Kiss/The Envy (Saturday, September 4, 2010—Minnesota State Fairgrounds Grandstand, St. Paul, MN) Ticket price: $70.00
I didn’t even know I would be attending this show before last week, since my weekend road trip to the Twin Cities was sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing. But when I was looking for something to do on a Saturday night in the Twin Cities and discovered that the Hottest Band In The World would be in town, I said “What the hey,” and snagged a ticket for my second Kiss concert in nine months and 17th in 31 years. Yes, I admit it—I’m a Kiss junkie, but you know what? I don’t give a monkey’s what other people think about what I do anymore, and as a certain Kiss lyric goes, “it ain’t a crime to be good to yourself.” I like to think of it this way: If you like BBQ ribs, you don’t just eat them once and never touch them again, right? I know what I’m getting at a Kiss show, and I enjoy it. And to their everlasting credit, Kiss is constantly updating their show by adding new effects and tweaking the set list, and in many ways, this was an even better show than I saw at Sprint Center here back in December, in spite of the crummy venue it was played in this time.
Stanley did his usual "flying" bit during "I Was Made For Lovin' You" out to the small rotating stage in the crowd that was only 20 yards or so to my right. He also threw in the first verse of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” during the intro to “Black Diamond”. There was a time when Kiss would play the exact same set list night after night during the Reunion and “Farewell” Tours when Frehley and Peter Criss were in the band, but this was a vastly different set list than the show I saw in December at Sprint Center. Now I’m beginning to see Ace and Peter’s limitations as musicians, because Thayer and Singer are much more flexible and able to adapt to different material more easily, whereas Ace and Peter could only get through the same 18 songs every night, especially Peter. When Kiss toured Japan in ’01 with Singer replacing Criss, it’s no small coincidence that they tried out some songs they hadn’t played in years like “Take Me” and “Mr. Speed”.
Kiss also flip-flopped the batting order a bit this time, with “Detroit Rock City” closing the show and “Rock And Roll All Nite” returning to its customary “clean-up” spot, so to speak, at the end of the encores where it belongs. As with last time, the band played an extended six-song encore that included “Shout It Out Loud”, which also fits in much better toward the end than early on like they’ve done in recent years. Before the encore, the band honored some local armed forces personnel and Paul even led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance before presenting a check to the military men for almost $350,000 for the charity Kiss sponsors called Wounded Warriors Care Fund, which goes toward helping wounded servicemen and women. Right afterwards, someone down front threw a wad of cash that landed at Stanley’s feet, which I thought was rather cool. And in another new wrinkle, Kiss dusted off Gene Simmons’ favorite song, “Beth” with Eric Singer on vocals and Stanley and Thayer on acoustic guitars. This was the first time I’d ever actually seen them PLAY this song live in person all these years as opposed to Peter Criss singing along to the backing track—why in blue blazes couldn’t they have done it like this when Pete was in the band? Oh well, Singer lived up to his surname and did a nice job. By the time they got to “Rock And Roll All Nite”, Kiss had played 21 songs and well over two hours, but the fun wasn’t over yet. The traditional confetti storm during RARAN transformed the Grandstand into a faux winter wonderland, although it wouldn’t surprise me if it really does snow in September around these parts! Kiss finished up with their usual show-ending pyrotechnics, and as soon as their last bomb went off, more bombs started bursting in air behind the stage as a hellacious fireworks display got underway. I’m not sure if this was Kiss’ doing or if it was part of the State Fair itself, but this thing went on for a good 20 minutes, and was most impressive, and the resulting mushroom cloud it left behind hovered over St. Paul and was visible for miles—I could actually see it from Bloomington on the way back to my hotel!
Opening act The Envy is a five-piece out of Toronto. I arrived to hear the last four songs of their set, which was nothing terribly earth-shattering, but they didn't suck, either. They sounded slightly U2-ish at times.
As I departed the venue following the rocket's red glare, I encountered this dude in the pic posing for photos with fans. He wasn't the real Gene Simmons, but a damn good facsimilie of him. I’m all set for Kiss concert #18 now, as this never gets old with me. Don’t know if Kiss plans any more K.C. dates any time soon, but to Gene and Paul and the boys I say, “Y’all come back now, y’hear?”
SET LIST: Modern Day Delilah/Cold Gin/Let Me Go, Rock ‘N’ Roll/ Firehouse/Say Yeah/Deuce/Crazy Crazy Nights/Calling Dr. Love/Shock Me/I’m An Animal/100,000 Years/I Love It Loud/Love Gun/Black Diamond (w/excerpt from Whole Lotta Love)/Detroit Rock City ENCORE: Beth/Lick It Up/Shout It Out Loud/I Was Made For Lovin’ You/God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You II/Rock And Roll All Nite