August 30, 2012
Excerpts from a review by Sean Derrick.

Photo by Sean Derrick

The much anticipated combo tour of heavy metal icons Mötley Crüe and KISS made a stop Monday in St. Louis at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, playing to a packed house.

“The Tour”, as it is being called, is a co-headlining tour that is filled to excess from two bands that have nearly 70 years between them to show off. “The Tour” has anything and everything a solid rock show should have, and more.

With such a tough act to follow KISS was up to the challenge.

It’s hard to imagine why KISS has been passed up for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their career has spanned nearly 40 years, with 28 Gold Albums (more than any other American rock band), and they have influenced so many current artists including Metallica, Bon Jovi, Megadeth, Poison, Garth Brooks, and Mötley Crüe, among many, many others. It seems the RRHoF voters don’t take KISS seriously. But if they would actually see an entire KISS show they may think otherwise.

Making a grand entrance that started with a solid black curtain emblazoned with the KISS logo dropping with the iconic phrase “You wanted the best, you got the best…The hottest band in the world: KISS!” the band emerged on a platform lowered to the stage from the rafters as they stormed into “Detroit Rock City”.

Striking rock star poses and hamming it up for the photographers the band certainly knows how to perform. And while they may have tons of flames, explosions, lasers, rising platforms, fireworks, and other assorted pyro the band knows how to keep a party going with just their music too.

They are masters at combining the visual with the audio, like with bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons getting into his Demon character with such gusto that the blood spewing never gets old. He was then hoisted up to a small platform high in the rafters to sing the intense and broody “God of Thunder”.

Not to be outdone, guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley rode a rigging setup just above the fans’ outstretched arms to a spinning satellite stage that rose above the soundboard where he sang “Love Gun” to the adulating fans below.

With lead guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer each getting a chance to shine in the spotlight with “Shock Me” and “Black Diamond”, respectively, Simmons and Stanley aren’t afraid to share the spotlight.

They are truly a collective unit with a knack for playing a very tight set with a ton of eye pleasing visual effects. And after nearly 40 years they could probably play a show in their sleep, but the showmen inside them would never allow a phoned in performance.

KISS is set to release their 20th studio album in October called “Monster” and they performed the first single “Hell or Hallelujah” with Stanley commenting that he bought the single on iTunes “because I support the band”. Stanley also got a rise out of the audience as he harkened back to the bands early days playing in St. Louis for the first time in 1974 at the KSHE Kite Fly, as well as the Kiel Auditorium and the Checkerdome.

With such longevity from two top bands with reputations for spectacular live shows, other acts are bound to check them out. On Monday Lajon Witherspoon, lead singer of Sevendust, was spotted taking in the sights. Monday night proved the old guard can teach the new dogs some wise old tricks.