Who is the most popular member of KISS?
Perhaps the best way to figure it out is looking at which character fans emulated in the band’s Fresno stop.
I didn’t see any Space Aces. Sorry, Tommy Thayer.
You Want the Best? You Got the Best
KISS appeared in Fresno Friday (Feb. 8) night for its last tour ever. At least until the next one. If this was the true sendoff, the jam-packed Save Mart Center loved it.
Watching a KISS concert live is a visceral experience. There is the blinding brightness of the stage lights; the boom of the pyro; the searing heat of the flames; and the bass that pulsates through your chest.
Fresno fans wanted the best, and KISS gave it to them. Lasers, fireworks, flaming guitars! And, of course, the makeup and costumes. After 45-plus years, it can’t be easy to work on stage in platform shoes.
KISS bookended the 20-song set with its two most famous songs, “Detroit Rock City” to open and “Rock and Roll All Nite” to close.
The intervening two hours was pure KISS: loud and powerful.
The band members may not be hopping and bopping anymore, but the moving parts of the stage made up for it. Platforms on each corner raised and lowered. Drummer Eric Singer also had his platform move up and down. The finale had guitarists Gene Simmons and Thayer swing around the crowd on giant cranes with platforms on the end.
Click on the image on top to catch a portion of “War Machine.”
Gene and Paul
Simmons may be 69 years old, but The Demon doesn’t look a day over 40. As he started “God of Thunder” midway through the show, he performed his staple tongue wagging blood gimmick.
While Simmons may be the band member who attracts the most mainstream attention, Paul Stanley performs led vocals and is the concert leader. He introduced the songs and spoke with the crowd. At times, he screamed like he was a pro wrestler (no allusions to the actual KISS-based wrestler in 1999 WCW intended — Stanley did a much better job).
Stanley showed that even at 67, he still moves around. For “Love Gun” and “I Was Made for Lovin’ You,” Stanley hopped on a ring apparatus attached to a cable from the ceiling. He swung all the way to a stage hovering over the crowd toward the back of the arena.
There were no political or social messages during the show, other than a brief Stanley rant on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
But, KISS and its KISS Army never seemed to care what others felt about their musicianship. If the critics didn’t like it, they could kiss their … ring.