KISS PUT THE “ASS” IN “MASSACHUSETTS”
When you go to a KISS show, you expect certain things. Explosions, blood, loud noises, drunken fist-pumping, explosions, fire, platforms, explosions, demon/starchild/alien/cat faces, obnoxious amounts of sequins, and possibly even explosions. It might seem cliché and it might seem over-done, but that’s what comes to mind when you think KISS + concert. So it’s a good thing they know that, too, because their show at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA was the loudest, brightest, most epileptic-fit causing explosion, ever.
Let’s just skip over the opening bands because well, they were Mediocre: The Band, Scene Bullshit: The Band, and More Popular Scene Bullshit: The Band. The only thing I can remember from that terribly boring trio (I’m not kidding, I played BrickBreaker on my phone I was so underwhelmed. And I usually pity openers and try to give them a chance) is that the last group wised up to their audience and finally decided to cater to them by playing a cover of Sweet’s “Fox on the Run.” But KISS is nothing if not a group of smart businessmen (Well, one member in particular… and that’s putting it nicely), so there were a fair amount of shrieking teenagers cheering for the openers.
But overall, the audience consisted of old KISS fans and their surprisingly excited kids. You’d think kids would hate anything their parents were into, but the amount of truly, sincerely, excited children was kind of amazing. Oh, and there was that priceless moment when your Mr. Average Masshole kept screaming, “Yeeeeeeah, they’re gonna play ‘Sonic Boom!’ Sonic BOOM. SONIC BOOM,” until his eight-year-old daughter imperiously informed him that that was the name of the album, not the song. Oh, how I laughed.
It was my first KISS show, and since they’re one of those bands you have to see live, I was willing to put up with the headache that is getting to Mansfield, which is 45 minutes outside of Boston. I’m sorry, but Mansfield sucks. Everyone knows it. Even KISS — Paul Stanley kept calling it “Boston.” But once the show started, it really didn’t matter where we were. The set list was a mix of new songs like “Modern Day Delilah,” songs everyone knows like “Calling Dr. Love” and “Love Gun,” and really old hits, like “Shock Me” and “Firehouse,” for the truly dedicated fans.
I myself am not the hugest KISS fan. I like some songs here and there, and though Detroit Rock City is my favorite movie, it’s for every other reason except KISS (Come on: “Disco blows dogs for quarters!” It’s a highly underrated movie, go watch it.). But this was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been to. Paul Stanley strutted, pranced, and shook his ass, and his stage banter was excellently delivered. He catcalled everyone, he made lewd comments that elicited raucous roars from the crowd (and confused looks from their kids), and he got an entire arena to scream his name and sing the opening of “Black Diamond,” which is not an easy song.
Gene did his trademark moves; obscene things with his guitar, spitting blood, and basically glaring at everyone. Especially when he flew above the stage to perform “I Love It Loud.” Even Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, who nobody really notices, put on a good show, pouting and flaunting their coolness as they were lifted up and down on-stage. It’s all the stuff they’ve done before and for which they are famous, but it didn’t come off as tired because they all had such fantastic energy. They were really tight as a group, and it’s truly something to see how such a rehearsed show can seem spontaneous and fun.
It was kind of amusing to see that everyone (and I mean everyone, from the drunk Red Sox fans to the really Krusty Kiss fans) knew all the words to “Beth” and “I Was Made For Loving You.” But then, everyone knew the words to every. Single. Song. The chanting and roaring reached fever pitch with the final two songs, “Gad Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll to You” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll All Night.”
I’d recommend catching them before any of their members have to undergo hip replacement surgery, because it’s just one of those live music experiences you have to see. It was totally worth the trek back to Boston at 12 a.m. when all the trains had stopped running…