When I think back to my musical journey, there is no bigger influence than KISS. Yet, those that know me, know very well that I am able to see a band and have an honest opinion about what I have seen regardless of how much I enjoy the band. The last time I had seen KISS was many years ago in the same location I saw them tonight, Wheatland, CA at the Toyota Amphitheater. And yes, I had seen them numerous times over the years at The Forum, Costa Mesa Amphitheater, Arco Arena, as well as PAUL STANLEY solo, yada yada. Aside from age, the opening acts were quite different whereas tonight it was the Sacramento based artist, DAVID GARIBALDI, the prior concert had TED NUGENT and AMERICAN PEARL as the openers. What had stopped me from seeing them in recent years? Simple, I didn't want to be disappointed yet tonight was far from a disappointment. I cherished all of my memories of KISS and wanted them to be maintained.
Spending the first two songs doing photos, I was still able to enjoy the standard opening track, Detroit Rock City which was followed by Shout It Out Loud. The band sounded tight and I give much credit to the incredibly talented ERIC SINGER on drums and TOMMY THAYER on guitar who as replacements definitely raised the bar. As everyone on stage has aged, they do look good and I admire their ability to still move around in the 7-inch platforms with the weight of the costumes and play and sing. And it's very apparent that they all love to entertain the crowd and give them what they want.
There was much talk (in the past year) about what was live and what wasn't and there are many other bands (of many years the junior of KISS) today faking their performances whereas what was on stage tonight, despite minor hiccups, was on point. The setlist (found here) had the usual suspects Cold Gin, Love Gun, Calling Dr. Love, and the closer Rock And Roll All Nite, my ears would have loved to hear the full version of 100,000 Years or even I Want You, I Stole Your Love, or Parasite. And even though they performed some of the non-makeup era of songs, I appreciate them not forgetting the entire career. Face it, with a catalog this deep, the old saying rings true, you can't please all of the people all of the time, and you can only please some of the people some of the time.
But with that said, I was more than pleased at being given the incredible tickets ad the opportunity to shoot (photo that is), GENE SIMMONS and PAUL STANLEY in concert as they are the holy grail when it comes to my musical journey being the reason this site exists in the first place as they ignited my passion for music. While the end of the road might be slowly approaching, I can say I was entertained the way KISS meant for the fans to be entertained - Makeup, Costumes, Loud Music, Confetti, Fireworks, Spitting Blood, Breathing Fire, Levitating Drums, Flying to the Crowd, and songs that keep you singing for 2 hours.
All Pics By Me