The KISS Alive 35 Tour rolled into Vancouver last night to a sold-out crowd at GM Place with a setlist packed with more than two hours of classic tracks. Complete with an arsenal of flash pods, pyro, lighting rigs and plenty of fire, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer took to the stage giving Vancouver its most explosive show of the year.
With a majority of classic songs in the set, the band tore through such notable tunes as Deuce, Strutter, Let Me Go Rock N’ Roll and Hotter Than Hell – and that was only the opening of the show. Each member of the band had a chance to sing at least one song as drummer Eric Singer took on the Peter Criss vocal for Black Diamond, while Tommy Thayer attempted the Ace Frehley classic Shock Me.
The addition of Singer on drums and Thayer on guitar has given KISS a new sound and a newly found energy – both of them are great musicians and showmen and they make Simmons and Stanley sound all that much better. This was the best and tightest sounding the band has been since the Revenge era. To me, nothing has ever sounded as good as the club tour the band did to prepare for the Revenge tour – like the one I saw in Toronto in May 1992 – but this was close. Stanley sounded a little hoarse this evening and Thayer should have selected to sing his Sonic Boom song When Lightning Strikes rather than tackle Ace’s Shock Me.
With only two songs played from the new Sonic Boom CD there was plenty of room for some KISS standards, although Modern Day Delilah is a great new song that fits in well. The other new track, Say Yeah, came across like a true concert favourite and was welcomed by the fans as much as Do You Love Me? – which was performed for the first time on the Alice 35 tour tonight.
The event was a slick visual assault with vibrant colors of lights constantly flashing and even some green and orange flames rising from the ground on occasion. There was one faux pas. During Thayer’s guitar solo, one of the special effects accidentally blew a set of lights from an overhead rig and sent them crashing to the stage. Luckily Thayer was at the other end of the stage when that happened. This is the second overhead lighting problem in a week . In Winnipeg, one of the overhead lights caught fire, delaying the show and forcing the band to break out in an impromptu jam of Firehouse.
It would be really hard to say KISS has come up with anything incredibly new or unseen on this tour because, quite frankly, they invented everything that you’d already see in a modern rock show anyway. There was lots of pyro and fire, the drums and band members rose to the rafters on hydraulic platforms, Gene Simmons was lifted in the air to the lighting rig to sing I Love It Loud, and Paul Stanley rode a swing-like device from the stage across the audience to sing Love Gun at the other end of the arena. There really wasn’t much more anyone could ask for.
If this was any other band on that stage, we would have been shocked and the news headlines the next day would have read that this new band was the next big thing. But for KISS we expect and demand this level of entertainment. And you know what, they delivered.
Just ask the fans who were excited from the get-go. Many dressed up as their favourite KISS superhero, while others pounded their fists in the air or sang along for the entire two hours. There was one family on the floor who had all four of their children dressed up in full costumes. Some fans even scrambled to get a photo or autograph from Gene Simmons’ companion Shannon Tweed, who was on hand at the show.
With the exception of not hearing I Was Made For Lovin’ You and God Gave Rock And Roll To You II, which have been missing from the whole tour, it was an incredible show and an unforgettable night.
Vancouver wanted the best and Vancouver got it.
More photos are available at the RockStar Weekly Photo Archive.
KISS – GM Place – Nov. 14, 2009
Review and Photos By Dan Savoie