• PHOTO BY MELONSHE

The first time I saw KISS it was a dangerous affair. If you didn’t get you face blown off by a M-80 raining down from the upper seats, you could slip into a coma by eating some pills the guy next to you was passing around. The show itself was completely geared to appeal to the zit-faced 14 year-old virgin in all of us. It was, at that time, the greatest rock show that anybody had ever put on.

Incredibly, the show I saw KISS perform at the State Fair Monday night still held much of the same goose-bump inducing power as it did in the glory days. But the danger was gone. Give them their props; Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are still capable of whipping a crowd into a frenzy. But they rarely did. Instead of a house full of drunk and drugged fornicating, manic freaks, this crowd was made up of mini-van driving recovering alcoholics and their families.

It was a breathtaking sight. The grandstands at the Indiana State Fairgrounds were jam-packed with Kiss fans young and old. Sure, there were disinterested teen girls texting as their dads were getting pumped up with the rock and roll. But for the most part the place was jam packed with families actually enjoying the concert together. As if it was some Disney extravaganza. And ultimately it was just as tame as one.

  • PHOTO BY MELONSHE

While I applaud KISS's inclusion of several songs from their not terrible last LP, Sonic Boom, starting off the show with one of them is not a good idea. And while the set list included lots of stuff off the first record, they barely skimmed the surface of the rest of their career. No “Hotter Than Hell”, “No “I Stole Your Love” and inexplicably, no “God of Thunder.” Seriously. They did “Krazy Nights” a pitiful piece of turd from their poodle-haired unmasked period. But no. God. Of. Fucking. Thunder.

  • PHOTO BY MELONSHE

Paul Stanley is still able to give it good as it gets — this is a man who has had two hip replacements — and his performances on “Black Diamond” and “Lick It Up” were masterful, but his painful rendition of Led Zep’s “Whole Lotta Love” in his solo spotlight was inexcusable. Then he did it again and pulled out The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in the encore.

What the hell?

You’re KISS for crying out loud. You've got no business playing other people’s songs. During the time spent playing classic rock karaoke, you could have pulled cool Kiss Klassics out of the Kloset and really given the kids something to chew on. Even “God of Thunder” maybe.

And another thing, using the fake-ass Ace and the fake-ass Peter to sing “Shock Me” and “Beth” is BLASPHEMY. I’d rather hear Gene do “Radioactive” and Paul do “Tonight You Belong To Me” off their solo records then to suffer through Alice Cooper’s Drummer and Gene’s former personal assistant mangle up two songs the band should have retired when Ace and Peter got kicked out again.

It was KISS as Branson, Missouri dinner theatre, complete with the “Pledge of Allegiance” before the show-ending fireworks and lots of Dr. Pepper Cherry ads. Sometimes enjoyable, but nothing to write home about.

  • PHOTO BY MELONSHE
  • PHOTO BY MELONSHE
  • PHOTO BY MELONSHE
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