by Matt Wardlaw / https://m.clevescene.com
“Alright, Cleveland. You wanted the best, you got the best….the hottest band in the world, KISS!” For decades, those words have signified the beginning of a night that you won’t soon forget, and last night's KISS concert at the Q, packed to the rafters, was the latest chapter added to the group’s long-running history with the city —and potentially, the final one.
You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here.
If this is indeed the “End of the Road,” as the name of their current tour suggests, the members of KISS are going out with a show that’s impressively energetic (and visually, it’s their most over the top staging and production to date), especially when you consider that it’s been nearly 45 years since they made their first appearance in town at the Cleveland Agora.
They of course, made quite an entrance, descending from the ceiling on platforms as the first rounds of pyro of the evening exploded all around them. Singer-guitarist Paul Stanley greeted the audience with a jubilant “Cleveland!” as they dug into “Detroit Rock City,” and just like that, they were off and running, full throttle.
For more than two hours, the group entertained the masses with a 20-song setlist peppered with a lot of vintage video and additional explosions that went heavy on the hits with a few deeper cuts. And no matter whether you’ve seen KISS one time or hundreds of times, they brought out many of their best parlor tricks too. (Who doesn’t love watching Gene Simmons breathe fire at the conclusion of “War Machine,” right?)
Early in the evening, Stanley took a moment for a retrospective look back, with a bit of added agenda attached that he wanted to take care of.
“This is the end of the road, but we’ve got a whole lot to celebrate tonight. We’ve got a whole lot of music, a whole lot of years to go through. As a matter of fact, the first time we came to Cleveland, we played the Agora in 1974. We played Richfield Coliseum. We’ve been all around Cleveland,” he told the audience. “You know, a lot has changed since we were here last. You’re looking at a band in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! Now, Cleveland, y’all know we love you, but the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame hates KISS.
The crowd responded, as expected, with a flurry of boos, as Stanley kept going.