March 17, 2011
Reviews of KISS' RodeoHouston show Tuesday night continue to roll in. Here are excerpts from some Houston-area publications:


Over the past 70 years Houston's annual rodeo has welcomed rock acts from Elvis Presley to Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Earlier this week Kid Rock nearly blew the Reliant Stadium retractable roof open with a performance that may have looked a little country, but was definitely rock n' roll.

Never, however, has any band stepped onto the mobile rodeo stage covered in white make-up, sweat, brimstone and sensuality like American glam metal icons KISS did Tuesday night.

"How you doing, Houston?," shrieked KISS lead singer Paul Stanley as he introduced a one hour, 12-song set of glam metal the likes of which RodeoHouston had never seen...

I had my doubts that a band known for a stage arsenal of pyrotechnics and wires that allowed Stanley and Simmons to fly around the stage like kabuki bats could be scaled down for rodeo and still work. Their ability to unleash hell on stage with smoke, fire, flaming projectiles and Simmons' disgustingly long blood-spitting tongue is part of what makes a KISS show a KISS show.

It did.

In addition to tighter, energized versions of KISS standards like "Detroit Rock City," the reinvigorated musicians brought back lesser-known (but no less loved) favorites... Even more impressive, they have recorded new material, like two-year old album Sonic Boom, that has enhanced their discography. Another new KISS album is expected later this year.

Together for 37 years, KISS was a rock radio hit machine throughout the '70s and '80s but took much of the '90s off. Since reuniting a little more than a decade ago they have been quite businesslike. In fact something quite unexpected has happened in recent years: They started caring about the music again.

After making the tough decisions to part ways with original (but troubled) guitarist Ace Frehley and contentious drummer Peter Criss in favor of Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, respectively, things really started clicking into place for the reunited KISS.

The latter-day KISS has left old vices behind and concentrates solely on entertaining. This new direction made them a perfect, yet unlikely fit for RodeoHouston.


KISS, by now, is as warm and familiar to fans as a (sparkly) bathrobe... and the KISS army was out in force. Old-school fans and grade-schoolers in full makeup populated the crowd of more than 72,000, a big number for a weekday show, even during spring break. Stage limitations cut out much of the band's extravagant stage show, which is a large part of the KISS experience. But they did what they could with pyro and fireworks, which punctuated every song.

Photo by Karen Warren for the Houston Chronicle.