AT PEARL IN LAS VEGAS
November 30, 2009
Photo and story by Tina Hagerling
Excerpted from Denver Post

Kiss tour all over the world, but Las Vegas might just be the perfect place to see them. That is, if you're looking for a seamless night of surreal spectacle, over-the-top showmanship and enough pyrotechnics to singe the eyebrows right off your face. A stop at the intimate Pearl at the Palms Concert Theater last Saturday was the latest for the band, and since Denver wasn't on the tour radar, I decided to drop in at the Palms Casino to catch the action.

Kiss exploded onto the stage and started hamming it up and working the crowd in the only way the self-appointed "hottest band in the world" could. Bassist Gene Simmons and vocalist Paul Stanley, the two band constants through the years, were decked out in the usual garb and makeup that has accompanied them through a good portion of the past three decades.

Part of the "Alive 35" tour, this show celebrated their 35th anniversary and featured mostly older songs - although a few tracks from their new album, "Sonic Boom," made it in there too. "Deuce" and "Strutter" opened the show, followed by a heap of glam rock goodness, including "Cold Gin," "I Love it Loud" and "Black Diamond."

Several of Simmons' trademark antics were conspicuously missing from the evening, including the blood spitting and fire breathing. But not Tommy Thayer's rocket guitar stunts. Carrying on Ace Frehley's signature maneuver, Thayer shot off multiple "rockets" (or at least some type of flying fireworks) into various spots in the venue. During the third firing, a sizeable chunk from the light rigging fell from the ceiling, narrowly missing the crowd. Since no one was hurt during the pyro-gone-wrong (or perhaps pyro-gone-right) incident, it probably made for one of the better moments of the two hour event. Even if it wasn't entirely accidental.

The night appropriately wrapped up with what Stanley dubbed as "the longest encore you'll ever hear." A barrage of greatest hits that included "Shout it Out Loud," "Lick it Up" and "Love Gun" and a wave goodbye the only way Kiss knows how: with a giant, rotating pinwheel fireworks explosion of course!