July 19, 2011

Photos: Chris Young/The State Journal-Register

Rock, blood, fire. The essential ingredients for a good time — Kiss style — were in ample supply Monday night at the Prairie Capital Convention Center.

The self-proclaimed “hottest band in the world” returned to Springfield for the first time in more than 18 years.

“Somebody was saying they thought we’d never come here,” Paul Stanley told the crowd of 6,238. “Springfield, let me tell you something: we passed over Chicago to come here.”

All the trademark elements of a Kiss show were there: the black and white makeup, the elaborate costumes, the over-the-top production elements, Gene Simmons breathing fire and spitting blood.

The band played in front of one of the most insane concert sets to come through Springfield in years. It made even the biggest Illinois State Fair Grandstand show look more like a cover band headlining a beer tent with borrowed wedding DJ equipment.

Near the ceiling was a pair of giant video screens flanking the classic light-up Kiss sign. Below that, a two-story wall of amps, guitar speakers, video screens and bass speakers spanned the width of the stage on either side of the drum platform.

Everywhere you looked were flashing lights — above the stage, on either side and embedded in the stage itself. Then there were the pyrotechnic effects — ranging from fireworks to fountains of flame as tall as a man in platform shoes.

When the flames would activate, the rush of heat was startling and immediate, even from my seat about 100 feet away. But it was also effective, underlining key moments like the title phrase in “Love Gun” and ending that song’s distinctive triplet beat with pulsed explosions rather than drum beats.

The band played for an hour and 55 minutes, drawing most heavily on hits from early albums “Kiss” (1974) and “Destroyer” (1976).

Set List

1. Modern Day Delilah
2. Cold Gin
3. Let Me Go, Rock ’n’ Roll
4. Firehouse
5. Say Yeah
6. Deuce
7. Do You Love Me?
8. Calling Dr. Love
9. Shock Me
10. I Love It Loud
11. Love Gun
12. God of Thunder
13. Black Diamond
14. Detroit Rock City

15. Beth
16. Lick It Up
17. Shout It Out Loud
18. Rock and Roll All Nite