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The KISS Album Focus Volumes, 1 – 4 [Book Review]

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 The KISS Album Focus, Volume 1: Kings of the Night Time World (1972 – 1982)
The KISS Album Focus, Volume 2: Hell or High Water (1983 – 1996)
The KISS Album Focus, Volume 3: Roar of Greasepaint (1997 – 2006)
The KISS Album Focus, Volume 4: Never Enough (2006 – 2013)
by Julian Gill Publishing

For many years, the website (not affiliated with or endorsed by the band KISS) was the source of a lot of great info on the band. What I found most entertaining and informative was the website’s “KISS Album Focus” series where the band’s recording history was broken down into detail. These considerably lengthy articles were all posted and available for free. Eventually, he Album Focus articles were pulled from the site and were slowly released in book format starting in 2002 (with updated editions being published at various points). As of this writing, the series covers the band beginnings all the way up to 2013.

In addition to KISS albums, these books also focus on what every band member was up to pre- & post-KISS. Various editions of albums and singles are discussed as well.

I’ve read a lot of KISS books over the years and these are some of the best. While this isn’t technically a biography of the band, it does cover every album the band has released (including compilations and live albums) and talks about events during and leading up those releases.

I started with Volume 2 because it covers my favorite era of the band. I think KISS’ run during the ’80s and early ’90s is much more interesting than the classic period. We’ve heard all the stories from the band’s 1970s heyday a million times. so my eyes and ears always perk up when I get to read about what went on post-originals/pre-reunion.

Next I purchased volumes three and four. Volume 3 was interesting because it focuses on the reunion and while I already knew that Psycho Circus wasn’t a true reunion album, I didn’t realize how much of a mess relations were in the band from the get-go. Volume 4 covers the shortest amount of time out of all the books and according has the least amount of pages. I was a bit disappointed with this one because I felt surely there’d be much more to say with the band kick-starting their creatives juices with the releases of Sonic Boom and Monster.

Finally, I picked up Volume 1. I almost bought the $5 Kindle version because the paperback was listed as being out of print and prices on copies of it skyrocketed up around $40. Just a few days earlier the paperback was in stock and had been listed at around $17 or so. I mulled over whether I wanted an e-book to complete the set but after doing that for a few weeks, Amazon got more paperback copies in, so everything turned out okay.

My biggest complaint about this series is that Julian Gill really could’ve used an editor (or a spell-check/grammar check program). Words are omitted, words are misspelled, entire paragraphs are repeated but worded differently… This happens throughout the entire series but seems to happen the most in Volume 1.

I wouldn’t recommend these books to a casual KISS fan that may only pick up a Gene Simmons book for a quick read, but all hardcore KISS fans should read and love this series. These are books I’ll be referring to and re-reading certain chapters for many more years to come!

KISS – Revenge [Review]


KISS – Revenge
1992, Mercury Records
Buy the album at

1. “Unholy”
2. “Take It Off”
3. “Tough Love”
4. “Spit”
5. “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II”
6. “Domino”
7. “Heart of Chrome”
8. “Thou Shalt Not”
9. “Every Time I Look at You”
10. “Paralyzed”
11. “I Just Wanna”
12. “Carr Jam 1981”

Paul Stanley – Vocals, Guitar
Gene Simmons – Vocals, Bass
Bruce Kulick – Guitar, Backing Vocals, Bass
Eric Carr – Backing Vocals (“God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II”), Drums & Guitar (“Carr Jam 1981”)
Eric Singer – Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Personnel:
Dick Wagner – Guitar (“Every Time I Look at You”)
Kevin Valentine – Drums (“Take It Off”)
Tommy Thayer – Backing Vocals
Jesse Damon – Backing Vocals

Producer: Bob Ezrin

By the mid-1980s, KISS was becoming a hair metal band. Not that I have a problem with that, because I consider KISS to be among the godfathers of hair metal (along with Aerosmith, Alice Cooper and Van Halen). But by the early ’90s, the world was changing and music was definitely changing. Bubblegum metal was no longer the flavor of choice. Bands like Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Megadeth and the like were starting to experience great commercial success with a harder sound. While the band didn’t make a drastic change in sound like they would do for 1997’s Carnival of Souls, their was a conscious effort on their part to retool their image a bit and get a bit tougher. Most of the promo shots from this era feature the band in black denim and black leather.

