this leg of the tour and he definitely got the audience ready for what was to turn into a lengthy and truly amazing night. Much like KISS, I was never a huge DLR or Van Halen fan but, again, appreciate everything he has done for music. I wasn’t expecting much from him or his set but he had me on my feet before his first song was even done. DLR is one of those people that you don’t quite realize just how many hit songs he had until you see him perform and its recognizable hit after hit.
Even at 65 years old, DLR’s vocals are still nothing short of impressive. From hitting the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, it was obvious that he was born with a talent and showed it’s not going anywhere. Sure, some of his set was a little awkward for me as the old man (sorry, not sorry) grinded on his microphone stand but it wasn’t awkward for the sea of older people around me that were living out their teenage years with a smile on their face and their arms pumping in the air. From an explosive cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” to kick off the set to the final note of Van Halen’s “Jump”, DLR had me smiling from ear to ear and gave me a new appreciation for this legendary musician.
The lights went down, the giant sheet donning the KISS logo came down and, with a deafening pop of fireworks, the show kicked off and I instantly got lost in everything going on around me. It’s no surprise that KISS would have an over the top live performance full of fire, fireworks, and confetti but I think the sheer magnitude of it all had me floored. Thee way the four legendary musicians powered through an impressive eighteen song set followed by a three song encore had me exhausted and thinking about how this band has been doing this since 1973 had me even more exhausted. Paul Stanley reminisced about their first time in Saint Paul at the Civic Center Theater way back in the day. That mixed with the flashes of original video footage playing behind the band as they rocked the arena was a good reminder of just how amazing and monumental KISS is and I found myself seeing this band in a whole new light because of it.
Some of the jokes and praise that Paul Stanley gave to the overly excited audience seemed a bit rehearsed and scripted but you could still feel that, even after all of the years that have gone by, the members of KISS still genuinely love being on stage and giving their audiences what they want– a show. I was probably the only one not screaming along to every word with a sense of power and excitement but I didn’t mind. I was fascinated and captivated by the audience around me and their excitement was more than enough to get me through the lengthy performance (well that and the almost constant pop of fireworks).
Photos by David Rubene