Written by Dave Clements
If I hadn’t been there to witness it first hand I would not have believed it.
How could that many people have been out on a Monday night, a work night, a school night, at Houston’s beautiful Toyota Center?! These thousands of people who came to the Kiss ‘End Of The Road Tour’ Show didn’t just ‘come to the show’ after a dreadful Monday at work, they came well prepared, ready to be a part of THE SHOW.
Of course black was the predominant color of clothing, white was the color of choice for face paint, black patent leather double decker platform shoes were the main footwear selected by both the men and women as they arrived in their Kiss costumes from every part of our fine city. We saw entire families Kissed out from head to toe. So cool that many in attendance had tee shirts claiming to be second generation Kiss fans and I’m guessing there were some 3rd G’s as well. It was so fascinating to be in the position to do nonstop people watching…I think I went to bed with a sore neck from trying to catch a glimpse of as many fans as possible. Left to my own devices I would have set up a portable photo studio and photographed everyone free that came through the doors of Toyota just to document how creative a Kisser (or whatever they call themselves) could be.
When the tour roadies pulled the curtain back just before nine the four ‘real deals’ hit the stage in all their glory. These 4 rockers lead by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are simply amazing. They really don’t put on a concert they participate in something that is way closer to being a significant theatrical production topped by no other touring group, at least that I’ve seen. Between the pyro, lights, low hanging fog and THE FOUR OF THEM you are constantly accessing where to focus your eyes. In my case, where to focus my camera was the question during the show’s first two songs. You can get the answer to that segment of the evening by going to the HMR Photo Gallery. These guys were almost intimidating during that 10 minute blur at the start of the show. They play to the photographers perfectly, in our faces and so animated and colorful. Flames shot over their heads (and ours!), not an experience that many photographers get in a lifetime of shooting. How fortunate to have had the opportunity to shoot these guys. And frankly I’ve never been that big of fan of their music. However, there are no better in the industry at providing great shots and a massive rush!
I have been told by a very reliable Kiss fan that the SHOW was fantastic. They kicked off their set with Detroit Rock City and followed it up with Shout It Out Loud. War Machine featured brother Gene breathing fire as the song ended, and 100,000 Years had drummer Eric Singer doing a very special drum solo that ended with his entire drum kit and him of course elevated to the near top of the Toyota Center. Cold Gin had Tommy Thayer doing a guitar solo that seemed to be very pleasing to the crowd. Then came God of Thunder which had Simmons again doing a terrific Bass solo and of course he would spit and/or gruel blood out of his mouth as he performed. Personally, I’d say this could have been eliminated from the production however I’m guessing that I would be part of a very small minority in attendance who would agree with that opinion. In total they played seventeen songs before the encore. They came back and finished with Beth, Crazy Crazy Nights, Rock and Roll All Nite ….oh what a night of Kiss!
Before closing, I must add that these guys worked their asses off for their Houston Fan Base, perhaps for the last time in our part of the world. Let the record show that in this reviewer’s opinion these guys dealt admirably with the heat, heavy costumes and delivered a two hour performance in a way that many artists twenty years younger could not have pulled off. Very impressive, and I’m sure appreciated by all in attendance.
Please remember to support live music every chance you have so we can keep it for us, those that follow us, and their followers.
PS I’ve also included in the photo gallery a photo of Gene ( you will know which one) that I took at The Woodland’s Pavilion of Simmons that he is allowing me to use in an upcoming book I’m publishing called Raising A Hand, Volume Two… you can learn more at www.RaisingAHand.com