The album was also a shot at “redemption” for Bob Ezrin as he helped take the band to new heights with Destroyer but his collaboration with the band on Music From “The Elder” took the band to new lows in popularity. What’s funny now is, in hindsight, it seems most KISS fans now enjoy Music from “The Elder”. Of course, the band reunited with someone else from their past in Vinnie Vincent, but in a songwriting capacity only. He receives writing credits on “Unholy”, “Heart of Chrome” and “I Just Wanna”. With Ezrin and Vincent having been called in, the band was making a serious effort to deliver the best KISS album yet. According to Bruce Kulick, Gene, Paul & Bob Ezrin were extremely picky when it came to song writing on the album.

In fact, Revenge is the album where KISS’ past, present & future unite. Gene, Paul, Vinnie, Bruce Kulick, Eric Carr, Eric Singer and future guitarist Tommy Thayer all participate on the album in some form or another. I guess Ace, Peter and Mark St. John were too busy to stop by!

For the music itself, Revenge generally receives good praise. Among fans, it competes most often with Lick It Up as the best non-makeup album. Given that this was one of the last KISS albums I needed to fill the hole in my own collection, I tend to look at many of KISS’ other outputs more fondly just because I’ve spent more time with them. In fact, I heard Alive III and MTV Unplugged before I ever heard Revenge, so even now the studio versions sound “off” to me because I’m used to the live/acoustic versions .

There’s definitely some great cuts on this album though. “Unholy” kicks off the album with a darker sound than KISS had previously employed. Gene completely owns this song, it’s one of his best and it works even better when performed live in the Demon make-up. “Take It Off” is a strip club song (and a great one at that), “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II” is a re-imagining of the Argent song that will forever be tied to Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey and “Domino” is yet again another amazing Gene track. Meanwhile, Paul shines on the ballad “Every Time I Look at You” and the fun and nearly-naughty “I Just Wanna” (“fuh-fuh-fuh-forget you!”).

The album closes with “Carr Jam 1981”, which was a demo recorded by Eric Carr early in his tenure in the band and was included as a tribute due to his passing away from complications of heart cancer on November 24, 1991. I believe Bruce Kulick did some work on the track after Eric’s passing in preparation for its inclusion on the album.

Though it’s not without some filler (“Spit”, “Paralyzed”), Revenge is not only one of the band’s best non-makeup albums, it’s also one of their best albums in their whole catalog.

Highlights: “Unholy”, “Take It Off”, “Tough Love”, “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II”, “Domino”, “Heart of Chrome”, “Every Time I Look at You”, “I Just Wanna”

My thoughts on KISS getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and album reviews coming

If you follow the world of rock/metal online, you’d be hard pressed not to know that KISS is finally getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 10, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. You’d also have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the controversy surrounding which members are (and are not) getting inducted. It’s become quite a mess. Gene & Paul are having it out in the press with Ace & Peter, Gene & Paul are having it out with the HOF’s induction process, the fans are having it out with Gene & Paul, etc. It goes on and on.

Here’s what we know: the Hall of Fame is inducting only Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. The original four members of KISS and that’s it. They aren’t inducting anyone else and they don’t want anyone else (such as Tommy Thayer & Eric Singer) performing at the induction ceremony. Frankly, that’s silly, but look — KISS has been eligible for induction for a long time and for the Hall of Fame execs to put this restriction on the band is just their way to make the induction as painful as possible for KISS. It’s like they couldn’t put off leaving KISS out of the Hall any longer because the public was becoming too vocal about their exclusion but at the same time the Hall of Fame didn’t want to make it a fun/easy process for the band.

No one is arguing the founders shouldn’t be in but I think all members should be inducted and that they should be allowed to perform with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer (which the Hall does not want). My dream scenario is that everyone who has ever been in KISS gets inducted and then the classic line-up plays and then the modern line-up plays and/or they have all six of those guys (plus Bruce Kulick) jam together.

It’s not a big deal to induct every single member of KISS, so I don’t see why the Hall is resisting it:

  • No question, Eric Carr definitely deserves to be in. Great drummer and he contributed to the band for 11 years on many successful albums.
  • Bruce Kulick — same situation. He was there for 8 years and played on a number of KISS albums that went gold/platinum.
  • Vinnie Vincent. Not sure if anyone could even find this guy and he didn’t have the best relationship with Gene & Paul but even they would admit his guitar work and songwriting skills played a big hand in freshening up the band’s sound and giving them some of the best albums they’ve ever produced.
  • Eric Singer first joined KISS in 1991 after Eric Carr’s death, had a short stint in the early 2000s filling in for Peter Criss and has been their drummer since 2004 when Peter Criss once again left and has sung lead vocals on a handful of KISS tracks.
  • Tommy Thayer is a big force in the modern band. Great guitar player and he’s been playing with them since 2002 and has songwriting credits/vocal duties on the last two KISS albums. I could see someone maybe arguing against Tommy though given the time frame he joined, but I think he’s contributed enough to warrant the induction.
  • Given his very short tenure, Mark St. John is probably the only KISS member you could question for HOF status and say that he didn’t contribute much to the band… provided you consider playing on a platinum-selling album as not contributing much.

