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Kiss blows minds and ears

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A good friend is the biggest Kiss fan in the world, so he was so shocked to hear I had never seen the classic glam rockers before that he bought my $110 ticket. I was blown away, literally as I probably got a suntan from all of the fireworks going off in a sweltering Enmax Centre, July 10, where Kiss held court for a close to capacity crowd.
Nobody goes into a Kiss show expecting to learn about the meaning of life or the solutions to the world’s problems, you go to escape from your problems into a world of fantasy, sex, drugs, rock and roll, massive riffs, pyrotechnics, flashing lights and shout along choruses. In which case, Kiss delivered in spades. They know what their fans want and gleefully give it to them.

 After an energetic set by popular Jacksonville, Florida alternative rockers Shinedown, Kiss guitarist/ lead vocalist Paul Stanley bellowed “ You want the best, well you’ve got the best,” then crashed into “Psycho Circus,” the title track from the  CD of the same name they released a few years back.
 Eric Singer bashed away on his double bass drum kit, each emblazoned with “Kiss” in flashing lights and sang Black Diamond” to bring the show to a thunderous close.
 Lead guitarist Tommy Thayer nailed Ace Frehley’s bluesy solos and shot fireworks out of the end of his guitar. Hulking bassist Gene Simmons looked menacing, wagged his massive tongue at the audience and spat blood.

Co-consummate frontman Paul Stanley curried the crowd’s favour by getting them to boo the other cities they played and told them how much he loved playing Lethbridge. And though you know he said the same thing the night before in another city, you got the feeling that he really meant it.

 Their set included most of their big hits, some gritty obscurities from the ’70s, and touched on their more inspirational ’80s moments with a sparkling  “Heaven’s On Fire,” which, of course featured fireworks blowing up in time to Singer’s massive drum beats as well as “Lick It Up.”

Some of the highlights  were “God of Thunder ” featuring Gene being taken up to the rafters on a jump harness, dripping with sweat and fake blood to growl out  “God of Thunder.”
“Love Gun” featured Paul Stanley flying over the audience to sing on a platform set high about the sound board. I enjoyed the new single. “Hell or Hallelujah” which was full of big riffs  from their latest CD “Monster,” as well as “Sonic Boom” from another recent CD.

“You aren’t ready to go home yet are you,”  Stanley shouted, after playing their big hit “Rock and Roll All Night ,” which featured a forest’s worth of confetti being shot onto the crowd from cannons, as they crashed into the first encore song “I Was Made For Loving You” which featured one of several beautiful moments of harmonized guitar leads.
 Everybody got to solo. Thayer knocked off a few bars of “O Canada” in the midst of his bluesy solo.

 Singer’s drum solo was short and  sweet,” while Simmons shone on “God of Thunder,” featuring rumbling, cacophonic bass.
They ended the show with Singer singing “Black Diamond,” and the night was over.
  “Kiss Loves You Lethbridge” flashed in 50 foot lights across a massive video screen, which before the show flashed ads for, of all things, a KISS wedding chapel. Throughout the show it had been focusing on close ups of band members and excited fans, many of them decked out in Kiss merch and makeup throughout the show. And though the screen probably read the same thing in every other city they played, you got the feeling they meant it.

Shinedown opened up with a close to an hour long set heavy on the hits (most of which  the DJs never name)  and way too heavy on the bass, which are played a lot on modern rock radio.
 They sounded like a cross between Econoline Crush and Buckcherry and played like they’ve been filling arenas for years, which they have.
 “ This is your show,” shouted lead singer Brent Smith.

 Their music was heavy on the angst, but also on hard rocking riffs, searing solos and impressive vocal melodies.
 They slowed things down by taking a brief break before the lead guitarist and singer wound things down with a pretty acoustic version of Lynard Skynard’s “Simple Man,” which had the audience singing along.

“I’ll Follow You” was one of the quieter tracks, which is only comparatively speaking as the seat was heavy on eardrum shattering, thundering bass.
  The bassist was impressive though, alternating between bass, acoustic guitar and keyboards, while jumping across the massive stage while trying not to crash into the rest of the band doing the same.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 July 2013 15:24 )  
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