Members: Paul Stanley (Starchild), Gene Simmons (Demon), Eric Singer (Catman) and Tommy Thayer (Spaceman)
Tour Name: End of the Road
Concert Date: August 16, 2019
Venue: Bell Centre (Montreal)
This is the second time that KISS has come to Montreal on this tour. The last time it is was in March. I was surprised that they were coming back and I did not want to miss the opportunity to watch them in what could be the last time for me. I know, I know, they have been saying that it will be their last tour since 1990's.
I was always a fan of their Alive albums, more than their studio albums. There are only a few studio albums that I really listened to. One of the them is Carnival of Souls and the other was Psycho CIrcus. Carnival of Souls is the superior album in my opinion, but it is an album that Paul Stanley never wants to talk about. It was their attempt at a grunge sound.
I had gone and seen them once before a very long time ago during the Psycho Circus Tour (late 1990's) and it was fun. After all these years, do these rock legends still have what it takes to give a good show to the public? We shall see.
Although the above says it is for Sunrise, Florida, this is the same set list as for Montreal.
This is a show that was awesome but it did have its flaws. Let us start with the better parts of the show.
The opening act was David Gribaldi. If you ask yourself, what does he do, play rock? Nope. He is an artist and he paints with some rock music in the background. He is a very gifted painter. One of his paintings was going to be signed by the four members of KISS and then auctioned off for charity. I must admit that it was not what I expected. However, by the third painting he had won me over and it was not too bad. I would have preferred a rock group to open the show, but in the end it was not a bad choice.
Now on to the main show. I can safely say that KISS can still rock it. They are still kings of the pyrotechnics and Paul Stanley is still a showman. Although now it seems standard, in the 1970's pyrotechnics and interacting with the crowd was just not done much.
They seemed to have moved away from the Alive I and Alive II typical catch phrases. They changed it up a little and it was nice to see. The last time that I had seen them, it seemed like all they did was recycle phrases from the past. They did start the show with their famous tagline from Gene Simmons, "You wanted the best, you got the best. The hottest band in the world, KIIIIISSSSSSS.". The crowd went nuts when they heard those words.
Last time that I went to see them, it was with the original band members. Paul and Gene were there with Peter Criss (Catman) and Ace Frehley (Spaceman). The thing is that Peter Criss looks like a cardboard cutout when you see him play. Ace on the other hand used to be great, but he has lost a step through the years. So for me it was awesome seeing the original members at that time, but the passion did not seem to be there. It did not help that the band was fighting with each other.
This time around, the drummer was Eric Singer and the lead guitarist was Tommy Thayer. Eric Singer is a considerable upgrade on Peter Criss and I have no problems saying it. He ripped his drums during his solo which lasted a good 10 minutes. It was really awesome to see. Also, during the encore, since Beth is a Peter Criss song, Eric Singer is the one that sang it. I think that he has the best voice of the current lineup.
Tommy Thayer, was awesome. He is a good player and he fits with the band really well. I never really knew how he played live and I can say, he is good. He held his own during his own solo and he moves on the stage constantly. He does not stay put which is a big change from Ace Frehley.
KISS has a whole catalog of songs that they can choose from. I feel that the song selection was made for hardcore fans and also general fans. There are songs here that they played that I have not heard for years. War Machine (from Creatures of the Night), Black Diamond (from Kiss) and Say Yeah (from Sonic Boom). I appreciated that they played some songs that fans may not be used to. I know some fans only want to hear the chart toppers, but I appreciate the fact they played songs that long time fans would appreciate.
You can judge a concert by how long it feels. KISS played for a good 2 hours and for me, it felt like it just flew by. I would have liked to hear more songs from them.
As I mentioned in the first paragraph, it was not a show without flaws.
I need to address Paul Stanley's voice. I am a huge Paul Stanley fan. The Starchild was always my favourite KISS member. I always loved his passion on stage. Depending on who you ask, some people find the band full of poop and sometimes they are. Especially with Gene Simmons. However, Paul is the glue that has kept the band together for all these years. That is what makes him special.
When he first spoke to the crowd at the beginning his voice seemed rough and then as the adrenaline kicked in, I heard glimpses of the Starchild of old. However, when the band played "I was Made for Loving You", you saw that he lost his range (sounded like the version on the album). It actually took away from the momentum of the song. Compare what i heard to the rendition found on KISS Alive III and it is night and day. His passion is still there. In fact, it seems like he is liking the stage more and more but the years of rocking it out, seem to be catching up with him. He barely sings in the harmony's anymore to help his voice out.
Gene Simmons, still does the same shtick that he has been doing for decades. Nothing really has changed here. Same poses, same riffs and same gimmicks. The one part that seemed off was when he played God of Thunder, he went up to the rafters. However, the screen behind him make it seem like he was Lip syncing to the music. It is hard to describe but it looked off.
I praised the song selection previously, but that does not mean that I would not have liked some other songs to be played here. The show closed off with what I believe is the Alive III rendition of God Gave Rock'n Roll to You II on tape. I would have loved to hear that live even though I know Paul's voice was not what he used to be. I think that was a missed opportunity.
I always hope that they would play some songs from their Carnival of Souls album. I am probably the only one that actually remembers this album but for me it has 2 of the best songs that they ever released on a studio album. Here they are for your listening pleasure.
KISS - Jungle (Carnival of Souls)
KISS - I Will be There (Carnival of Souls)
I think that this was a great show. This was a typical KISS show. The venue was close to being sold out. There were very little seats left. I loved every song that they played as I am a long time KISS fan. Some people might have found some songs weird as they were not as well known but they still rocked it.
I think that this line up on stage is their best that they have had in a long time. I know they have been touring for a while and both Singer and Thayer have been touring with them for years. This was my first time experiencing what they can do and I have to say, they bring the energy that KISS is known for. They look like they are having fun out there and it is awesome to see. If you are a fan of their KISStory, you will appreciate where they are now in comparison to where they were just a few years ago. They have managed to stick together and tour for over 46 years. Most people barely stay at a job for more than 7.
If this is their last hurrah, they are doing it the way they want it and I think the fans appreciate that. Similar to Paul McCartney, Queen or any other huge band, you need to watch a KISS concert at least once in your lifetime. Many people fail to remember, that concerts are the way they are, thanks in big part to KISS. Are they still the best in the business for pyrotechnics, may be, may be not, but in the 1970's and 1980's, bands would stand on a stage like wax figures and barely move with any entertainment value. KISS changed that and this is why this is the reason that I wanted to see them for what could be the last time.
KISS Montreal (August 16th, 2019) Opening Sequence (Courtesy TonyTheTurtle)
Did you go to the show? Let us know below.