September 13, 2012
Excerpted from a review by By: Brigette Sullivan
Photo by Brigette Sullivan / Outer Focus Photos

Iconic Shock Rock quarter KISS once again swept through Chicagoland's First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, on their "The Tour" co-headlining tour with fellow rockers Motley Crue and supporting band The Treatment. For those familiar with the KISS show, it was what one would expect from the band: loud, explosive (literally), simple Rock and Roll, and plenty of signature KISS makeup—on stage and in the crowd.

Then the band most seemed to be waiting for hit the stage, and the audience energy changed. Cool rock dudes became giddy ten year-old versions of themselves, complete with fist-pumping screams and air guitars.

70’s Rock icons KISS opened the night with “Detroit Rock City”, followed by “Shout It Out Loud”. Every person in the near-capacity venue was on his feet, singing along and spilling their over-prices beers as they jumped to the drum beats. As founding members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley strategically struck poses for the cameras and enthusiastic audience, newer band mates Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer carried the sonic energy with their drum and guitar skills respectively.

Next up were “I Love It Loud” and “Firehouse”, to which Simmons did his signature (he’d trademark it, if he could) fire breathing stunt. Then came lesser know songs “Hell or Hallelujah” and “War Machine”. Thayer and Singer traded solos on “Shock Me” while Stanley and Simmons took performance breaks. Simmons returned to the staged rigged with fake blood capsules and wire harness. He spat blood, wagged his well-known oral appendage, then was lifted several feet up to the rafters for “God of Thunder”. The band then performed thunderous “Love Gun” and 80’s Rock Pop sounding “Lick It Up”, at which point Stanley zip-lined to an outer audience platform with his guitar. The band pulled out their old gem “Black Diamond”, much to the delight of fans throughout the venue. Stanley did a brief guitar solo, then the band informed the audience they’d have to wrap up their night due to a strict venue curfew. The last two songs were “Dr. Love” and of course, “Rock and Roll All Nite” accompanied by a three minute shower of confetti, stage fog, and a few thousand pairs of arms in the air.

Nowadays, KISS concerts are more about the party and nostalgia than discriminating musicianship and the presentation of new material. There are a handful of shows concert goers attend because they want consistency; they want to reminisce and memorialize their carefree, Rock and Roll-fueled youth. KISS is one of those shows. The band changes just enough of the set list from town to town and tour to tour to keep fans coming back. You can always guarantee they will hit the stage with an overabundance of pyrotechnics, black and silver trademarked costumes (we’ll pretend those few makeup-free years in the 90’s never happened), a bit of fake blood from Simmons, and bit of flare and posturing from Stanley, and a solid backbone with Thayer and Singer.