Ten most clichéd rock moments from the KISS show last night at Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
This KISS comes with tongue.
KISS was doing clichéd rock-star antics before Spinal Tap made them famous. Hell, they practically invented 'em. There's not much that KISS has done that wasn't somehow referenced in the classic 1984 mockumentary. With that, we present the ten most clichéd rock-star moments from KISS's performance last night at Comfort Dental Amphitheatre. (All photos by Eric Gruneisen.)
10. Referring to the Audience by the City's Name:
"Denvah! Are you with me?!?!" "Denvah! I can't hear y'all!" "God bless y'all, Denvah!"
09. The I-Can't-Hear-You Goading
Oh, Paul Stanley. The thousands of black-T-shirt-clad fans, neck veins popping out, screaming to the point of hyperventilation, suggest that you can hear us just fine.
08. The Un-Retirement
Journey, the Eagles, the Sex Pistols, Boyzone... the list of once-luminary acts returning for some of the magic of past glory years is long and strong. No one in the crowd seemed to mind that the face-painted foursome is now approaching or in their sixth decade (Gene Simmons will turn 63 in a couple weeks), or that the band hasn't had a bona fide hit since 1990. They were there to play the hits, and the audience was more than enthused to lick it up.
07. Playing New Songs Nobody Cares About
Yes, "Hell or Hallelujah" is a return to form for KISS's 1970s glory years. But when the band played it last night, nobody seemed enthused to hear it. That doesn't make it a bad song. It just means that, if songs were a cage match, the beloved-but-gentle "Beth" would trounce any of KISS's post-1990 output in the first round.
06. The Giant, Ever-Present Branding
This is a KISS show? Damn. Wouldn't have known if not for the towering light display, three stories high, advertising the band's name. Truth be told, this is not just a rock-star thing. Even the sensitive singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka had his name prominently displayed on the behind-stage banner when he played at the Bluebird earlier this week.
05. Ignoring that Missing Members Are Missing
By all accounts, drummer Eric Singer and lead guitarist Tommy Thayer are decent -- no, excellent -- musicians. But they're not Peter Criss or Ace Frehley, despite wearing identical stage makeup. Thayer sang "Shock Me," a Frehley song. Neither Paul Stanley nor Gene Simmons, the sole remainders of the band's original lineup, made reference to the absence. This kind of prompts the question: To what extent is the purity of the band even important? And if Paul and Gene were gone, replaced by unknown musicians, would it even matter that much? [Editor: Uh, yes.]
04. The Devil Horns/I Love You Hand Gesture
Folks were in terminal Beavis and Butt-head mode last night, headbanging with their hands in the air. But their signals were a tad confusing. Quick lesson: if you attach your thumb to your middle and ring finger, extending the index and pinky, this means "Hail Satan." (Turn your palm inward for maximum effect.) If you leave your thumb outstretched and your middle and ring fingers tucked into your palm, that means "I love you." Got it? Now rock out. [Ed: In KISS's case, both apply.]
03. Ax-Shredding Guitar Antics
Paul Stanley ended last night's gig by slamming his guitar on stage, breaking the neck from the body. Pete Townshend has been doing this for nearly forty years. John Hiatt wrote a song about it. It's been done so often, it's a cliché now.
02. The Singer-Going-Into-the-Crowd Thing
What is it about rock singers that make them want to get out among the sweaty masses? Whatever it is, Paul Stanley definitely had that fever last night, as he swung above the crowd on a pulley-type contraption, onto a revolving stage that towered above the audience. Side note: Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne may have perfected this gimmick with his life-sized bubble that turned him into a giant human beach ball.
01. Party Till You Puke
So many drunk folks in the crowd last night. Jesus. The air smelled heavily of rum, weed and -- later in the evening -- bodily fluids. Folks lose all self-control when KISS comes to town -- duh! We all know what comes after the "I want to rock and roll all night" refrain don't we? Thus, getting blasted is (and always will be) a time-honored rock-crowd tradition. Party on, Garth.
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