August 15, 2012
Excerpted from Crystal Larsen's review

Chula Vista, Calif.

As Kiss prepared to take the stage a long black curtain was dropped embroidered with the band's recognizable logo in sparkling silver. As I waited for two of rock's most revered figures, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, to take the stage, I was kind of scared. I've heard of this band nearly all of my life, but never witnessed them live, so I had no idea what to expect. Would the fake blood that pours out of Simmons' mouth exit in a projectile fashion? Would there be more water thrown into the audience and, if so, is it really water? With those questions unanswered, the curtain dropped and as Kiss took the stage I was immediately taken aback with what I was seeing. There was fire; Kiss displayed in bright lights; metal; makeup; boots that were clearly made for more than walking; and much more. I can't even remember if I took a breath for the remainder of their set.

"Detroit Rock City" was up first, but being possibly over-stimulated with all that was happening onstage and the sheer fact that I was finally seeing Kiss, it wasn't until "Shout It Out Loud" that I really settled into the performance. With Tommy Thayer on guitar and Eric Singer on drums, the 13-song set was exactly what I had in mind. Simmons breathed fire on "Firehouse" and spit blood during his bass solo, and Stanley took a ride through the crowd to perform "Love Gun," landing atop a circular stage set up behind the soundboard.

A few particular highlights for me came with songs that featured minimal effects: "War Machine" and "Black Diamond." I didn't know a word to "War Machine," but by the end I was shouting along to the chorus. The energy emanating from the crowd of metal fist-pumpers was infectious. During the performance of "Black Diamond" I was particularly impressed by Singer's lead vocals, which I would have liked to hear more of.

Bringing the set to a close was the eponymous rock anthem "Rock And Roll All Nite," Singer, Simmons and Thayer were placed on platforms rising up from the stage while Stanley stayed put in the center. Before he kissed the crowd goodnight, he took his shiny-black electric guitar and smashed it to the ground as celebratory confetti fell over the Kiss Army.

By the end of the night I felt like I had just ran a rock and roll marathon, or gone to Kiss Army boot camp. Either way, my rock and roll heart was definitely kickstarted.

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Set Lists:

"Detroit Rock City"
"Shout It Out Loud"
"I Love It Loud"
"Hell Or Hallelujah"
"War Machine"
"Shock Me"
"God Of Thunder"
"Love Gun"
"Lick It Up"
"Black Diamond"
"Cold Gin"
"Rock And Roll All Nite"