Thursday, July 28, 2011

KISS cranks it up in high-energy spectacle

 Ted Shaw, The Windsor Star

From the shrill opening chords of Modern Day Delilah to the confetti storm that accompanied the closing number, Rock and Roll All Nite, Kiss proved again Wednesday at Caesars Windsor's Colosseum its rock circus is one smoking show.

The band that claims to be the hottest band in the world had the burners cranked up for Windsor.

Even lead singer Paul Stanley remarked at one point, "Never have two countries been closer in the spirit of rock 'n' roll than right here in Windsor and in Detroit Rock City."

Detroit Rock City, of course, is one of Kiss' enduring favourites and the crowd reacted with roars of approval.

The show is a spectacle from start to finish and the band doesn't leave you enough time to take a breath as it gears it up for 16 of its best-loved songs.

Gene Simmons, 61, the star of reality TV and the trademark of the Kiss phenomenon in his Demon makeup, continues to amaze with the energy of a 20-year-old.

Stanley, at 59, is no less amazing, as he takes charge from the time he hits the stage.

The much-younger and newer sidemen, Tommy Thayer on guitars and Eric Singer on drums, round out an act that never seems to age in terms of appeal and enthusiasm.

One longtime fan, Chatham's Rob Richardson, 34, saw his first Kiss show in 1986 with his older brother. Now he's passing the torch to his eight-yearold daughter, who couldn't join dad on this night because of the age restriction at the Colosseum.

"But she just loves them," said Richardson. She even has a drumstick courtesy Simmons at one of Kiss' outdoor shows in London.

Highlights Wednesday included Love Gun, a surefired hit with any audience, that features a machine-gun attack on the drums by Singer and Stanley's lead vocals.

It led into the Simmons solo, God of Thunder, which includes the stage blood oozing from his mouth and prominent displays of his axe-shaped bass.

Shock Me provided a solo slot for lead guitarist, Thayer, who has taken over for Kiss original, Ace Frehley. The exploding guitar and fierce battle with the drummer remains as a reminder of the old days.

Kiss has no shame when it comes to laying the pyrotechnics and effects on thick. It's like baroque heavy metal.

There were nods to their rock ancestors. Stanley played the opening notes of Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven in the intro to Black Diamond, while the encore performance of Lick It Up featured a middle section quote of The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again.