|Does it get any better than Kiss? The simple answer is, “No.” The more complex answer is, “No way.” Kiss has branded themselves the icons on rock and roll. Since the early 1970s, Kiss has been changing what fans should expect from live concerts. No longer was appearing on stage good enough. Bands had to combine the theatrics of circus freaks with the gut-wrenching music to become even close to the levels Kiss were taking it. Who knows what the face of music would look like if the four guys in make-up and 12-inch boots didn’t begin the marketing side of rock. But one thing is for sure; it wouldn’t be the same.
Although never the consummate musicians, Kiss has self-promoted themselves to be one of the biggest rock groups of all time. Sure, they are not the Beatles, but hey, who gives a shit! Kiss is Kiss and they never claimed to be anything different. Whether you were discussing the number of women they slept with or which line-up would take the stage, Kiss was always bigger than Paul, Peter, Gene or Ace. And their brief lackluster success of their solo albums proved that. The Vinnie Vincent Invasion was just one example.
Germain Amphitheater was host to the most anticipated show of the year, Kiss and Aerosmith. What made this tour so special was not just that two of the biggest names in rock were appearing together; now was it that these are two of a dying breed of superstars that just don’t come out of today’s music. What made this special was anyone could see these two were vying for the spotlight, which made the performances even greater. It is like having two great athletes going one-on-one; the best game has to come out. It was game on from the opening note until the last chord.
For Kiss, it was an hour and 15 minutes of lights, sound and theater. Whether it was Paul Stanley pointing at the crowd with a guitar pick anchored to the end of his tongue, or the blood dripping off of Gene Simmons’ superhuman taste buds, Kiss had the crowd in the crotch of their tight, studded pants.
There is the old saying that the best is saved for last. And although this wasn’t the last show of the concert season at Germain, the best was put forth this night. Kiss proved why they are heroes to today’s metal bands and why artists such as Christine Aguilera and Justin Timberlake have to make their performances so huge. It is because of four New York guys who decided that live music should be more than just notes and beats. It needed something extra. Something to give the fans so they keep coming back. Kiss reminds me of a line in Howard Stern’s movie Private Parts. When the station was reviewing why Stern was so popular, it was said because fans were listening to hear what Stern would say next. But why did people who hate Stern listen? “To hear what he will say next.” Kiss is just like that. You didn’t have to be a fan of their basic beats and riffs to want to be a part of the show and see what Kiss will do next. You just had to have common curiosity and the ability to want to have fun. And Kiss fills both those gaps. Even 30 years after starting it.