April 10, 2009

By Fernão Silveira / WHIPLASH ((translated for KISSONLINE by our friend Jill Cataldo)

Call them what you want: posers, mercenaries, impostors, the excessive, Disneyland of rock... but it is because of shows like Tuesday's in São Paulo that KISS has enjoyed a 35-year career as one of the hottest and most-requested bands around the world, with shows overcrowded by fans across the planet. Again, call them what you want, but no more appropriate introduction exists for them than 'the hottest band in the world' - as the loudspeakers of the Anhembi Arena announced seconds before the band's triumphant entrance for their show in São Paulo.

Everything conspired for a perfect night: the pleasant autumn in Sao Paulo, amazingly good public transit (for the city's standards, anyway), the civilized, organized feel to the Anhembi Arena (also surprising), and a public eagerly awaiting the most beloved, masked band in the world ... Expectations were really big, because we endured a decade without a KISS show in Brazil.

We were counting the seconds leading up to KISS's entry, and we were excited to see the small show of roadies and workers to set up the band's massive stage. The, lights, instruments and walls of amplifiers were tested and heard by the crowd. You could feel the anticipation on your skin as the band's appearance was imminent. And, when the Anhembi sound system began to play 'Won't Get Fooled again' (The Who) - the not-so-secret intro that marks the opening of all KISS shows, we all knew what was to come...

Shortly after 21:35, the immense black curtain with a silverplated KISS logo fell to mark the arrival of Gene, Paul, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer to the stage. Just like old times, 'Deuce' marked the return of the 'hottest band of the world' to an equally hot, passionate public. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the great moment had finally arrived.

Immediately after the beginning of 'Strutter', when Paul experienced a minor microphone problem that was quickly corrected, the Starchild drew the public close for a conversation and professed – for the first time of many on this same night – KISS's love for Brazil. 'We've played to people in many places in the world, but nobody is like you. We love everything from Brazil. We were homesick to return here,' he gushed.

After 'Got to Choose' came two of the best songs of the whole show: 'Hotter Than Hell' (with flares and sirens onstage) and 'Nothin' to Lose,' duly vocalized by Cat Man, Eric Singer. After 'C'Mon and Love Me' came a hilarious moment: Paul announced, mistakenly, 'Watchin' You!' But he immediately caught his error and returned to the microphone to declare: '...also known as 'Parasite!'' Apart from the laughs, the band's execution was perfect and opened the door for Tommy Thayer's musical spectacle: 'She.. The new Space Ace showed his prowess in handling the legendary Gibson Les Paul and enchanted the public with bullets and gusts of sparks firing from his guitar.

'Watchin' You,' now at the correct moment, and '100,000 Years' displayed Eric Singer in excellent form, competent, well-humored, and, visibly happy in being part of the rich history of KISS (either as Cat Man or simply as himself.) After 'Let Me Go, Rock n' Roll' a moment that will never be forgotten by the fans: 'Black Diamond' and 'Rock n' Roll All Nite' in succession.

'Black Diamond' began with Paul Stanley (it is incredible to note, again, his charisma with the crowd) playing the intro to 'Stairway to Heaven' (Led Zeppelin) on his guitar. Seeing the crowd's reaction, he called out: 'You want this music? No, not today...' He sang the first verses, forever eternalized by the voice of Robert Plant, but returning to 'Black Diamond' made the Anhembi bow down to KISS. Would you expect any less?

Afterward, Paul returned to the microphone again to announce 'our music, the hymn of the KISS Army: Rock n' Roll all Nite, and Party Every Day...' There wasn't a single person among the approximately 30 thousand present in the Anhembi Arena that was not singing and dancing, delighting in the confetti raining down on the stage to garnish this ultimate rock and roll party. It was simply, unequivocally unforgettable and a difficult experience to even explain in words.

The lights went out for a few minutes and we caught our breath, but soon as the band was back for a long and delicious encore. 'Do you want to go home?'called Paul. As the public responded with a loud 'No,' he answered: 'We don't want to go. We'll play more for you!' And 'Shout It Out Loud' restarted the night's spectacle.

Paul announced 'Lick it Up' by saying that he wanted to 'lick' many of the beautiful girls present, which only increased the general climate o excitement. 'I Love it Loud' brought a unique show from Gene, with blood spitting and a 'levitation' to the top of the front lighting truss, where the Demon sang, taking the entire Anhembi Arena to their feet.

Everyone knew that the show was nearing its finish, but there were more wonderful things to come. The Starchild brought disco to the night with 'Dynasty' (1979) hit 'I was made for Lovin' You.' He did not leave the stage to cool off but announced something that everyone in the VIP seating area had been expecting: 'I am here on the stage, but my heart is out there, with you. I want to come out there... You want me to?'

When hearing the obvious reply, Paul hung onto a small pole which lifted him, and he landed on the central lighting tower, launching into 'Love Gun.' One note: if you were not seated in the VIP area (with a ticket cost of R$ 350) you were only able to see Paul on the video monitors, as the tower did not have a good sightline for those in the standard seats. A pity.

'Detroit Rock City', transformed into 'São Paulo Rock City,' as the masked ones sang in unison with the entire Anhembi Arena, closing a simply perfect show. Many people left with eyes full of tears... 'It was the best show of my life! ', 'Each cent of R$350 was worth what I paid! ', and 'I will never forget this night' were some of the comments that could be heard near the exit of the Anhembi Arena. Entirely understandable!

Whatever your opinion of KISS, one thing cannot be contested: there is no other group in the world that provides a live experience like this to its public. The masked quartet's show of the quartet is unique. Music, attitude, visual, joy, special effects... An unforgettable experience for people of all ages, from 8 to 80. That is why Gene and Paul, and now continued with Eric and Tommy, celebrate 35 years of existence of the most valuable brand (yes, brand) adored in hard rock. Anyone who attended yesterday's show understands, live and in person, the real meaning of 'Rock n' Roll All Nite, Party Every Day.'