SUPERSTARS RULE EXPLOSIVE SHOW
July 12, 2009
By Dalson Chen

"All right, Caesars Windsor! You wanted the best, you got the best! The hottest band in the world: KISS!"

So began a night of big riffs, big explosions and total commitment when rock superheroes ruled the Colosseum stage on Saturday night.

I’ll say that last bit again because it bears repeating: Total commitment.

Behind the KISS spectacle (and it is indeed a spectacle beyond spectacles) is a mentality to put on the best damn show possible.

It’s expensive, uninhibited, loud and entertaining. No irony involved. No shoe-gazing cynicism. They come to rock your butt, so your butt will be rocked.

From the opening riffs of Deuce to the blazing finale of Detroit Rock City, there was never a moment in the two-hour extravaganza that any KISS member was not “on.”

This is a band that understands they don't just play music; They perform.

Frontman Paul Stanley was a revelation, moving with the energy and athleticism of a man half his age (unbelievably, he turned 57 this year).

He shimmied. He gyrated. He jumped and landed with feline grace while shod in platform boots. He pouted and wiggled. He slapped his own butt like he was presenting a prize.

No less of a spotlight was cast on the other members. Bassist Gene Simmons wagged his legendary tongue, breathed fire, belched blood and levitated onto scaffolding.

Lead guitarist Tommy Thayer (who replaced Ace Frehley as “Spaceman” in 2002) capped an extended virtuoso solo with the opening notes to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony — then launched fireworks from his instrument’s headstock.

Drummer Eric Singer (Peter Criss’s replacement as “Catman” since 2004) urged the crowd to clap along to his own sprawling drum solo, in which his massive kit rose on a platform 30 feet above the stage.

The set list had something for KISS fans of every stripe: Hard-riffing vintage tracks from the era of KISS Alive filled the first portion of the show, while the encore portion (which lasted nearly as long) was packed full of well-known shout-along hits: Rock and Roll All Nite, Lick It Up, I Love It Loud, and I Was Made For Lovin’ You.

At one point in the encore, there was a scripted moment where the band brought a camera man on stage to direct his lens into the audience.

The screens that previously showed KISS in performance now showed their adoring public.

Paul Stanley grinned in amazement, then asked the crowd to go crazy so that he and his bandmates could pose for a photograph in front of them. A souvenir of Windsor.

“We’re coming back in October,” Stanley promised.

The message was simple: You are a part of this. You make KISS great. KISS loves you.