Kiss Let the Rock Do the Talking in Atlanta
Kiss clearly had their priorities straight Oct. 26 in Atlanta. In front of a packed -- and face-painted -- crowd, the classic rock act's frontman Paul Stanley laid out the band's agenda for all to hear. "Some bands stand onstage and tell you how to stop global warming, who to vote for or how to end the war. If you came to hear one of those bands, you're in the wrong place," he crowed. "We came here to leave that bad news behind. Sometimes you just wanna rock 'n' roll."
Kiss then launched into a little ditty called 'Rock 'n' Roll All Night,' complete with enough white confetti to turn the arena into a the set of a Christmas movie -- plus, of course, a barrage of explosions, indoor-friendly fireworks and the general musical mayhem that ensues in such a song. So while Stanley's sentiment wasn't the most original rock 'n' roll rallying cry, it was refreshing.
Buckcherry had started the night off right following the same motto -- skip the message (this ain't a U2 show) and go for the jugular with booming rock.
Still, few bands can overshadow Kiss -- what other rock band is so well-known for its live show, with emphasis on 'show'? The Kiss concert was just as much a visual spectacle as an aural one -- from Gene Simmons' depths-of-hell bass solo as he spewed blood, to Stanley's Indiana Jones moves as he swung over the audience on a steel cable, the artistry of the music didn't exactly take precedence.
But Kiss, more than any other band, seems to ask: Who cares? And when the show is this explosion-filled (one pyrotechnic actually knocked a stage light to the ground -- the jury's out on the accidents' authenticity), it's hard not to agree.
With makeup and walking-disco-ball costumes in full effect, Kiss played over two hours of tunes old and new, even bashing through 'Say Yeah,' off of new album 'Sonic Boom,' for the first time on tour.
The only thing holding Kiss back from a truly unstoppable show was the overindulgent amount of drawn-out songs. Kiss tunes are most often short, crunchy blasts of rock -- when the end of tunes like 'Black Diamond,' with it's arena-destroying riff, were drawn out so that the song's finale (in which Simmons usually posed like a ghoul, Stanley pranced around stage, et. al.) lasted as long as the songs, the momentum of the show slowed.
After decades of Kiss being a live band to be reckoned with, it feel a bit humbling to say this, but: Tighten up those tunes, boys. And you just may be the 'greatest band in the world.'