It’s nice that the band is getting inducted into something called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when you consider the people who run the Hall and the list of people who have already been inducted, it’s anything but a legit rock hall. No one in their right mind would argue that if there is such a hall that KISS deserves to be there, but it’s sad that the RNR Hall of Fame is refusing to acknowledge the entire career of the band and wants to focus only on the 1970s.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for some KISS fans but I actually applaud Gene & Paul for refusing to give in and play strictly with Ace & Peter. They want all eras of KISS to be recognized and they think Eric & Tommy deserve to stand on stage. I agree. I know there is the whole Gene & Paul vs. Ace & Peter thing, and that’s sad, but I don’t have a problem with Gene & Paul’s “all or nothing” stance.

Now, I recently noticed there’s a surprising amount of KISS albums I haven’t yet reviewed. I could’ve sworn I reviewed them all! Well, with all the buzz regarding KISS these days thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the fact that this year is the band’s 40th anniversary, there’s no better time than now to finish reviewing the band’s catalog! Be on the look out for those reviews in the coming weeks.

KISS – Monster [Review]

KISS – Monster [Limited Deluxe Edition]
(2012, Universal Music Enterprises/KISS Records)

1. “Hell or Hallelujah”
2. “Wall of Sound”
3. “Freak”
4. “Back to the Stone Age”
5. “Shout Mercy”
6. “Long Way Down”
7. “Eat Your Heart Out”
8. “The Devil Is Me”
9. “Outta This World”
10. “All for the Love of Rock & Roll”
11. “Take Me Down Below”
12. “Last Chance”

Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass, Backing Vocals
Tommy Thayer – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals
Eric Singer – Drums, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals

Producer: Paul Stanley & Greg Collins

I’m surprised KISS didn’t use the same business model as they did for Sonic Boom, which was an exclusive U.S. release through Wal-Mart. KISS may be wishing they had the muscle of Wal-Mart behind them again because even though Monster debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts, it only sold about 56,000 copies in its first week compared to Sonic Boom‘s 108,000 copies sold.

Although the album was not released exclusively through Wal-Mart, there is a limited deluxe edition that is exclusive to Wal-Mart. The CD comes with a 64-page booklet (it’s not really magazine-sized) full of photos, facts, features, interviews, lyrics and track-by-track commentary for the new album. I’m not sure if it can be picked up in stores. I got my copy on pre-order from The CD doesn’t come bundled in its own digipak or even a jewel case. It’s inserted into the inside cover.

KISS is my favorite band so I’m definitely happy they released another new studio album but at times Monster feels a bit like “been there, heard that”. This is a good album but it sounds so familiar to Sonic Boom they might as well have labeled it Sonic Boom, Vol. 2: “Hell or Hallelujah” is “Modern Day Delilah”, “The Devil Is Me” is “I’m An Animal”, “Outta This World” is “When Lightning Strikes”, “All for the Love of Rock & Roll” is “All for the Glory”, etc. Okay, maybe it doesn’t all sound like Sonic Boom… “Eat Your Heart Out” sounds like a Gene number that could’ve been on Asylum!

“Hell or Hallelujah” and “All for the Love of Rock & Roll” were instant favorites for me but the rest has taken some time to grow on me, just as the last album did. Songs like “Wall of Sound”, “Freak” (which was supposedly intended for Lady Gaga according to another review I read online) and “Back to the Stone Age” didn’t grab me at first but there’s some good stuff going on there if you stick it out. I’m really starting to get pulled into the whole album the more I listen to it. Probably the only song on this album I don’t have any affection for is the closing track “Last Chance”. Not bad but it’s filler. Poor way to close an album and Monster would’ve benefited if they limited the album to 10 tracks.

Ultimately, I think if anyone liked Sonic Boom, they’ll like this album. I definitely think Monster is the more consistent of the two (Gene brought some real clunkers to the last album) but I also believe the strongest songs from Sonic Boom are better than the strongest songs from Monster, if that makes sense. Still, this is pure KISS — big dumb fun. “Back to the Stone Age” really embodies the band at this point. They aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel, write thoughtful lyrics or expand their musical horizons. Do I think KISS can do better? Yes. But if this was the final KISS album, would I be okay with that? Yes, I would.

