January 06, 2010

by Barbara Caserta

The "Alive 35 World Tour" is over... Kiss delivered the goods in front of 1.5 million people, between die-hard fans and... young-hard fans! Me and Fabio were lucky (and dynamic) enough to be proudly part of the most fantastic Rock Circus on earth once again, in Europe last year, and most recently in the USA, for 4 Californian awesome shows...

I was such amazed and fascinated seeing so many children in the audience going crazy for our heroes, and most of 'em were perfect Kiss wannabes in full make up and in improvised (with lot of fantasy) mini outfits replicas! Here is the next generation, the next Kiss Army!!! So cute, so rocking! Irresistible... As Mr Stanley spoke before launching The Hymn 'Rock'N'Roll All Nite': "...we were there for your mums and dads, we will be there for you!".

Kiss is magic, Kiss is timeless... I knew it when I was 9 and I've been flashed at first sight by them and their music ("Dynasty" era), and I still feel that strong emotion now that I'm 40 and I rock around with my Kiss female tribute band KISSEXY! Italian but well known internationally, thanks to Kiss that, again, are pure magic... They are a 'Larger Than Life' (as Gene sang back in 1977! ah!) experience: they passed the test of time head high, survived brilliantly all trends and the line up changes.... And I'm always there for them as they are there for me... and all of us... When the lights go down in front of that stage, and the famous (and so true) "You wanted the best, you got the best" announcement starts, well, feels like home!

Kiss drop falls down and adrenaline flows faster: I feel alive and kicking, just like the children that are beside me... just like each time it's the first time...This line up is stronger then ever after the "Sonic Boom" release - the pure and vibrant new Kiss album! - and this new show is the best so far since the Reunion Tour 96/97, in terms of spirit, musicianship, tight sound and stage regalia. And the Kiss logo, center stage low, turns us completely on combined with the mega giant screen behind!

And the songs? No more The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" (I missed it a bit, one of the best 10 rock songs ever made in my opinion) as the last call for the show, but "Rock'n'Roll" by Led Zeppelin is not what you can call a second choice, anyways! ;-) The original idea of paying tribute to the first "Alive!" album, in its exact order, was dismissed, and the set - honestly - sounds fresher in its up to date version... My faves... Let's start with the opener "Deuce", since 1974 still the perfect kick off. Then I loved "Let Me Go Rock'N'Roll", "Hotter Than Hell" (the "new" firebreathing tune) and "Parasite" (sang by Gene & Eric together), all from the darkest repertoire of the angry early days but today even stronger and harder... Superb the new version of "100,000 Years": finally mighty as it was on original "Alive!", trust me... and you know you can, since my "Kiss Fan Pedigree" is pure 100% ;-)); this version showcases Paul Stanley in its best refound form, both in his famous duet with the excited audience and in the guitar duel with Tommy Thayer! Awesome....

All the solos are even more spectacular and entertaining, with Tommy's Beethoven's Fifth which literally explodes on those rockets, and Eric's drumkit (now with double bass!) which rises and turns 360... how cool, and WHAT A DRUMMER!!!... My eyes still shine astonished and wide open, staring at both Paul ("Love Gun") and Gene ("I Love It Loud") flying over our heads... And The Demon's blood spitting - with him merged in that terrific horror atmosphere scanned by those infernal bells-chimes - just added and welcome! - gives renew chills after many years, no way of getting used to such dramatic intensity. Tommy sings "Shock Me" in perfect spaceman style, if you're happy or not (I AM!)... then I enjoyed a lot 2009 track "Modern Day Delilah", so wild so rocking... And of course "Lick It Up", with its rainbow flames and that tribute to the Who in the middle part is always so vibrant... intense "Black Diamond", with Paul breaking his guitar now on a riser center stage. How coooool... And "Rock'n'Roll All Nite" is always "Rock'N'Roll All Nite", as Nick Simmons said "confetti were raining cats and dogs all over, that they reached also my underwear!!". I confirm. For those about to rock, Kiss salute us with an immense "Detroit Rock City" featuring, right before the definitive mayhem of bombs and fire in its ending, a surprising "freezing moment" with the band standing still in silence and darker lights… such an epic ending... so damn impressive.

I attended to hundreds and hundreds of concerts in the last 20 years due to my job (I am a pro rock journalist and photographer since 1990!) but BELIEVE ME, THERE'S NOTHING LIKE KISS! When they say "The Hottest Band In The World" they really MEAN IT! How screwed is the world nowadays? Ok, For 2 hours you can simply escape it and feel totally free to live a rock'n'roll dream with the best soundtrack of unforgettable rock classics and bombs! And if you still do not understand, well you can still look at Kiss thru my passion and lens. Here for Kissmas 2009 is a special gift of mine: a selection of some of the best shots I took in the recent Alive 35" US shows (my glorious Kiss shows no. 71 / 72 / 73 and 74!!). Locations: Fresno, Oakland, Anaheim, Los Angeles, all in the sunny (also during the winter!) California. So if I learned how to capture their best moments on stage - like few others could.. and proud of! - in 30 years of love and total devotion, both combined to what happens to be my main job, well judge yourself... If you missed the Facebook-video-streaming of the Los Angeles show on the 25th November 2009 (first in history, and I WAS THERE!!), but also if you did not, do not miss this Kiss Alive 2009 Gallery by me, one of the biggest Kiss freaks in this galaxy, your Barrrrrrbara Caserrrrta - if you like to spell it Uncle Gene's style ;-) I love youuuuuuu!!! An online exclusive to fantastic Deucenews! This is my Music for your eyes, your chance to (re)live the new show visually, thru the images captured by my lens! And if you happen to be Italian, do not miss also my next Kiss reportage, a kind of articlecumentary on the pages of Rock Hard Italy (January 2010 issue), all about my recent and again unforgettable Kiss experience! Take a look, just in case you need the right teaser, if you have any doubts on grabbing your own ticket for one of the upcoming European Kiss shows 2010, including Milano on the 18th May!

VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO KISS, to keep the eternal flame of their multicoloured rock power burning; Thanks to Mr. Doc McGhee to be The Perfect Manager; Thanks to the "Kiss Family": was great meeting you all (especially Nick & Evan Shane: you rock!!) and feeling more than ever part of it; A salute of warm respect to Mr Ross Halfin: it's always an honour to shoot beside a photo-legend like you are! Thanks to you who took time to read this; Thanks to Fabio for the company during the journey and for the space given here to share my emotions... and of course Happy 2010 everybody: may this be another Kissing year with lot of great rock music!!! Hope from the bottom of my heart (and from behind my camera!) you will enjoy it as my Kiss Alive Gallery 2009!

Yours truly, Kissmaniac forever by the DNA - Barbara Caserta

Click here to view almost 100 of Barbara's great KISS photos