I Just Saw Kiss In Their Final Concert Tour - Caleb Jones

I never really got into the music of Kiss. I like harder music, so I’m more of an old school Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest type of guy. I never disliked Kiss; I just never got around to their stuff until lately.

Regardless, when I found out that Kiss was about to start their final farewell tour, I bought tickets immediately. Seeing Kiss is all about theater and spectacle. They’re part of Americana. And I had never seen them.

Considering Gene Simmons is about to turn 70 and Paul Stanley will be 70 very shortly, I figured this probably really was the very last time these guys would go out on tour, perhaps making this tour something truly historic in terms of the music industry.

Gene Simmons is also someone I really like (despite his flaws) and one of the few Alpha Male 2.0 celebrities (at least until a few years ago) so figured seeing him would also be fun. I’ve talked about him several times before at my other blog. (At some point I’m going to try to find a way to meet him in real life and perhaps even interview him. We’ll see.)

Last week I went to my first and last Kiss concert to witness the fiery, bloody glory of it all. Despite the fact that I only knew about a third of the songs, it was really fun.

These four old bastards dressed in 50 pounds of armor and nine-inch platform shoes shaped like dragons, covered in black and white face paint, flying around the audience on cables, screaming into their microphones… it was great.

There are near-constant explosions so intense that I could feel the heat on my face even though I was about 200 feet away from the stage. Clouds of long ribbons fall from the rafters and crash into the audience. Massive confetti cannons blast little pieces of colored paper in your face. There’s a constant barrage of lasers and lights. Their guitars shoot sparks and fire and blow up UFO-shaped spaceships that hover over the stage. Instead of two or three monitors, there’s about twenty(!) lined with spikes that float around and change position while they play. Paul Stanley flies over the audience to a floating platform in the middle of the arena, does two songs from there, then flies back. Gene Simmons breathes fire and barfs up blood.

It’s a total assault on the senses and it’s awesome. This is the best concert I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to some good ones in my day.

It’s also interesting to see the difference in these guys. Gene Simmons (“The Demon”) is pure masculinity; an ugly bastard with a hulking, lumbering presence and a deep, rumbling voice. Paul Stanley (“The Starchild”), his business partner of 40 years, is his complete opposite; a skinny, good-looking, effeminate man who puts on a high-pitched voice who stands, moves, and talks like a flaming gay dude (though Stanley is definitely not gay; he’s banged hundreds of women and today he’s married with kids). Eric Singer (“The Catman”) comes off like an emotional sweetheart, especially when he plays a piano covered in diamonds that rises up from the stage floor. Tommy Thayer (“The Spaceman”) is just a cool guitar player with lasers that reflect off his armor.

If I have even half the energy these guys in their late 60s have when I’m that age, I’ll be very happy.

(And to you hardcore Kiss fans, I’m aware that Singer and Thayer aren’t the two original members. Yeah, I know all about that drama.)

I went to the Portland concert last week. This was the second tour date and the first one of this entire tour in the US, the first one being Vancouver BC. Kinda cool. They also would shout out “Beaverton!” every once in a while since Thayer is from there, a suburb of Portland (and where I met Pink Firefly).

Stanley and Simmons have hinted that Kiss will go on without them if they get too old to play and even after they die, meaning there will be a new Starchild and Demon someday. But it won’t be the same.

I’m glad I could be there for what will likely be the last time the real Kiss (or at least half of them, if you’re a purist) will put on one of their amazing concerts.

This experience has also turned me on to going to more concerts this year. Both Ozzy and Judas Priest, my two favorite bands of all time, are coming to Portland this summer. I will be there (unless I’m traveling during those dates; always a possibility with me). Can’t wait to see a bunch of guys old enough to be my dad jamming on heavy metal guitars and blowing shit up.

This will be a fun year.

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13 Comments on “I Just Saw Kiss In Their Final Concert Tour

  1. concerts that have historic-ness to them are great.

     

    I also like the archetypes and how the show of kiss is suppossed to go on without the band. truly creating something that’s bigger than oneself.

  2. Funny, my brother once saw them live in NY and had pretty much the same reaction as you. He’s not a big fan either, likes some of their 80’s output maybe, but since he was over there on vacation and they were playing, he said “what the hell” and bought a ticket, only to be amazed at how good a show they put on.

