November 18, 2012
Excerpts from story by Osmar Paul
Photo by Léo Patel
Translated from Portuguese for KISSonline by Jill Cataldo

The class began at 9:30pm this Saturday the 17th The class was packed with 25 thousand students, thirsty for rock. The teachers were punctual. Masters of ceremonies with almost 40 years of experience, the members of KISS had difficulty controlling the rowdy, noisy class assembled in Anhembi in Sao Paulo.

With the responsibility to present followers everything that a rock spectacle must have, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer prepared a playful lesson. The first chapter of the lesson came with "Detroit Rock City." Various themes of rock were presented: fire eating, fireworks, high resolution screens, columns of amplifiers, and of course the legendary masks of The Starchild, The Demon, The Spaceman and Catman. In catharsis, the audience alternated indecisively between hysterical cries ande welcoming their heroes by singing verses of the song from "Destroyer," 1976.

"We have been in Argentina, Chile ...," said Paul Stanley. Hearing the boos, he knew perfectly well what he was doing. "But you, São Paulo. You are number one," he continued. However much the phrase might sound cliche and leave you with the feeling of "you say that to everyone,", who cares? The audience goes crazy. Beer glasses fly and bathe fans' faces wearing elaborate makeup which will never remain pristine throughout the concert. Again: who cares?

"Shout It Out Loud," "Calling Dr. Love," "Hell or Hallelujah," "Wall of Sound" and "Hotter Than Hell" follow and win the audience. While everyone knows where the presentation is heading, there are twists so that everything doesn't happen predictably in a timeline. KISS doesn't skimp on the stage show. They blew the stage up, shooting fireworks from the front of the stage constantly, hiding the shy Sambadrome, which is so unaccustomed to echoing with the sounds of so many guitars. Explosions strengthen the refrain. Columns of fire go up while the fans' cries increase even louder than the house sound system of the Arena Anhembi, which always leaves a little to be desired.

Even with a theatre show that's almost like a circus, it is difficult to imagine two ringmasters in their 60s flawlessly performing these antics, but that's exactly what happens. Gene Simmons, 63, is hoisted up to a platform on the stage in God of Thunder" and Paul Stanley, 60, takes a Tyrolean flight over the public. Strictly timed, this lesson of rock follows with all the elements in perfect balance, anchored by a precise set list with few gaps to be filled.

But in the aura of KISS, the attention is not only on the founders Stanley/Simmons. Tommy Thayer plays the songs with all possible accolades of a legitimate "guitar hero," and Eric Singer honors his surname (singer) singing with full lungs while the platform that holds his drum kit rises up to the highest part of the stage.

Coming in the final stretch, a new high point: 1998's single "Psycho Circus" raises the voices of the effusive public, with the rock students at Arena Anhembi reevaluating all of their "tests" presented earlier. KISS fans approved with excellence, singing the chorus of the hit flawlessly at full volume. After "War Machine" and "Love Gun," Stanley caught the attention of the fans, asking: "São Paulo, you can sing a bit louder?". The next song was 1974's "Black Diamond," closing the night off on the right foot.

Learning came quickly for these students of rock. In this case, our anxiety to return to "class" is great - and much different from traditional schools. Knowing this, the four rock guardians returned for more quick, infallible lessons: "Lick It Up" and "I Was Made For Loving You" brought a "melting pot" of music that the Anhembi hasn't experienced before. The last song of the night caught no one by surprise: "Rock n Roll All Nite," decorated and played like there's no tomorrow. "Every time we're in Sao Paulo we feel at home. Our hearts are here. As I have said, we have been in Chile and in Argentina. But we can come back soon?" asked Stanley, who already knew the answer before he even took the stage.

Then came the signal that the lesson was ending. Instead of an annoying buzzer, fireworks, many fireworks. The impressive amount of explosions - enviable even for many New Year's Eve Parties - causes all necks to bend to the sky. Every break that would seemingly indicate the end of the show brought more new fireworks. When we looked at the stage, we realized that Stanley, Simmons, Thayer and Singer had already disappeared into thin air, without attracting attention, something unusual for KISS. Lesson learned.