Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Concert Review: KISS At The Molson Amphitheatre

 www.postcity.com | Image: Terry Wilson/KISSOnline

For a rock ‘n’ roll fan, a Kiss concert is about as close as you can get to a sure thing in live music. That’s why it was no surprise that the legendary foursome absolutely rocked the house at the Molson Amphitheatre on Friday night with their patented blend of pyrotechnic spectacle and explosive sound.

While Justin Bieber was on stage just a few blocks away for the second of his two all-sizzle, no-steak performances at the ACC, Gene Simmons and co. served up a reminder that you can still have style without sacrificing substance. Yes, Gene took flight on several occasions with the assistance of a harness, and flashy sparks put an exclamation mark the band’s 19-song set. But there was also no shortage of awe-inspiring guitar riffs and even a few sit-up-and-take-notice high notes from the aging rock gods.

There wasn’t much surprise packed into the band’s near-two hour set (the Ottawa Citizen had previously called the show “predictable”), but sometimes the best shows deliver what those on hand have come to expect. Kiss did everything they could to prevent any low points in the action-packed performance, serving up “Shout It Out Loud” early on and using special effects to keep things amped-up through a string of less-recognizable tracks. Gene introduced some fire-breathing to the proceedings during “War Machine” before taking flight and spitting blood during “God of Thunder,” while an extended guitar solo transitioned into a hair-raising electric take on “O Canada.”

From there, the band ramped up towards a stirring conclusion that included “Detroit Rock City,” “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” and, of course, “Rock and Roll All Nite.” Kiss wasn’t in town to promote songs off a new album or to try and reinvent themselves or even to tweak their most recognizable hits — this was a show about creating a raucous party vibe around some ear-splitting music and cool stunts.

Of course, as with any Kiss show, the on-stage activities were only part of the fun. The Kiss army was out in full force at the Amp, with some costumes in the crowd even more ostentatious than those of the four band members. And those who weren’t clad in costume? Well, they were busy taking pictures with the Gene/Paul/Eric/Tommy lookalikes in the crowd.

It quickly became clear on Friday night that to analyze the sound or the show’s flow would be to miss the point. More than musicians, Kiss are performers — and on this night, they brought the entertainment.