It was only this past September that Kiss last rocked the Tweeter Center, but the Chicago-area couldn't have been happier to get them back again so soon.
Rather than co-headlining with a fellow legendary rock band like Aerosmith per last year's tour, on July 9, 2004 Kiss was back in Chicago dominating the stage, the crowd, and the entire evening ruling the world the way that Kiss has done for more than three decades.
Brooklyn based newcomers ZO2, and one of the "hairband"-era favorites, Poison, opened up the show, helping create an infectiously blithe mood throughout the crowd.
After Poison wrapped up and a great number of the masses left their seats for beer and bathroom breaks, more quickly than I've ever seen at any other concert ever, they shuffled back to their seats as not to miss the trademark intro to Kiss shows bellowing out of the speaker stacks. The magic words that gave me chills and sent the audience into a frenzy while the giant screens on stage showed the band walking towards the stage:
"All right Chicago! You wanted the best, you got the best
the hottest band in the world
As all that leather and greasepaint hit the stage atop of a few pairs of eight-inch heels, they broke out into one of their very many classics "Love Gun." Instantly and blatantly proving to be on top of their game, most of the credit for which has been given to the new line-up.
Joining veterans Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley on stage are guitarist Tommy Thayer, and drummer Eric Singer. This is Thayer's second tour as Kiss' new axe-slinger, and Singer's third time as drummer and member for Kiss.
The substance abuse and motivational problems with other founding members, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss have been well documented, and now as the band continues with Thayer and Singer, Kiss is no longer prisoners to a limited set-list.
Amid the pyros, shooting balls of fire, and the several monitors built into a huge, sleek stage, Kiss rocked with songs that hadn't been performed live for many years. Tunes like "Christine Sixteen," which before this tour hadn't been played live since 1996, and "War Machine" silenced since 1994, among others.
Tongue waggling Simmons replaced his nefarious classic, "God Of Thunder" for this tour with "Unholy," which exhibits his blood spewing theatrics and levitating up into the rafters to perform the song from up there. Another Simmons-fronted great, "War Machine," showcased Simmons spitting fire.
In addition to playing material that had been locked in the Kiss closet for a long time, the band is also enjoying the ability to change the set list per city as well. Incorporating "Psycho Circus" into the set for the Chicago show, this was the first time the song was played on this tour.
For the "disco" hit, "I Was Made For Loving You," Stanley flew to a small stage in the center of the arena much to the delight of most of the crowd, and though it was a huge hit, some Kiss fans still don't care for "I Was Made For Loving You." Matter of fact, a guy in the row of seats behind me looked quite unhappy, but judging just from everyone else in our immediate area, he was grossly outnumbered.
Though some fans grow weary of Stanley's little spoken raps between most songs, this allows each of the other members to re-ground themselves after every song. A necessary evil when rocking as hard as Kiss does song upon song throughout the night. However, before breaking into "God Gave Rock & Roll To You II," Stanley gave an inspiring speech about how, as Americans, we need to not only be proud of our troops fighting for our freedom, but how too we should refuse to live in fear of past and potential terrorists.
Other songs performed were: "Deuce," "Making Love," "Lick It Up," "Got To Choose," "I Want You," "I Love It Loud," "100,000 Years," "Shout It Out Loud," and "Detroit Rock City."
And alas, Kiss wrapped up the show with the song they're probably the most known for, "Rock And Roll All Night," accentuated by several blasts of confetti that came raining down upon the audience.
It isn't lack of performance or variety of songs that leaves one wanting more as they walk out of the arena after a Kiss concert. Kiss remains to give their all and being a part of the audience there's no denying it. Kiss is an enchanting experience where everything is good and fun and happy. It's such a nice contrast to the norm of today's popular music with lyrics screaming about emotionally abusive parents. What makes one want more is the fact that it sure would be nice if every day were a Kiss concert. Knowing how satisfied the current members of Kiss are with their present state, we fans can only hope they'll decide to continue on for many years to come.
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