    Some bands can be even better live (Whitesnake comes to mind), while others can disappoint (Judas Priest was like that for me).

  3. Saw them a few years back with really low expectations, even though I do like a lot of their music.  I was definitely impressed by the grandeur of the stage show.  They go all out and then some.  Something about a kick ass arena show always gets me-takes me back to those first concerts in high school like AC/DC, Ozzy, Aerosmith…

  4. I also like the archetypes and how the show of kiss is suppossed to go on without the band. truly creating something that’s bigger than oneself.

    Kiss is the one true rock band business. As Simmons always said, “I never wanted a rock band, I wanted a rock brand.”

    Some bands can be even better live (Whitesnake comes to mind), while others can disappoint (Judas Priest was like that for me).

    Yeah Priest was never that great live. I love them so much I didn’t really mind though.

    Interesting about Whitesnake.

  5. I never saw them live, but they’ve been peddling their final concerts for like 20 years.  I’m sure they’ll keep touring for another 10 years, so it’s not their final tour.

    If you can do a Gene interview, do it on video in person if possible and put it on YouTube, rather than doing it on Skype or Zoom, but it’d be a long interview, as he’s a very talkative guy.

  6. Dan Rather did a interview with Gene recently and it was kinda depressing to watch.  He’s done a pretty hard 180 on his former Alpha 2.0 self after marrying Shannon Tweed.  He basically apologized for all his years of “womanizing” and said it was very wrong to be that way, he was immature, etc…

    I think he’s just getting old and scared of mortality at this point.

  7. I think these “final concert” tours can be taken with a grain of salt.

    and

    I never saw them live, but they’ve been peddling their final concerts for like 20 years.  I’m sure they’ll keep touring for another 10 years, so it’s not their final tour.

    I agree completely but read what I said about how they’re in their 70s now.

    Dan Rather did a interview with Gene recently and it was kinda depressing to watch.  He’s done a pretty hard 180 on his former Alpha 2.0 self after marrying Shannon Tweed.

    Correct and I’ve written about that in the past. It’s very sad.

  8. Did you also go to Grant Cardone’s 10x Conference?

    No. There seems to be a lot of hype at those.

  9. I recently read some harsh reviews of their performance on some other sites and it makes me wonder how many of those commenters have ever been in any bands, or even just one.  You start off playing with one of your buds, then try recruiting other players to complete the line up.  Some work out for a while, some don’t even make it through the audition, but since musicians are quirky individuals to begin with, personalities clash and you end up looking for other members to replace the one(s) who aren’t on the same page as time goes by. That tears at any cohesive fabric you may have started out with and drains creativity from the group as a whole.

    You might get lucky and fill the positions and get back in the saddle if everything goes right. You’re lucky if you stay together for more than a year because other shit happens. Then, IF you write some great tunes and get a lot of stage time in front the public, you ‘might’ get noticed by someone with influence in the industry. I’ve know hundreds of good musicians who were a hundred times better than me, but very few of them actually made it to the pinnacle. At 65, I realize I probably won’t get anywhere near what I once dreamed about doing, musically … but I keep a positive mindset and try to keep my musical abilities alive the best I can (for an old rocker). Playing in some smokey bar is better than nothing – it’s still a lot of fun.

    Now, as for Kiss, they were quite unique with their overall vision. They were very innovative with their visual performances and actually wrote a lot of great compositions over the [almost] 50 years since they ‘banded’ together. That’s nothing to sneeze at … I wonder how many of their nay-sayers have done anywhere near as well?

  10. That’s nothing to sneeze at … I wonder how many of their nay-sayers have done anywhere near as well?

    I think it’s an issue of musical purists, that somehow because they’ve done so well, Kiss aren’t real “artists” or whatever. It happens in many industries.

  11. KISS sold out San Antonio a few days ago. The best concert I have ever witnessed or I should say attending. I’m from the 8Os saw many concerts. The crowd was all love and compassion for each other not like a Woodstock kind of way but we are all here to see KISS kick some ass. They delivered a show that everyone is still raving over days later! Families of three generations dressed in KISS gear rocking out. I’m glad I can say in 2019 I was there in San Antonio and I was there not seeing KISS but was with KISS and with everybody in the arena the same spirit and the bonding. It was great!

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