KISS — Interviews, concert reviews and commentaries

by Alan K. Stout


High-Energy KISS Blows Crowd Away

(Concert Review, July 2000)

The Times Leader
July 8, 2000

By Alan K. Stout
Times Leader Staff Writer

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SCRANTON - KISS, long considered among the most entertaining live bands in the history of rock 'n' roll, performed at the Coors Light Amphitheater at Montage Mountain on Friday. And from the very first chord, the caped crusaders of rock took the crowd of more than 15,000 on a dazzling two-hour musical and visual journey that backed up their moniker as the "hottest band in the world."

The group descended to the stage on a large platform and opened the show with "Detroit Rock City." A powerful performance of 1974s "Deuce" followed as the band members rocked to choreographed moves that brought an easy roar from the enthusiastic and energetic crowd.

"Scranton," said vocalist and guitarist Paul Stanley, "Tonight is not a night to be sad. Tonight is a night to celebrate 27 years of rockin' and rollin' with you fine people."

His words, spoken in the context that this would be the band's final tour, drew another roar from the crowd as he led the group into a spirited performance of "Shout It Out Loud."

Bassist and vocalist Gene Simmons then led the band through a thunderous rendition of "I Love It Loud" and guitarist Ace Frehley took lead vocals on the fan favorite "Shock Me." Simmons later breathed fire during a punchy performance of "Firehouse" and seemed to bask in the glow of adoration from the screaming crowd.

"Do You Love Me" came with a video montage depicting the band's entire career and Simmons growled his way through a delightfully nasty performance of "Dr. Love." Stanley then led the crowd through a sing-along during 1984's "Heaven's On Fire." KISS - which has never been known as a jam-type band - then did just that with a guitar-heavy jammy take of "Let Me Go Rock and Roll."

Throughout the entire night, the crowd - like the band - remained energized. Every time Stanley implored the audience for a reaction, he seemed to receive tenfold of what he expected. Musically, KISS was locked in and solid, and pounded through the set with vigor and authority.

Frehley took lead vocals on a cover of the Rolling Stones' "2000 Man" and then burned through a blistering guitar solo that featured his trademark smoking guitar, which also shot rockets high above the stage. "Psycho Circus"' followed with Stanley imploring the crowd to "Step up!" And step up they did, particularly when Simmons flew high above the stage into the rafters for a churning rendition of "God of Thunder" and when Stanley flew halfway across the audience to perform "Love Gun" from a small stage set amid the crowd.

The set ended with "Black Diamond" and encores included Peter Criss' "Beth" and the classic "Rock and Roll All Night," which was accompanied by an array of confetti and fireworks.

In what clearly was one of the biggest concert tours to visit the region, KISS' Farewell Tour did not disappoint. The hottest band in the world took the chill out of the cool mountain air, and with some great songs and an uncanny sense of showmanship, easily reminded the crowd exactly how much fun rock 'n' roll is supposed to be.