Evaluation: Kiss provide a flashy and fiery final waltz down reminiscence lane as Finish of the Highway tour hits the Saddledome

Evaluation: Kiss provide a flashy and fiery final waltz down reminiscence lane as Finish of the Highway tour hits the Saddledome

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It didn’t take lengthy Sunday night time for Kiss frontman/guitarist Paul Stanley to sum up what the viewers may anticipate on the Saddledome.

After solely two songs, he promised to play “previous stuff, older stuff and oldest stuff.” If anybody forgot that that is supposedly the band’s final waltz, Stanley made some extent to say greater than as soon as that this cease on the fiftieth anniversary Finish of the Highway tour could be the act’s last time enjoying Calgary.

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Kiss at the Saddledome
Paul Stanley of KISS performs the Saddledome in Calgary on Sunday, November 12, 2023. Jim Wells/Postmedia Jim Wells/Postmedia

However even when this wasn’t the case, it’s uncertain Stanley and his long-time cohort Gene Simmons would have been digging into the deep-cut vaults or enjoying a batch of nuisance new songs for the viewers.This was all about nostalgia, one thing the Calgary department of the Kiss Military was completely happy to embrace Sunday night time because the four-piece act supplied a flashy, predictable however undeniably entertaining journey down reminiscence lane.

To counsel the band — which additionally contains Tommy Thayer on guitar and drummer Eric Singer — favours flash over substance is stating the apparent.  For the previous half a century, Simmons and Stanley have turned that method right into a profitable faith, or a minimum of a profitable long-term advertising plan. Sunday’s live performance was a sturdy reminder of what the band does finest:  providing endearingly campy theatrics with catchy, if often skinny, musical backing. Certain, a few of the band’s hits have aged higher than others. Psycho Circus, from 1998, sounds a bit sluggish lately and God of Thunder sounds downright fossilized. However, for probably the most half, the setlist supplied a well-paced assessment of a few of the band’s most interesting moments. In any case, there isn’t a denying the attraction of the rudimentary however sticky hooks discovered on classics comparable to opener Detroit Rock Metropolis, Shout it Out Loud, Heaven’s on Hearth, Love Gun, I Like it Loud, the splendidly sleazy Black Diamond and the show-closing Rock and Roll All Nite. All have been highlights on Sunday.

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Kiss at the Saddledome
Gene Simmons of KISS performs the Saddledome in Calgary on Sunday, November 12, 2023. Jim Wells/Postmedia Jim Wells/Postmedia

The band was solely half-a-dozen songs into the night when Simmons supplied his hallmark fire-spitting, a lot to the delight of the gang. All the present, actually, had the sense of an ever-accelerating spectacle. Whereas many stadium acts use pyrotechnics and flames to punctuate a climax, they have been a gentle presence all through the 23-song set. Sure, it was an old-school rock spectacle on steroids, proper right down to the climactic finale of balloons, streamers and confetti falling from the rafters. Granted, it may very well be prompt by the overly essential that a lot of the live performance was additionally undeniably dated. However even when trotting out some drained stadium cliches — the prolonged drum and guitar solos, the prolonged guitar duel between Stanely and Thayer — it was with sufficient enthusiasm, vitality and visible flash to maintain up the full of life tempo.

Simmons’ compulsory effects-laden “bass solo” stands out as the musically excrutiating a part of the night, but it surely additionally permits him to spit up blood whereas bathed in a lizard-green gentle. The viewers would have possible rioted if he didn’t pull this out of his bag of tips one final time. Stanley’s screechy between-song chatter additionally appeared like a relic from one other time. (Save that voice for the excessive notes, Paul!). He typically appeared like a cheery Sam Kinison or perhaps a hip youth pastor screaming himself hoarse whereas making an attempt to win over teenagers on the church picnic.

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Kiss at the Saddledome
Guitarist Tommy Thayer of KISS performs the Saddledome in Calgary on Sunday, November 12, 2023. Jim Wells/Postmedia Jim Wells/Postmedia

Opening the night time was Oshawa’s Juno winners Crown Land, a comparatively new duo who performed an agreeable set of old-school prog-rock. The band sounds, and attire,  like acts from the previous. Together with his high-pitched howl of a  singing voice, it’s tempting to counsel drummer-vocalist Cody Bowles wears his love for Rush’s Geddy Lee on his sleeve however he   wasn’t sporting any sleeves. All in all, the 2 might have been decidedly extra low-key than Kiss, however they did provide their very own journey down reminiscence lane.

Kiss at the Saddledome
Eric Singer of KISS performs the Saddledome in Calgary on Sunday, November 12, 2023. Jim Wells/Postmedia Jim Wells/Postmedia

Which isn’t to say that viewers was made up solely of authentic Kiss followers. A part of the enjoyable Sunday night time was seeing face-painted elders there with their kids and grandchildren (perhaps great-grandchildren?) in tow.  So whereas there might have been loads of old-school followers who’ve watched this actual schtick quite a few occasions over time, it’s possible there have been additionally many who have been watching Simmons fire-breath and spit-up blood, Stanley zip-line by the viewers or Eric Singer croon the previous piano ballad Beth for the primary time. Will it even be the final time these newbies will be capable to see Kiss? We’re assured it will likely be. However, as Motley Crue lately proved, the promise of a farewell tour is well damaged when these creaky outfits understand there may be nonetheless cash to be made. Nonetheless, even when that is the final time we see Simmons, Stanley, Thayer and Singer on stage, there was no actual sense of melancholy to the night. It wasn’t bitter-sweet.

It was simply candy: a sugary blast from the previous for the devotees.

Kiss fans at the Saddledome
KISS followers are prepared because the band readies to hit the Saddledome stage in Calgary on Sunday, November 12, 2023. Jim Wells/Postmedia Jim Wells/Postmedia
Kiss fans at the Saddledome
KISS followers are prepared because the band readies to hit the Saddledome stage in Calgary on Sunday, November 12, 2023. Jim Wells/Postmedia Jim Wells/Postmedia

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