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Photo by Christina Mendenhall
Thursday, October 22, 2009
BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise
Better Than: Being 10 years-old all over again.
From the number of kids running around the BankAtlantic Center at Kiss's show last night, many replete with full make-up, it's apparent that one need not be of a certain age to appreciate the hard rock demigods -- you just have to feel it. Oh, I'm not talkin' about feeling 30 or 40 or 50 or more. I'm talkin' about feeling like a 10-year-old. And with Kiss, you could be bridging the century mark and still feel as if you were in fifth grade.
And I'll tell you right now: there is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, I'd argue that it's a damn good thing indeed. And if more folks would let loose their inner child every once in awhile, this wild world would be a much better place.
Of course that would entail Kiss never coming off the road. But hey, if the recently-anointed Rock and Roll Hall of Famers can make it to "Alive 35" who's to say they can't keep it up in perpetuity? And so long as Kiss keeps knocking 'em outta the arena as they did at BankAtlantic last night, everybody's inner child will be running freely for some time to come.
From the get it was evident we were all in for a night of neo-vintage
Kiss. The pile-driving "Deuce" opened the show, just as it did lo those
many years ago when the Kiss Alive LP first broke the band in
all the lands. And with its lights and its loud and the bombs bursting
in mid-air, the song slammed home as if it were 1975 all over again.
Hell, they even prefaced the show with the trademark intro: "You wanted
the best and you got it. The hottest band in the land. Kiss!"
I'm not mistaken -- and I was jumping around like such a tyke it's a
good possibility that I am -- Kiss next hit with Alive's "Strutter,"
"Got to Choose" and "Hotter Than Hell," again, just as they did way
back when. But instead of saving "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" for the
end, they put it up front amid the initial onslaught.
to me anyway (and this was the only unfortunate thing about last
night), "Rock 'n' Roll" set up a series of extended solos and chants
that seemed almost superfluous considering the kickass songs Kiss has
to rely upon. But since it all led up to Gene Simmons's blood-soaked
rising high into the rafters for "I Love it Loud," I suppose it was
well worth the wait. If you think Simmons is scary up close, imagine
him lording over the arena from 100 feet in the air. It was enough to
make you go out and kill all your idols.
As hoped (and pretty
much expected), the powerhouse set rocked shut with a
confetti-saturated version of the classic sing-along "Rock and Roll All
Nite," which is just as beautifully stupid and dumbly fun as it's
always been. For the band it was also a perfect excuse to render the
whole Center into a blizzard of white; for me it was a reason to jump
up and down like an idiot one more time.
But of course Kiss is
much more than a bunch of one-hit tricksters, and after a brief and
obligatory adjourning they returned to unleash a four-song encore that
began with the anthem "Shout it Out Loud" and concluded with the killer
cool "Detroit Rock City," easily the band's best song ever. In between
there was a flame-framed "Lick it Up" and a spiraling rendition of
"Love Gun," which saw Paul Stanley fly over the crowd and back by the
sound booth so he could sing from a small spinning stage near the rear
of the arena.
All in all it was everything anyone could ask for
in a full-scale rock spectacle. And whether you're a Kiss Army member
in good standing or you'd let your membership lapse back when you still
believed in super heroes, Alive 35 undoubtedly brought out the wild
child inside of you. If that's not the mark of a damn good concert,
then nothing is.
Personal Bias: I was of a certain age back when Alive was a world-wide sensation. It was great to be able to act a certain age all over again.
Guitarist Tommy Thayer's spark-shooting extenda-solo included a moment
when he shot down part of the light rigging. Stupidly, I let adulthood
stop me from suspending my disbelief, and I thought it was an actual
mishap. May I say 'Duh'?
By the Way: Kiss's latest, Sonic Boom, is not just their first new LP in 11 years. It's a three-disc package that also includes the remastered Kiss Klassics and a six-song Alive 35 DVD recorded in Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, you'll have to go to Wal-Mart to get it.