Last Night: KISS at the Honda Center

Last Night: KISS at the Honda Center

Better Than: watching Gene Simmons on his show Family Jewels

Live at the Honda Center
Live at the Honda Center
Andrew Youssef
KISS changed my life. My earliest memories of listening to music involve clutching my older brother's vinyl album of KISS Alive and wondering what it would have been to attend a KISS concert. My initial hopes were crushed when I was too young to go with my brother when he saw KISS and Bon Jovi in 1984. 

Celebrating thirty-five years since its initial release, KISS are wrapping up their Alive 35 tour as they play a good portion of their classic live album along with the incorporation of a few tracks from their new album Sonic Boom. It didn't take long for the pyro to explode as KISS opened with "Deuce."

KISS practically perfected and most likely patented their live show. Watching KISS live is an experience like no other. I was surrounded by people of all ages who seemingly knew the words to every song. The songs are just as big and outlandish as the costumes they wear, but only a band like KISS can pull it off.
As a KISS purist, I was initially skeptical about the replacement
of Ace Frehley with Tommy Thayer. These concerns quickly subsided after
watching an electrifying rendition of "Shock Me" with Tommy handling
the vocals and guitar riff effortlessly. Long before Will Ferrell asked
for more cowbell, "Calling Dr. Love" was answering the call with its
heavy cowbell intro.

One thing I never
expected was to hear Paul Stanley tell everyone to "get their butts to
Walmart" to purchase their new album Sonic Boom, prior to introducing
their new song "Modern Day Delilah." I wonder when is the last time any
member of KISS has stepped into a Walmart? Regardless, I thoroughly
enjoyed watching the different colors of flames explode, punctuating
the song.

"Cold Gin" is another KISS classic
song that had some levity when Gene Simmons used his trademark tongue
to lick Tommy Thayer's neck while he was playing guitar. I wonder where
Adam Lambert got the idea to be so "controversial"? Tommy later had his
moment to shine for a guitar solo as he fired "rockets" from the
headstock of his guitar that "caused" one of the lights to fall from
the stage.

The bloodletting of "I Love It
Loud" was unbeatable with Gene hoisted high above the stage singing and
stomping along. Paul pointed out the obvious when he mentioned that if
you came to the show expecting to end global warming or stop world
hunger, you were in the wrong place. The solution according to Paul was
to "Rock and Roll All Nite" and party every day. It was escapism at its
best.

A four song encore kicked off with the
twin guitar attack of "Shout It Out Loud". KISS even visited their
unmasked days by playing the 1983 classic "Lick It Up". I honestly had
no idea what the song meant back in the day but loved watching the
video. "Love Gun" and "Detroit Rock City" closed out their set for
memorable nostalgia filled night. 

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I was photographed in KISS makeup when I was 4.

Editor's Note: And here Andrew is, in all his adorable glory!

Random Detail: Standing behind me was a family holding their roughly 8 year old daughter with her face painted in Paul Stanley's makeup. 

By The Way:
KISS is streaming their show tonight at Staples Center on Facebook. Who
says you can't teach an old band how to use new social media?


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