Monday, November 30, 2009

KISS Celebrates 35 Years At Pearl

Story and photos by Erik Kabik

The KISS Alive 35 2009 North American tour made its stop at The Pearl Concert Theater inside Palms Casino Resort on Saturday, November 28, 2009. Celebrating 35 years of rocking the world like no other, KISS treated their fans to a set of some of rock's greatest hits, including Rock and Roll All Nite and Detroit Rock City, as well as songs from the band's new album Sonic Boom.

Our thanks to Las Vegas photographer Erik Kabik for these great photos and special report:

I first saw KISS in 1977 at The Capital Center in Landover, Maryland when I was 6 years old. They were the first band that I became a true fan of. I joined the KISS Army, bought the lunchbox, The KISS dolls, posters, all that stuff. I got my parents to take me to see them in 1977 and then again in 1979 in my full Gene Simmons makeup. I saw a lot of music during those years, as I grew up in the rock and roll world seeing mostly my parents' music (they took me to see all of their shows), but KISS was my show and the one band I made them take me to see when I was a kid.

Being a serious music collector and following bands of many genres for the past 32 years, KISS holds that place as the first real big one that got me. I found other music that hit me deeper and transformed my view of music and the world later, but those four dudes in makeup, breathing fire and pounding out ear splitting rock anthems, was about the coolest thing for a young boy growing up in the 1970's. Although I saw a lot of kids at the show tonight at The Pearl, it was mainly the grown up KISS fans back for a nostalgic ride, dragging their kids to see the band rather than the other way around.

The show tonight at the Pearl proved that KISS is still the ultimate concert spectacle and it's backed by straight forward, no holds barred, rock and roll tunes. KISS is about escaping for a couple of hours and being totally over the top and a place to let your inner rocking, air guitar playing and sign of the horn waving spirit flow freely. To paraphrase what Paul Stanley said tonight, "Lots of other bands get up on stage and talk about stopping global warming, or getting rid of world hunger, but KISS is about forgetting the world's problems. The world is going to be just as screwed up tomorrow when we all wake up, so let's take off for the night." Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley still rock and pack a mean punch, blasting off what sounded like a few hundred of pounds of pyrotechnics just to make sure you noticed.

They opened the show with Deuce, Strutter and Let Me Go Rock and Roll - three classic tunes. The show openers were followed by a big set of mostly early KISS material originally recorded before the band shed their makeup in the early 80's. Thankfully they reformed in the 90's as the original KISS and revived their early material along with their classic show, outfits and makeup. It reminds me of classic Coke - you just don't mess with a formula that works. They closed the set tonight with their most famous and well know rock anthem, Rock and Roll All Night and blasted out the largest amount of confetti I've ever seen at a concert blanketing the entire venue in white paper strips up to my ankles.

They returned to the stage for not one but three encores: Shout It Out Loud, Love Gun and Detroit Rock City. The songs still hold up and they still sound like KISS even with half of the original lineup out of the band. It's definitely a nostalgia trip that was worth hopping on a for a few hours and I hope the guys keep at it because KISS Alive 45 will be a lot of fun to watch!