Words and Pictures: Robert Cavuoto
Was it the end of the road for KISS or the end of the world for Philadelphia? When KISS touched down for their Sold Out show at the Wells Fargo Center on March 29th they brought enough pyro and explosives to level the Wells Fargo Center back to the Stone Age to commemorate their triumphant and final tour!
There was no opening act, as none was needed for this spectacle. As soon as the curtain in front of the stage fell, Paul Stanley [guitar/vocals], Gene Simmons [bass], Tommy Thayer [lead guitar] and Eric Singer [drums] appeared at the lighting rafter. As the first chord to “Detroit Rock City” was struck, the band quickly descended to stage on their hydraulic lifts as plumbs smoke and fireworks erupted around them. Ravenous worshipers rocked back and forth chanting KISS in unison as the video screen flashed the band’s name. Hands were raised high with the infamous devil’s horn to pay homage to the band as all Hell broke loose on stage – Welcome to the greatest show on Earth!
Imagine the Fourth of July colliding with New Year’s Eve set to the score of one of the biggest and best band’s in history; KISS. Over their 45+ year career, KISS has continuously raised the bar on how bands should entertain their audience with over-the-top bombastic thrills and tonight they did just that. This was the show to end all shows.
KISS delivered the perfect one-two punch with their second song, “Shout it Out Loud” – a rallying cry of all things loud! The band continued to play for another 90 minutes to the Philadelphia chapter of the KISS Army. Twenty songs in all were played including many of their tried-and-true favorites like “Deuce,” “Black Diamond,” and “Calling Doctor Love.” They also pulled out some classic MTV hits like “Hide Your Heart,” “Heavens on Fire,” and “Like it Up.”Songs like “War Machine,” “100,000 Years,” and “I Love It Loud” were played with the same sense of fury from when they were written but with Eric Singer now leading the charge pounding out the infectious and mesmerizing groove!
A KISS show doesn’t live and die with just fire and explosions but by providing fans with the classic songs that made the band the icons they are. After all, they have two of the best frontmen in Rock & Roll with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. No KISS show would be complete without Gene spitting blood for “God of Thunder” or blowing fire on “War Machine.” Paul flew across the arena during “Love Gun” in grand fashion and then broke his guitar at the final encore of “Rock and Roll All Night.” Paul and Gene are the staple of the band have always given his fans 110% no matter of the line-up or wearing make-up. Tonight’s show was no expectation. Paul Stanley told his army of fans; old and new, to remember this night forever – and everyone will. His passion and raw energy could be felt all the way to last row of the last row at Wells Fargo Center. Dancing, prancing, and romancing is his business, and nobody does it better!
Tommy Thayer shot rockets from his guitar on “Cold Gin,” and Eric Singer’s had a levitating drum kit during “Black Diamond.” He also sang “Beth” at a piano towards the end of the evening.
Amid the swirl of confetti, the rubble of smashed guitars, and a tremendous light show, all four members of KISS were standing tall! As I left the venue and passed my 21,000 fellow KISS Army members everyone I could see was grinning ear-to-ear. KISS is still the reigning champs and the greatest band!