Wednesday, July 31, 2013

KISS At Bell Center – Montreal Live Review – Flawless Performance!

From: New York City
Where: Bell Center, Montreal, QC
When: Monday, July 29th 2013


Style: Rock N’ Roll

Crowd: The streets of Montreal were alive with fans of all ages. From the motley looking usual suspects that you’d expect to find at a rock show, to people that appeared to have just arrived from law offices and operating theaters, many with young children by their sides. Few bands gather a crowd as diverse as KISS does. Many of them had their faces painted courtesy of CHOM 97.7 FM’s tent, situated just in front of the ticket office on Avenue Des Canadiens de Montreal, while others lined up to pledge allegiance to the KISS army.

Memorable Song: I got a kick out of “Black Diamond” for the sheer amusement of seeing purple lights reflecting onto the crowd from a giant disco ball. It made me think of the Kiss-backed movie, “Detroit Rock City”, where they clearly mock disco music. At this point, Stanley informed the crowd that “This is usually the end of the show but what do you say we keep on going?”. As if anybody was going to refuse such an offer. Speaking of “Detroit Rock City”, it was the next song to be performed and was the beginning to a raucous end of their set. During the track, a video of what I believe was meant to be an old Dodge Challenger soaring around the now-abandoned streets of Detroit was displayed on the massive screen behind the band. The audience responded by jumping to their feet and clapping in unison, with hands held high above their heads.

Memorable Moment: Paul Stanley began to proclaim his love for the city of Montreal – which he probably does for every city the band plays in – and promised to join the audience if they chanted his name. They did so on three occasions and then, as the drums began to beat out the introduction to “Love Gun”, Stanley soared out over the audience on a zip-line towards a small stage in the middle of the floor. He remained there for the entire song, on a small revolving circular platform.

Comments: “You wanted the best, you got the best!” bellowed the announcer as Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer – the legendary KISS – took to the stage of the Bell Center this past Monday night. They wasted no time, diving straight in with “Psycho Circus”, the debut track from 1998’s album of the same name. The song is lyrically perfect for getting a concert underway, with a chorus that goes “You’re in the psycho circus and I say welcome to the show!” I counted eight individual bursts of pyrotechnics in the opening song alone, and that was just the beginning of a night full of fire balls and pop charges. Next up was a classic track, “Shout It Out Loud” which already had the audience fist pumping and singing along. I scanned the arena and saw very few seats uninhabited – not including the two sections that were closed off at the rear, directly facing the stage. Above the stage, a huge metal spider loomed, and began to move its eight arms about as it was slowly lowered towards the band.

Next up was “Let Me Go, Rock N’ Roll” and the first glance at Gene Simmons monster tongue, waging wildly to the wind. Things slowed down a tad for the next few songs; “I Love It loud”, “Hell Or Hellelujah” off the bands newest effort, “Monster”. The spider then descended again for “War Machine”, which ended with Gene Simmons walking out on stage with a flaming sword that he used to breathe fire with. These guys sure love their pyro! That was followed up with “Heaven’s On Fire”, “Calling Dr. Love” , “Say Yeah” and “Shock Me/Outta This World” before venturing into a guitar solo by Tommy Thayer and later joined by drummer Eric Singer. At this point, the drums began to smoke and rise from the floor on some sort of scissor lift. Simultaneously, the small area where Thayer was stood reviled itself to be on a crane and the duo were hoisted skywards as they rocked out. Thayer’s solo included the first few bars of Canada’s nation anthem, to roaring applause. To conclude the solo portion of the show, Singer pulled out a bazooka and fired off another pyro charge.

Gene Simmons appeared on stage after a very brief moment of total darkness, basking in green incandescent light, wielding his famous Axe-shaped bass guitar in hand. He played his own solo, while spitting blood and again whipping out that massive tongue of his. He then levitated up onto the spider and began to play “God Of Thunder” from high above. He returned to the stage for a rendition of “Lick It Up”.

The final two tracks of the night were “I Was made For Lovin’ You” followed by “Rock N’ Roll All Nite” (poor bastards can’t spell, it seems) which included a shower of glittering confetti before a barrage of fireworks befell the audience, as Gene and Thayer rose once more on their little platforms whilst Stanley smashed his guitar to pieces on the stage below – indicating that there wouldn’t be an encore tonight, ladies and germs!

There’s something to be said for bands that are able to survive forty years together and still fill arenas. Even though mastermind Gene Simmons has exploited every possible avenue to generate revenue from his bands namesake, I still have a massive amount of respect for them. Sure, they probably cheapened their image with all the comic books, action figures, novels, movies, cartoons…wedding chapels, cruises and wine (!!) but the fact remains that these boys changed the face of rock n’ roll for good and for that, I tilt my hat.

See photos HERE: