Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: After 40 years, KISS Still Knows How To Rock


Reviewing a KISS show isn’t the easiest gig in the world. Standard criteria one might use for critiquing a concert doesn’t really apply here, after all.

A KISS show is about the stage theatrics, first and foremost, with the actual music placing a fairly distant second. So, to be serious about trying to analyze a KISS show from an objective level, it’s imperative to become completely immersed in the experience, and view it as a living, (fire) breathing collective organism that all 6,500 fans at Saskatoon’s Credit Union Centre on Sunday got to be a part of for a single night. This ain’t a concert folks. It’s a circus set to music.

So does it all hold up well in 2013? This is the same act KISS has been parading onto the stage since they slapped on the greasepaint in 1973. This became apparent very early into the show, as there didn’t seem to be much, if any, deviation from what we’ve grown used to over the last 40 years. For their part, KISS did what they were paid handsomely to do: they left it all on the stage, both real blood and fake. It’s pretty foolish to expect a high level of musicianship from a band like this, but it was quite surprising how free the concert was of sloppy-joe playing from any member of the group. Granted, it’s not the most difficult music to replicate live, but there were no real noticeable clumsy riffs or missed cues to be found for the entire two hour set. Love Gun was probably the best moment of the night from a strictly musical standpoint, as the band barrelled through the track with a ferocity that seemed to actually catch the audience off guard (in a good way). War Machine also brought the house down.

But it’s not likely that any sonic aspects existed as a true highlight of any fan’s experience at the concert. It’s also safe to say nobody actually used their seat at any point during the show. There was always something to be watching, whether it was Paul Stanley flying over the crowd onto a suspended platform, or guitar solos from 30 feet in the air. And it felt oddly ceremonial to actually see Gene Simmons blow fire off a sword and hurl it into the ground.

Theatrics aside, KISS showed the worth of being consummate professionals. They impressively displayed an acute understanding of what the audience wanted and needed. At no point, even during the lesser-known newer material, did the band forget what it came here for: to entertain and launch fire into our lives. KISS may be old and way past the era that made them household names, but that makeup serves as fully-functioning formaldehyde.

Things change around them but they always seem to stay the same. At the end of the day they were just four old dudes in makeup trying very hard to give their fans a fun Sunday night. And those in attendance were all the better for it.

See photos HERE: http://bit.ly/12tiJDa