Thursday, October 29, 2009

KISS Arrives For Halloween

by Dave Cohen

On the heels of Sonic Boom, their first release in eleven years, KISS, the masked marvels of rock and roll, arrive in New Orleans just in time for Halloween with a spot in the VooDoo Experience lineup. While longtime KISS Army members have an idea what to expect, first-time concert goers just need to remember to heed the warning and buckle up and hang on for the ride when that curtain drops at New Orleans City Park.

Original members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, sporting brand new costumes and their classic seven inch leather heels, lead the bombardment, along with guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer.

One of KISS's mottos has always been, "If it's too loud, you're too old!" says Stanley, "At this point, with the legend of KISS, there really is a sense of a band that has always delivered 100% and tried to deliver more. And there's a young audience that has heard about us and wants to see if that's true. They find out - deafeningly and blindingly - that it is. I think it's timeless. The members of KISS, the iconic figures, are timeless. And that's intriguing."

So don't hide your eyes when Simmons blows fire or dribbles fake blood from his mouth and then proceeds to fly to the top of the lighting truss, and don't duck when Thayer's guitar shoots off fireworks. The God of Thunder himself told, "If you bring your eyes to a concert, we want a visual boom, a visual overload. And you should get that. New outfits, brand new stage, millions more put into it -that's the history of Kiss. Simply put, any band you go to see for the same ticket price, you know, Kiss is gonna give you tenfold more. That's just a statement of fact. And there's a new screen, state-of-the-art; I don't think people have seen this kind of thing before - that's literally as wide as the entire stage. So, there ain't a bad seat in the house."

Thayer and Singer have replaced Ace Frehley and Peter Criss respectively and are decked out in stage makeup and updated versions of the Spaceman and Catman costumes. With regards to being the current cat, Singer told, "It's a lot of work and a lot of responsibility. People have this misconception that it�s all fun and games, and some bands do just get out there and play. But there are higher expectations for a KISS show. KISS is a spectacle. It's the circus meets rock 'n' roll. Gene and Paul have always said when they created KISS, they created the show they never got to see. We've got to turn them on visually as well as musically."

And while some longtime KISS fans will always long for the day of the original members all together on stage again, Stanley seems very pleased with the chemistry of this current lineup. As he told Montreal radio station CHOM-FM, "You can't fake chemistry. You can't really make something that's real unless it's real. This band is deadly. It'll put a smile on your face but it will also knock you to the ground."

And that they do. The U.S. leg of this Alive 35 Tour, celebrating the long history of the band, began with two nights in Detroit where the band unveiled its new stage set which Stanley told is "the widest, biggest stage we've had," featuring a massive HD screen above it, three levels of lighted cubes at the rear, and two video screens and huge KISS Army banners flanking it. Hydraulic lifts bring the band members up from below the stage level at the beginning of the show and set them above the crowd while confetti swirles and more pyrotechnics explode at the end of "Rock and Roll All Nite."

Simmons told, "So many things in life are not real. Santa is not real. Superman is not real. KISS is real. And we're going to make sure that when you leave that show, your first KISS show or the 100th, you'll walk away, whether you love the band or not, and say, 'That is the best thing I've ever seen on planet Earth.' That's a vow we make to ourselves and anybody who's willing to come out there and see us."

Much of the set list features songs from the 70s Alive! and Destroyer era, including "Deuce," "Strutter," "Detroit Rock City," and "Shout It Out Loud," and many others during the expected two and a half hour show.

KISS is certainly no stranger to The Big Easy. Along with regular stops during their previous tours, they served as the Grand Marshalls of a Mardi Gras parade back in 1979 while more recently Simmons was a guest and rode on a special float in a 2005 parade. KISS has also performed at various venues over the years including shows during the 70s at The Warehouse and the Municipal Auditorium. Of course, they've seen the inside of the Super Dome as few times as well. "You wanted the best, you got the best. The hottest band in the world... KISS!"