There is a bonus track if you buy the album through iTunes (and you have to buy the entire album to get it) called “Right Here Right Now”. It’s one of the better songs from the album and sounds equal parts ’70s KISS and late ’80s KISS. It’s a shame you can’t buy the individual track on iTunes because I definitely would as it’s better than most of what’s on this album.

Highlights: “Hell or Hallelujah”, “Wall of Sound”, “Shout Mercy”, “Long Way Down”, “Eat Your Heart Out”, “The Devil Is Me”, “All for the Love of Rock & Roll”
Buy the album at

KISS – Alive 35: Live at Cobo Arena – Detroit, MI – 9/25/09

KISS – Alive 35: Live at Cobo Arena – Detroit, MI – September 25, 2009 (2009, Concert Online)

1. “Deuce” … 4:52
2. “Strutter” … 5:13
3. “Got To Choose” … 4:43
4. “Hotter Than Hell” … 4:31
5. “Nothin’ To Lose” … 4:32
6. “C’mon And Love Me” … 3:29
7. “Parasite” … 3:59
8. “She” … 11:09
9. “Watchin’ You” … 4:10
10. “100,000 Years” … 15:40
11. “Cold Gin” … 5:25

1. “Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll” … 9:49
2. “Black Diamond” … 5:39
3. “Rock And Roll All Nite” … 10:24
4. “Shout It Out Loud” … 3:07
5. “Lick It Up” … 10:37
6. “I Love It Loud” … 4:39
7. “Modern Day Delilah” … 5:32
8. “Love Gun” … 6:46
9. “Detroit Rock City” … 6:41

Paul Stanley – Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Gene Simmons – Bass, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Tommy Thayer – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Eric Singer – Drums, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals

From the 9/25/09 Cobo Arena show in Detroit, Michigan, which I was lucky enough to attend live for my first ever KISS show. It was the kickoff show to the North American leg of the Alive 35 world tour. My initial thoughts can be found here in my concert review.

As I said in that review, Paul’s voice was a little rough in the early going, but he got better after the first couple of songs. His voice is a bit weaker than what it used to be, but he’s still doing a great job, so it’s not like he’s out there embarrassing himself. Gene’s voice is as strong as ever though and Eric’s got a great voice that’s a dead ringer for Peter Criss. As for actual musicianship, everyone was on all night long. These guys are true professionals.

I LOVED getting to hear “Love Gun” in person (my favorite KISS song) and “C’mon And Love Me” has become another favorite of mine over the years. It was a real thrill to hear “Modern Day Delilah” performed live as well. Too bad we didn’t get “Say Yeah” from Sonic Boom as well (they added that to the set list a few weeks later).

I had been meaning to get this album for awhile, but at $30, I kept putting it off. I really wanted it the night of the concert, but was low on cash by that point in the week. I can safely say this is the most I’ve ever paid for an album! But it’s a great memento from the show and well worth the money. It’s a real treasure and a very personal album from my collection that means a great deal to me.

I was pretty impressed with the shipping process. I got the CD within only a matter of days of my order being processed.

Highlights: “Strutter”, “C’mon And Love Me”, “Parasite”, “Black Diamond”, “I Love It Loud”, “Modern Day Delilah”, “Love Gun”, “Detroit Rock City”

KISS – Sonic Boom

KISS – Sonic Boom (2009, KISS Records)

Sonic Boom
1. “Modern Day Delilah” … 3:37
2. “Russian Roulette” … 4:33
3. “Never Enough” … 3:27
4. “Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)” … 3:02
5. “Stand” … 4:51
6. “Hot And Cold” … 3:36
7. “All For The Glory” … 3:50
8. “Danger Us” … 4:22
9. “I’m An Animal” … 3:48
10. “When Lightning Strikes” … 3:45
11. “Say Yeah” … 4:27

1. “Deuce” … 3:08
2. “Detroit Rock City” … 3:57
3. “Shout It Out Loud” … 2:54
4. “Hotter Than Hell” … 3:10
5. “Calling Dr. Love” … 3:26
6. “Love Gun” … 3:14
7. “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” … 4:42
8. “Heaven’s On Fire” … 3:24
9. “Lick It Up” … 3:56
10. “I Love It Loud” … 4:09
11. “Forever” … 3:53
12. “Christine Sixteen” … 2:59
13. “Do You Love Me” … 3:39
14. “Black Diamond” … 4:20
15. “Rock And Roll All Nite” … 2:49

BONUS DVD: Live in Buenos Aires DVD
1. “Deuce”
2. “Hotter Than Hell”
3. “C’mon And Love Me”
4. “Watchin’ You”
5. “100,000 Years”
6. “Rock And Roll All Nite”

Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass, Backing Vocals
Tommy Thayer – Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Eric Singer – Drums, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals

Producer: Paul Stanley & Greg Collins (Sonic Boom) and Paul Stanley & Gene Simmons (KISS Klassics)

Fantastic bang (boom?) for your buck! Following the template of Journey’s Revelation, we get: ONE brand new KISS album, ONE album featuring recently re-recorded KISS standards, and ONE DVD featuring excerpts from a Buenos Aires concert. All for $12. Not too bad.

