August 02, 2010
Apparently rock music and face paint have no age restrictions.

KISS, the aging rock group with cartoonish face paint, explosive pyrotechnic shows and hard-hitting, feel-good classics, melted another crowd Saturday night in the latest installment of The Hottest Show on Earth Tour at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, next to the chocolatiest place on Earth.

KISS might be growing older, but its fans are only getting younger.

After 35 years together, KISS is offering a little something for everybody, from kids and parents wearing matching caked-on face paint to long-time fans wanting to rock and roll all night and party every day to women in revealing outfits looking to get noticed by one of rock's all-time memorable legends.

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, along with Eric Singer on drums and Tommy Thayer on guitar, played only a few of their newer hits in Saturday's two-hour-plus show, which heavily featured timeless classics, ending with everyone's favorite "Rock and Roll All Night."

Fathers raised their kids onto their shoulders and teenagers danced along with their parents and, in some cases, grandparents, for the ending number, as a confetti snowstorm blew into the crowd. If the ear-splitting explosions during the show weren't enough, the concert ended with one more fireworks display to light up the night.

As the opening acts played, children, many wearing earplugs, ran around the stadium with their friends, posing for pictures with Gene Simmons look-alikes and sticking out their tongues to mimic him. Many of the children say they were drawn to KISS, either by their parents or by playing video games "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero," which feature some of the band's music.

KISS's opening number was a relatively new hit "Modern Day Delilah," from the band's latest album, "Sonic Boom."

After that, the crowd was quickly jolted into a frenzy.

With explosions, flames and smoke shooting up all around, the band performed one classic after another, starting with "Cold Gin."

Throughout the show Stanley sweet-talked the crowd, telling them to "Kiss on me, Hershey, Pennsylvania," and then flying over the crowd on a zip line as he performed, "I was Made for Loving You."

Simmons, was his usual tongue-wagging self, spewing blood to the crowd's delight.

And even though the band was missing fan favorites Ace Frehley on guitar and Peter Criss on drums, the show went on with Thayer making his guitar smoke and fly, ala Frehley, and Singer performing "Beth," made famous by Criss.

The performance also featured the "longest encore you ever heard," as Stanley described it.

And KISS, long known for its ability to hawk any and all merchandise featuring its image -- from action figure dolls to lunch pails to coffins -- also encouraged the crowd to go out and buy its newest album, which is "on sale at Wal-Mart," Stanley said. "I have to say that," he later joked.

KISS, which has been around for more than 35 years, also paid tribute to other rock legends, such as Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles. A video montage featuring the legends played on dozens of television screens on stage while the band performed "God Gave Rock and Roll to You." Earlier, Stanley mixed in Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" during the band's performance of "Black Diamond," and The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" during "Lick it Up."

Before ending the show, KISS presented a $71,990 check to the Wounded Veterans foundation. The donation came by way of ticket sale proceeds.

The Hottest Show on Earth Tour continues on Friday at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, N.J., and Scranton's Toyota Pavilion on Aug. 15.