Friday, November 27, 2009

Los Angeles Licks It Up

By Phyllis Pollack

Los Angeles licks it up at Kiss concert in Los Angeles as first live Facebook concert is broadcast

Last night's Kiss concert in Los Angeles was the first concert to be broadcast live on Facebook. The scene at L.A.'s Staples Center for the Kiss Alive 35 tour date was both deep with cameras that were shooting the band, as well as the audience for the Facebook broadcast. The band's rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley pointed to sections of the audience, where cameras would focus on them. Each section of fans would cheer loudly as they were being filmed, while the band would conjure the same antics that made them an attraction more three decades ago. The band is currently promoting their Sonic Boom album, released on October 6. The double disc, which also features a DVD, is their 19th release, was recorded at Conway Studios in Los Angeles.

"We were here for your moms and dads, and we will be here for you," Stanley told the audience in the close to sold-out arena. Parents who brought their children seemed reassured that somehow the world would be a better place because of this. Many brought offspring as young as three years old, dressed up like members of Kiss, in full costume and make-up, to pay homage to the band, famed for their imagery. Die-hard Kiss fans, ranging from adolescents to rockers in their forties attended the concert, dressed in full Kiss regalia. The band attracted a crowd that ranges into their fifties. Those who attended the concert not dressed up as someone in the band, showed up wearing either Kiss merchandising, conservative clothing, or rock and roll couture de rigueur of Los Angeles, a city that is arguably one of the rock and roll capitals of the world, not to mention home to Kiss member Gene Simmons. Last night's concert again proved that Kiss still has managed to retain its "Kiss Army," its dedicated legion of fans.

The ever merchandising Kiss has made last night's Los Angeles concert available for purchase as a double CD. For those who attended the Staples Arena show last night, the recording of the show was made available by purchasing a voucher, and picking up the first CD and the box at the concert. Then after registering online, the second CD with encores would be mailed to them. For those who went to the show, but did not make a purchase last night, and would like to buy the CD of the Staples Center concert on CD or MP3 format, it is now available online at a designated website. In addition to the live CDs, Concert Sticks, which are packaged in Kiss collector's boxes, are available immediately after each Kiss concert at Concert Online and/or official merchandise booths. USB sticks give fans live MP3s immediately after concerts. The company Concert Online teams with mobile audio recording studios and accompanies musical acts throughout their tours and record every show live. The resulting live recordings are split into individual tracks on-site, labeled, converted to high-quality MP3s (320 kbit/s) and copied to "Concert Sticks" (USB drives). These can also be purchased on the website.

Kiss, who have sold merchandising including action figures and their controversial, ready-for-burial Kiss coffins, have additional Kiss merchandise available at their online store.

In many ways, Kiss is the W.W.F. of rock and roll. Paul Stanley dresses as the "Starchild," bassist Gene Simmons is "The Demon," drummer Eric Singer is the Catman, and their guitarist, Tommy Thayer is the Spaceman. Kiss were dressed in their iconic outfits, comprised of silver and black spandex, leather and metal chains and studs, and extremely high platform shoes, with their faces covered in make-up, identifying them with their long-known characters.

Although the band has gone through some personnel changes, the song remains the same, and so does the show, which is what their fans want. The band, which is arguably most celebrated for their live stage shows and imagery, offered entertainment and spectacle. Kiss' iconic logo on stage flashed throughout the concert.

"Last night we played in Anaheim," Stanley announced to the audience, which resulted in loud booing. "Funny," Stanley quipped. "That's what they said about you. You're going to play for those Beverly Hills rock and rollers," joked Stanley, referring to last night's audience.

Simmons stuck his tongue out and wiggled it at the audience many times during the night, and sometimes he had fake blood dripping out of his mouth. Pyro that included green, yellow and orange flames shot up from the stage, flame pots erupted, as well as sparklers and firecrackers. At one point, Simmons carried a flaming torch, and appeared to breathe fire out of his mouth. In another effect, sparks appeared to shoot from Thayer's guitar. Fog emanated on stage, and masses of confetti fell from the ceiling onto the floor of the audience. The song "Black Diamond" ended with firecrackers. Elaborate video screens were split to show different vignettes of the band members at the same time, and included colorful graphics.

Drummer Eric Singer played while elevated on a large platform. Between two of the songs, Stanley urged fans to not drink and drive.

Stanley, who was the most animated member of the group last night, screeched at the audience, "Do you want to know how to end global warming?" The audience responded with a resounding "Yes." The guitarist then proclaimed, "If you came to see a band tell you how to stop global warming, or how to end world hunger, you came to see the wrong band. Tonight is to escape the world's problems." Stanley then assured the audience, "The world will be just as screwed up tomorrow," which drew massive laughter from the audience. This was the segue to the band's party anthem "I Wanna Rock And Roll All Nite." Stanley also managed to destroy a guitar on stage. Both its neck and its body ended up with fans in the first two rows.

At times, Stanley made gestures to the audience and pantomimed to get his points across, as he introduced the band's songs throughout the evening. At one point, he played the intro from Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven," an apparent joke. For those with a sharp ear, a bridge from The Who's song "Won't Get Fooled Again" was briefly vamped on guitar. The musical repertoire of the evening was vintage and new material, like "Modern Day Delilah." Part of the spectacle of the evening included Simmons and Thayer being simultaneously raised on each end of the stage to the top of the arena on platforms that were suspended in mid-air, while the platforms shot out massive flames.

One of the visual highlights during the concerts was when Stanley said to the audience, "I'm coming out there!" At this juncture, he was suspended on wires, and was flown over the audience, landing on a platform that was placed high above the crowd. It was located towards the back of the arena, which was dense with Kiss' film cameras for video. There was more spectacle when Stanley was flown over the audience, back to the stage.

As much as Kiss had pyro for its audience last night, the audience held a flame for Kiss.

Kiss Set List November 25 Staples Arena, Los Angeles, California

Let Me Go, Rock ‘N Roll
Hotter Than hell
Shock Me
Calling Dr. Love
Modern Day Delilah
Cold Gin
Say Yeah
100,000 Years
I Love It Loud
Black Diamond
I Wanna Rock And Roll All Night
Shout It Out Loud
Lick It Up
Love Gun
Detroit Rock City

To view a picture slidshow of KISS in L.A. click HERE.