KISS revs crowd with stage antics, pyrotechnics and hits

in Arts & Culture/Featured/Music/Reviews by

The stadium was almost full as Florida rock band Shinedown began their opening set.

The band played a handful of songs from their 2008 album The Sound of Madness, and Second Chance – the second single from that album – was a big hit with the audience. The band had a good stage presence, and though it was clear the crowd was somewhat impatient as they waited for KISS, lead singer Brent Smith was able to generate some support and applause. Smith ended their set by pumping up the crowd for KISS, saying “Rock and roll is no genre of music, rock and roll is a way of life.”

Shortly after the intermission lights came up, KISS lead singer Gene Simmons’ wife and daughter, Shannon and Sophie, guided the VIP ticket holders to their seats and were greeted with a fair bit of attention. Probably noticing that the crowd was getting restless, Shannon stood on a step and took a video of the audience, getting each section to cheer loudly.

Then the lights went out, the curtain fell, and KISS emerged. A notable entrance, the band members were lowered to the stage from the top of a giant metal spider that was one of the main pieces of their stage setup. Amidst the spider’s rotating arms, smoke machines and lighting, KISS started their set with a bang.

The first few songs were fairly entertaining. The band members paraded across the stage in silver get-ups and face paint, as fire shot off in the background and smoke surrounded their feet. To their credit, the band members are all over the age of 50, so it was impressive that they made it to about the fifth song before the audience could tell they were getting tired. To distract from that detail, the band was very clever.

Gallery: KISS @ Mile One Centre (Aug. 3, 2013)

At one point, Simmons was the only one on stage. He captured the audience with his well known bloody tongue and demon eyes act. Then, attached to a cable, he was lifted into the air and placed on top of the giant spider fixture, where he played a lengthy solo. Shortly after, Paul Stanley returned to the stage, shooting fireworks out of his guitar while being raised on a platform, accompanied by drummer Eric Singer. By slowing things down, yet still keeping the rock and roll vibe, the men were able to take a breather without taking an intermission.

Overall, their stage presence was well put together, and their music lived up to expectation for such an admired band. However, no amount of fire, fireworks, smoke, and almost blinding lights could really hide the fact that the men are simply getting too old for that kind of show.

The concert ended on a high note, as Stanley literally flew over the audience on a cable and landed on a raised, rotating platform in the middle of the floor. The audience ate the stunt up like cake, and as he sang one of the final songs, the audience started to get a little more into the music, realizing the concert was almost at an end.

With a few more spouts of fire and flashing lights, KISS concluded the show, leaving audience members either exhausted from rocking out, or in anticipation of catching what was left of the George Street Festival.

KISS will perform again at Mile One Centre on Sunday evening. Show and ticket information is available online at the Mile One website or by calling (709) 576-7657.

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