Kiss at the Target Center: Blood, greasepaint, and drunk moms

Categories: Concert Review

The Starchild, airborne. Photos by Tony Nelson, check out the slideshow here.

Take your most jaded music snob, who wouldn't give two sneezes for the low-altitude, tried-and-true rock of Kiss. Take any Pitchfork reviewer, who sees the histrionics, fire-breathing, and pyrotechnics as nothing more than a cleverly executed marketing ploy. Scour the music scene for the most adroit, self-assured listener, and with enough beer and persuasion, you'll illicit at least one honest statement about the 35-year old hard rock quartet: Kiss has a good thing going.

Peas and carrots. Nitro and glycerine. Simmons and Stanley.

Indeed they do. Saturday's show, which clocked in at two hours on the nose, was everything Kiss fans could expect, and you can take that however you will.

It's at once a compliment to the 50-something rock tycoons, and a slight against them. The set began comfortably--a black curtain shrouded the stage, emblazoned with a silver Kiss logo. And at precisely 9 o'clock, Paul Stanley's shrill alto bristled through the sold-out crowd with the lines even he, in a gin daze after 35 years of touring, probably doesn't have to write on the back of his guitar: "You wanted the best? You got the best! The hottest band in the world!"

Drop the curtain and commence.

The stage set up was a delight--aside from some next-generation television monitors, which served as a backdrop to the drum riser and the light bulb Kiss logo, this was the Kiss stage fondly captured in photographs from their late-'70s prime. Through the first half of the set, which was heavy with hits like "Hotter Than Hell," "Cold Gin," and "Black Diamond," the show managed to express a majesty and a hair-raising sense of spectacle that was surely nostalgic even for generations of fans for whom the band's prime years are just paragraphs in a biography.

Musically, the set sagged in the middle. Limpid singles from their most recent album, Sonic Boom, tread the same ground as their great successes like Dynasty and Destroyer, but with the boredom and predictability anyone should expect from middle-aged performers who self-define as businessmen first and rock musicians a distant second.

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