September 23, 2010
By Doug Fox - Daily Herald

One by one, rock fans at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Wednesday night could add up the common denominators of virtually any Kiss concert.

Completely over-the-top grand entrance? Literally. Gene Simmons (bass), Paul Stanley (guitar) and Tommy Thayer (guitar) appeared on a platform at the top of the stage above the already elevated kit of drummer Eric Singer. The conveyor platform rotated forward as the band played "Modern Day Delilah," eventually depositing the threesome at the front of the stage.

Tongue wagging? Absolutely. Simmons's extremely long tongue might as well draw a paycheck as the fifth member of Kiss. The appendage is as big a part of Kiss lore as makeup and costumes. The "Fear Factor" moment of the night occurred during "Cold Gin," when Simmons unfurled his tongue and licked the bottom of Thayer's chin several times during his guitar solo. Yikes! One shudders to think how big that thing actually was on video board close-ups.

A Stanley fly-by? Naturally. Stanley rode a zip line out above the front section of the audience to an elevated platform in the middle of the crowd. The circular perch rotated clockwise while Stanley delivered the lead vocals to "I was Made for Lovin' You."

Fire breathing and blood-spitting? C'mon ... Kiss would be forced to refund portions of the price of admission were these obligatory Simmons moments somehow neglected. As usual, the fire stunt came at the end of "Firehouse" and the blood-letting preceded "I Like it Loud." The latter song featured Simmons being ripped off the stage via overhead cables, which lifted him to a spot high above the stage where he handled his lead vocals for the duration of the tune.

Gasp-inducing pyrotechnics? Cheesy song introductions? Fans in Kiss regalia and facepaint? All present and accounted for.

Kiss leading a cast of thousands in the Pledge of Allegiance? OK, now there's something that was completely unexpected. That occurred between songs in an extended encore segment as Kiss brought out representatives from the CSRA Wounded Warrior Care Project and presented them with a check for $458,652. The band is donating $1 from every ticket sold during this "Hottest Show on Earth" tour. Stanley then led the audience in a spirited recital of the Pledge of Allegiance.

"Take it from some people who have traveled all over the world and know," said Stanley. "This is the greatest country on Earth."

Some other highlights Wednesday included "Say Yeah," one of three songs the band played off its latest album, "Sonic Boom;" "Shock Me," featuring Thayer on lead vocals; "Crazy Crazy Night," a song which Stanley said the band hasn't played in a long time; and "Black Diamond," which started out with Stanley riffing on Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" before Singer took over lead vocals. Other setlist standards included "Deuce," "Calling Dr. Love," "100,000 Years" and "Love Gun."

The pace really picked up at the end as the band unleashed all its biggest hits, starting off with main-set closer, "Detroit Rock City." Stanley truthfully stated that Kiss was not going to handle its encores like other bands, who play one song and leave, then return to play another song and leave.

"What you deserve is the longest encore you have ever heard," Stanley told the crowd.

The band delivered on that promise as Kiss proceeded to play a six-song, 35-minute extra session that opened with the ballad "Beth" and closed with its biggest anthem, "Rock and Roll All Nite."

Which leads to the final given of any Kiss concert.

A good time had by all? Affirmative.