Kiss: Live Last Night

kissGene Simmons and rock's most famous tongue. (All photos by Richard Lipski/TWP)

Live Last Night

By Dave McKenna

That old saw about selling ice boxes to Eskimos would be no sweat for Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. These guys are still selling concert tickets to the same folks who paid to see Kiss' farewell shows a decade ago.

To be fair, the crowd at the Verizon Center on Tuesday, though only about half-filling the big arena, proved that there's still demand for what Kiss supplies. There were old guard Kiss Army types like Jerry Frey, 47, who drove down from York, Pa., wearing a shirt that said "Kiss Farewell Tour." Frey said he bought the shirt in 2000, at one of the many Kiss shows he's seen since adolescence. "They won't quit, and I don't want them to quit," Frey said.

(Classic tunes and the same old stunts -- as it should be -- after the jump.)

kiss

And new recruits, too. On the concourse before the set began, Tuomas Talvitie, 16, of Springfield, Va., posed for pictures with three buddies, all properly facepainted for their first Kiss show. Talvitie, colored up like Simmons, said he discovered Kiss a few years ago from an advertisement stuck to a drum kit his big sister bought, and got hooked. Asked to explain the appeal of a band that's been around so long -- Simmons has codpieces twice as old as Talvitie -- the teen said, "The songs aren't complicated. It's just great rock and roll."

On this night, Kiss delivered just what its fans, young or old, should expect. The current tour is called "Kiss Alive/35," which is ostensibly a commemoration of the anniversary of the release of "Kiss Alive," the band's breakthrough album. That LP, however, was really released in 1975, so expect the tour to go another year at least.

Regardless, the set was heavy with classic tunes and, at least as importantly, the same ol' stunts.

Simmons spit fire for "Hotter Than Hell," then spit blood during "I Love It Loud." Stanley sailed to the back of the arena on a trapeze-like contraption for "Love Gun." Though one gets the feeling Stanley yells pretty much the same things every night no matter the town, he did tailor his gab a tad before the early nugget "Let Me Go Rock and Roll" by reminding folks that before "Alive" broke Kiss would play the Bayou, the smallish and long-dead Georgetown rock club.

Guitarist Tommy Thayer, sitting in for original member Ace Frehley, who was fired by Simmons and Stanley probably for good some years back, went through Frehley's old flaming guitar trick. Drummer Eric Singer filled in for similarly deposed Peter Criss on vocals during "Black Diamond." Among the few non-classics in the two-hour set: "Modern Day Delilah," the single from Kiss' most recent release, "Sonic Boom." World War wins have been celebrated with less confetti than the amount thrown at the fans during "Rock and Roll All Nite."

The crowd ate up all that was served, and when it was over they wanted more. "They're better than ever," said Frey, his old t-shirt wet with sweat. Talvitie and his buddies, who seemed to know every word and danced in and out of the aisles all night, said they plan to start a band soon. They've already agreed that they'll start out playing all Kiss songs.

By David Malitz |  October 14, 2009; 4:30 PM ET Live Last Night
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Comments

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A bit of a fluff review, Kiss sounded great and gave a solid performance. You can never go wrong with a Kiss concert. Plus, there is no way the arena was half full.

Posted by: jazzy5 | October 14, 2009 7:31 PM

Agreed I was there and other than some nose bleed seats it was packed! They never let their fans down We want 35 years of Kiss and we got it!

Posted by: kisslives | October 14, 2009 8:52 PM

KISS was alive last night!! They played a lot of old Klassics and had a new stage and outfits. Some of the theatrical effects were predictably the same, but they also had many new surprises!
The house was more than "half full" for sure. My only real complaint was that there was so much bass and drums, that I really strained at times to really hear Tommy Thayer's guitar during his solos. Bad sound boarding by the crew. His guitar never really "punched" through, and his talent, in my opinion, was not heard through the deep tones.

Posted by: wlpaul1 | October 14, 2009 11:08 PM

I was there and it is an injustice to to mention Buck Cherry. They sounded great and put on a terrific performance. Is one line in the review too much to ask for the opening act?

I think the Verizon Center was more than 3/4 full and the seats never emptied out until the end.

A great show by some legends. I've seen KISS in 96, 2000, and tues and felt tuesday was the best show. I am glad my 9 and 10 year olds got to witness the spectical!

Posted by: xsspeedchoppers | October 15, 2009 10:06 PM

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