2019 may go down as the year that classic rock arena tours began to disappear, with a bunch of classic acts (supposedly) bidding farewell to the live stage. From Elton John to Slayer, one by one these legends are ghosting on us and leaving only records and artifacts like shaky youtube vids for us to remember them by. The most shocking one (and maybe least believable?) is the retirement of one of the most lauded live bands there is, KISS.
The KISS live show isn’t just a gig, it has been – through the years – a blueprint for arena bombast with pyro, fireworks, moving rigs, vomiting blood, ziplines, fireeating and all manner of showmanship on the live stage. Say what you will about the songs, which are clearly rooted in the megaton glam approach of Slade, KISS live is all about mondo-production, over-the-top showmanship and, in some ways, just plain value with respect to bang for the buck. If a Swans gig is the film equivalent of a tense, slow-burn action-er, then Kiss is a Jerry Bruckheimer film – loud and obnoxious but packed to the gills with effects and production value.
But KISS does have tracks, and lots of them. And while the band’s third area appearance this year at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on 8/14 (the band plays its final NYC gig at Barclays next week) did feel packed with hits, including some unexpected ones (like “Beth” which was performed by Eric Singer even though it was written and sung by original drummer Peter Criss, “Crazy Crazy Nights” and others), there were some major classic omissions (like “Strutter,” “Hotter than Hell,” “Hard Luck Woman” and others). Regardless, it felt like an excellent slice of the band’s career, reaching all the way from the band’s early works up to and including Psycho Circus. The band took to the stage with “Detroit Rock City” and a monolithic pyro show, ending with even more pyro and their classic “Rock n Roll All Nite” for an encore. Head below for the full setlist.
The KISS “End of the Road World Tour” continues on, and if it is truly the last you’ll see of them catch them as soon as you can – whether you like them or not. Gigs this wildly fun and over the top in the arena are truly few and far between.
ICYMI, head to our Instagram for a play-by-play via our stories while it lasts. Check out some more videos and a few more pics below...
8/14 Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Detroit Rock City
Shout It Out Loud
I Love It Loud
Heaven's on Fire
Lick It Up
Calling Dr. Love
God of Thunder
Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll
I Was Made for Lovin' You
Crazy Crazy Nights
Rock and Roll All Nite