On Monday, KISS brought their tour through Western, NY when they invaded the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester. This was the first time KISS has played Rochester since 1998 (though they have played Darien Lake a handful of times in between).
The crowds gathered well before doors opened in anticipation of the evenings performance from the self-proclaimed "Hottest Band in the World." The show was kicked off by a lively and highly entertaining performance from The Dead Daisies. The Daisies are fronted by John Corabi on vocals (of Mötley Crüe fame, having fronted their 1994 self-titled album) and consist of an all-star lineup of musicians such as Doug Aldrich and Marco Mendoza. As a long-time fan of the bands many of these men have played with, this set was especially fun to experience. If you showed up late, you had already missed a big part of the show!
Shortly after 9pm, KISS took the stage as they opened their set with "Detroit Rock City," at which point the crowd was on their feet for the remainder of the evening. They moved straight through classics "Deuce" and "Shout It Out Loud." As they rounded out the opening few numbers, they slowed things down for Gene Simmons' famous bass solo, consisting of his classic blood spitting routing, before he flew up into the rafters to perform "God Of Thunder." The band followed this up with a more recent classic, the title track off of their 1998 reunion album "Psycho Circus." For one, I'm glad this album isn't entirely overlooked (as both recent efforts Monster and Sonic Boom were). Next up came one of the most exciting parts of the show (to this fan, at least), when the band broke into the Tommy Thayer-led "Shock Me," complete with the rocket-firing guitar and all.
As a fan of original guitarist Ace Frehley, I can honestly say that, while seeing Tommy and Eric wearing the Spaceman and Catman attire is a bit jarring at first, they both do the legacy extremely proud. If you are holding out for the next KISS reunion, don't wait. While 2016 has shown us that anything is possible, this lineup is exceptional and sure to please any fan.
Further into the set, the band pulled out a few of their 80's classics as they played both "Lick It Up," followed immediately by "War Machine" Gene brought out the fire (also commonly used when they perform "Firehouse").
As KISS approached the close of their main set, Paul Stanley flew out over the heads of the audience to land at the back of the arena to perform "Love Gun" and "Black Diamond," complete with his acoustic intro. As they closed out the song, the band left the stage briefly as the crowd eagerly chanted for their return. Sure enough, they came back to give us the Eric Singer-led hit "Beth."
It was at this point, that KISS brought up several armed services veterans and stated their dedication to the men and women in uniform, as they symbolically handed over a giant check for $150,000 to this tour's cause. They could have stopped there, and I think any patriotic fan in attendance would have been moved. They weren't done though, far from it. Paul Stanley led the crowd through the Pledge of Allegance and then immediately went into a band performance of the "Star Spangled Banner." This was an incredibly refreshing and timely moment, when we have NFL quarterbacks (ok, only one) deciding to sit out the national anthem.
At this point, the fans had been entertained by a riveting set of classics (with a staggering six tracks off of the bands famous Destroyer album), but there is no way anyone was going home before the grand finale. Any veteran KISS concert-goer knows these shows only close one way, with a bombastic performance of "Rock And Roll All Nite," complete with massive explosions of confetti and the biggest sing-along the town has seen since, probably, 1998.
KISS is still every bit the spectacle you hope to see when heading off to one of their shows. The fact that this band has been performing, with this kind of energy, since the early 1970's is simply astonishing. If you haven't seen them, or it's been a while; go check them out live. They're one of the all-time greats, and you just never know how many more tours you'll get the chance to "Rock And Roll All Nite."
Setlist: KISS - August 29th, 2016: Blue Cross Arena - Rochester, NY
1. Detroit Rock City
3. Shout It Out Loud
4. Do You Love Me
5. I Love It Loud
6. Flaming Youth
7. God Of Thunder
8. Psycho Circus
9. Shock Me
10. Cold Gin
11. Lick It Up
12. War Machine
13. Love Gun
14. Black Diamond
16. Star Spangled Banner
17. Rock And Roll All Night
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