In one month, Gene Simmons will turn 67. His KISS bandmate Paul Stanley isn’t far behind at 64. In other words, it isn’t 1977 anymore.
But 39 years after they played a show at Henry Levitt Arena that people still talk about, there they were, on stage at Intrust Bank Arena, spitting blood and jumping around in platform boots with the same youthful enthusiasm that made them famous.
Maybe it’s the makeup.
The patriotism-fueled “Freedom to Rock” tour stopped in Wichita on Monday night and played for a crowd of 8,000.
“You wanted the best and you got the best! The hottest band in the world… KISS!” Those lines have been repeated before their shows for 40 years and the band that invented the gargantuan rock show made an entrance like only they can. Behind a falling black curtain, three band members, Simmons, Stanley and guitarist Tommy Thayer, stood on a riser shrouded in fog. The letters K-I-S-S flashed behind them. The opening notes of “Detroit Rock City,” arguably their biggest hit, pulsed straight into a pyrotechnics blast that would have only surprised a first-time KISS concert attendee.
During the second number, the appropriately titled “Deuce,” Stanley sat down on the edge of the stage, nearly knocking a photographer in the head with his platform boots, but once positioned, hammed it up for the assembled photographers like an excited kid.