REVIEW AND SLIDE SHOW: KISS puts on ‘Hotter Than Hell’ show
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
12/09/09 at 11:18 AM
Read firsthand accounts from
KISS fans of past concerts and
Nearly a decade after its farewell tour, the larger-than-life, greasepaint, leather and platform-wearing quartet still stomps out hits. Big time.
Some 35 years after the band's inception, Tuesday night's KISS concert at the BOK Center was Disney gone horror show. When it comes to rock 'n' roll, that's a very, very good thing.
From the audience pit railing, a pint-sized devil-faced Gene Simmons hoisted his rock hand at the real deal, who towered over him and returned the salute. The devil grinned and twirled, cape spinning out as he strutted away.
The night was full of "classic vintage KISS," yelled singer and guitarist Paul Stanley. He led a cheeky, rock pep rally and cheering contests between youngsters and oldsters. Of course, they all won.
Indeed, the set list was heavy with early classics that exploded in old-school showmanship. "Deuce," "Strutter," "Hotter Than Hell," "Calling Dr. Love," "Shock Me," "Rock and Roll All Nite," "Shout it Out Loud," "Lick it Up" and more pounded out with fierce volume and ecstatic cries from the crowd.
They struck out on a vintage hit parade that included party anthems about women, sex, private parts, women, sex acts and bombast. And sex. And bombast. And women.
There were smoke grenades, fire breathing, blinding strobes, silver-glittered platform boots, rows and rows of video screens, stories-tall LED projection screens, blood-spitting, aerial acrobatics, whirling stage platforms, noodling guitar solos.
What else? And that tongue — bassist Gene Simmons' outstretched, crimson-wet, wagging, taunting tongue.
If all the showmanship didn't all so utterly embody the very essence of KISS — and genuine rock 'n' roll — it would be a tired, hilariously overdone cliché.
Many claim that KISS invented the spectacle of arena rock some 35 years ago. For this tour, the band re-invented it.
Stanley gets it. At times, the near-parody brought the crowd to laughter. It's always better to laugh near, not at, right?
It was surreal when Stanley warned about the dangers of drunken driving before launching into "Cold Gin." Yeah, he said it. Paul Stanley, one of the most bombastic grease-painted faces in rock, pushed a little bit of personal responsibility onto his fans.
He also touted new classics and WalMart — about half a dozen times — before launching into the first tune of the night from their first studio album in 11 years, "Sonic Boom."
Though new, it only warranted two songs in the two-hour concert: "Modern Day Delilah" and "Say Yeah."
At times, the guys looked a bit awkward when they'd go knock-kneed, hovering over 8-inch platform boots as they leaned into blistering guitar and bass solos. But c'mon, they were playing "Detroit Rock City." Confetti cannons exploded. Fireballs flash-heated the arena.
Lead guitarist Tommy Thayer's the babe-in-ax at age 49. He also stole the show with his four-minute long solo and his rocket-shooting guitar, which happened to take out a piece of scaffolding.
So what if all of the guys in the band are firmly embedded in middle age. They've had a lifetime to perfect this. Heck, they practically invented it.
Tulsa band HECTOR Backwoods opened the show, winning a locally sponsored, fan vote-in run by KMOD. The polished and powerful set screamed with Southern rock swagger.
The band deftly blended "Would"-era Alice in Chains with the steely sounds of "In My Time of Dying"-era Led Zeppelin and shots of pure adrenaline.
To see all of the Tulsa World slide shows, go to tulsaworld.com/photos.
Band at Hard Rock Tulsa
We know where KISS is
staying while in town.
And now you do, too.
Band members Tommy
Thayer, Gene Simmons,
Eric Singer and Paul Stanley
are staying at the Hard
Rock Hotel and Casino in
Tulsa through Wednesday,
On Wednesday, the band
will address fans in a press
conference and sign items
for display in the casino at
4 p.m. at the Hard Rock Casino
It is free and open to the
public, and fans are welcome
to bring cameras for
pictures and more, said
Kelli Brewer, public relations
manager for Cherokee
which handles PR
for the casino. The rock act
will be in full costume and
makeup, too, she said.
The event will be at the
grand lobby entrance of
the Hard Rock Hotel and
Casino, at the junction of
I-44 and South 193rd East
Avenue. For more information,
Jennifer Chancellor 581-8346
Gene Simmons (left), Tommy Thayer and Paul Stanley of KISS perform Tuesday at the BOK Center. STEPHEN HOLMAN/Tulsa World
KISS bassist Gene Simmons shows off his famous tongue at the BOK Center on Tuesday. STEPHEN HOLMAN/Tulsa World