The Clowns are Back in Town: KISS @ the Staples Center (11/25)
Twas the night before Thanksgiving and much of LA had either left town or stayed at home to prepare for the imminent family holiday, but you wouldn't have guessed that if you had been at the Staples Center, where KISS had convened its Army for a back-to-basics, old-school rock and roll show.
Faithful fans and curious gawkers alike were in for a special treat, as the band pulled all the stops for what ended up being KISS's first ever live concert webcast, streamed exclusively through Facebook.com and Ustream.tv.
The current tour pretty much follows the template of the second CD included with copies of KISS's new release Sonic Boom: a riff heavy, high-energy set of "classics" impervious to critical assaults or often justified accusations of cheesiness, embarrassing sexism, repetitiveness, etc.
The band is heading into its fourth decade unrepentant and, shall we say it, victorious. Who cares if the Spaceman and the Cat are now two (very good) hired hands instead of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss? The foursome who took the stage last Wednesday led by life partners Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley reenacted the KISS of the good old early days, a kabuki circus full of fire, stage blood, and Borscht Belt stage banter.
After trying to update their sound for the Limp Bizkit crowd, or attempting to one-up Ozzy with Reality TV silliness, Stanley and Simmons (to paraphrase their two favorite bands) got back to where they once belonged because it had been a long time time since they had rock'n'rolled. Bottom line: they delivered.
Here are a few memorable snapshots from the KISS show last Wednesday at the Staples Center:
1. Half of the fun of attending a KISS show: the fans
When Gene Simmons thought up the KISS concept (read his amazing manual Sex Money Kiss where he explains his entire gameplan and how it succeeded), he realized that each concert could become for the fans a cross between the circus, the freak show at a country fair, and a year-round Halloween parade.
He was right.
2. The other half of the fun: showmanship!
It's really four guys on a stage, a couple of them pushing 60. And they really, really wanna give you a lot of bang for your buck.