You wanted the best, you got mediocre at best. The most redundant band in the world- KISS.
I first saw them in 2000 during their Farewell Tour. I remember it so vividly. I was sixteen and I believed every word they said. Paul Stanley promised to play all night. I thought I was going to be out until four in the morning considering they had such a large back catalogue. Paul Stanley told us we were the best city Canada had to offer. He made me feel special. I even bought the shirt that said "Legends Never Die."
I was taken advantage of by Paul Stabley and Gene Simmons. I should not be here 13 years later doing a review on a show for a tour in support of their most recent album Monster. I have only heard one song from that collection, and I can't say I remember it, or even care. What gets me is that Psycho Circus was such a good album. I don't anticipate a lot of support to that comment from anyone my senior, but there are a handful of us who grew up around that time and hearing their new album represented on the radio next to Marilyn Manson's Dope Show, Rob Zombie's Dragula and even Black Sabbath's newest single out at the time made it the perfect time where the 70's finally made the bridge to modern times and became relevant again.
Psycho Circus did not try to sound like the 70's. It picked up where they left off from their other 90's efforts, but with much more emphasis on their style. It was a return to make up. The kings of the rock show were coming back to make a statement, to show up the Mansons and Zombies.
It was short lived. Shortly after the farewell tour, new dates started popping up, and worse yet, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley were coming and going. In their place was Eric Signer and Tommy Thayer waiting for their chance to don the makeup themselves. Then the curtain fell, and we saw the wizards for what they really were. Aside from the vocals, Ace and Peter had next to nothing to do with the recording of Psycho Circus. Kiss then showed their true colours, they never left. Instead of laying the band and it's legacy to rest in a Kiss Kasket, they took a hiatus, and then showed up in the late 2000's with new material after some summer touring.
Going in to this show I knew I was going to get a retread of the same old from before. They operate on pure gimmick. This high calorie band didn't even bring their A game. It is a sad day when Gene Simmons is the best singer on stage. Paul's vocals were rough and he lacked the range of his heyday. Granted, I will accept that maybe he was sick. He sounded hoarse and probably needed a night off. Eric Singer's drums were out of tune, the snare sounded like a tin can filled with foam. Tommy Thayer's tone was weak and he brought no personality to the table.
They ran through a typical greatest hits style show that of course looked better than any other show I have seen this year, but easily sounded the worst. Anyone who says the show was amazing is the exact clientele this band was hoping to hit: the fraction of society that allows nostalgia to provide a filter to their recollection of certain events.
Kiss still has something to offer that I think NO band could. With so many of these "experience" tributes that go around, Kiss could easily out-do them all. They have a wide variety of music that acts as a time capsule for pretty much any era. They could hire top notch musicians and put together a stage spectacle that could blow all those other tribute acts away. The best part is that Stanley and Simmons could over see each and every aspect and operate as the slick businessmen they are.
While the traveling circus version of Kiss is playing and selling out arenas, Stanley and Simmons could then drop the whole visual aspect of their band, and tour as Kiss the band. No one would care who joined them, and they could draw from all points of their career. They could write new songs from the heart. They can be themselves. Kiss spent as much time making music out of costume as they did in costume. The fact that they think they need to do this big scale production shows how out of touch they are. Their fans will love them without makeup. They will love even more a bigger scale spectacle that is not watered down by the limitations of old men who are no longer hungry.
Openers Shinedown were the stand outs for me. I only knew a handful of songs from their brief set, but every moment I enjoyed. Their vocalist has an incredible range. He reminds me of Sebastian Bach, not in tonal quality or range per se, but in his ability to over-sing without it being too much. These boys were the top-notch professionals Kiss likely once-were.