KISS has finally returned with a brand new original studio album after 11 years of creative silence. How fitting that this larger than life band would choose to release this album exclusively in the United States with a larger than life retail store — Walmart. Hooking up with large retailers for exclusive releases is an incredibly wise move for veterans acts and AC/DC proved that in spades about this time last year with their own Walmart exclusive Black Ice.

This is a long review, but before I get into Sonic Boom, let’s discuss the bonus discs:

The first bonus disc is a CD called KISS Klassics, which features re-recorded versions of classic KISS songs by the current band members. The album was originally released on its own in Japan in 2008 under the title of Jigoku-Retsuden. It is also known as KISSology (and is not to be confused with the band’s retrospective live performance DVD series of the same name). You can’t argue with the songs here, it is what it is — a “greatest hits” compilation essentially, but I’m not a fan of the idea of a band re-recording their own material (I briefly considered ordering this as an import last year, but decided against it… I guess that worked out well!).

Basically, as was the case with Journey re-recording their own songs, this album really serves no purpose other than licensing. Gene & Paul can license these re-recorded versions out instead of the original versions (licensees won’t know/care as long as it still sounds like the originals), therefore, they don’t have to worry about splitting a large chunk of money with Ace, Peter or anyone else. Still, it’s a nice addition to the whole Sonic Boom package and it is kinda nice to hear these songs with an updated production.

Not much to say about the DVD other than it is another solid live performance from the band that is heightened by the cool visual of them playing to a HUGE crowd at River Plate Stadium in Bueno Aires, Argentina. It was recorded on April 5, 2009.

Two discs down, now onto the one that really matters… SONIC BOOM!

With KISS being my favorite band, this album was one of this decade’s most anticipated releases for me. I’ve been hoping for a long time that Gene & Paul would get up off their butts and play something NEW, but just two or three years ago both had stated they had no interest in doing that, so things seemed bleak. Thankfully, though Paul led the charge producing the album, and he made sure everyone played their instruments and the band used no outside songwriters!

Early sneak peek reviews of this album got me incredibly hyped with many of those reviews stating this was easily their best since Rock And Roll Over from 1976. I won’t take it to that extreme, but I could probably go back to 1983’s Lick It Up before I finding any album of theirs that would rival this one (Revenge is a contender, but I’ve always felt that album was overrated). Paul and Gene touted this album was a return to the “classic KISS” sound but it’s really a collection of their ’70s, ’80s and Revenge sound. At least it’s not the disappointing Psycho Circus (which was pretty much KISS singing about KISS!).

Track by track:

“Modern Day Delilah” – Great ’70s hard rock sound (though not necessarily a ’70s KISS sound), though it took me a few listens to get into it once KISS posted it online in August. One of my favorite songs from this album and check out Paul hitting those notes!

“Russian Roulette” – If I’m not mistaken, this has been a song and title that Gene has tried working onto a KISS album dating back to the 1980s. Makes sense because the song has an ’80s feel to it, maybe something from Asylum. It is another grower, I like it more than I did when I first heard it, but it barely rises above being classified as filler.

“Never Enough” – A bit generic sounding, and it is apparent that Paul’s voice has weakened a bit since his 2006 solo album Live to Win. It’s a bit more gravelly when he really lets loose, but he still sounds good.

“Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)” – Another Gene song. Now this song sounds like ’70s KISS. That’s why I hate to say this, but… it’s filler to me.

“Stand” – The album’s big anthem and it features both Gene and Paul on lead vocals. Sounds like it could be on Revenge. Would be pretty cool for them to play this one live.

“Hot And Cold” – More ’70s KISS with this Gene song with a very Ace-like solo from Tommy. I’m noticing a trend, Gene is doing ’70s KISS, Paul is doing ’80s KISS. Simple and catchy.

“All For The Glory” – Eric Singer takes over lead vocals for this one and he does a great job. I noticed this at the concert from 9/25, and I’m not sure whether this is on purpose or not, but he’s got that same kind of raspy, soulful voice that Peter has. One of the best moments on the album. Nice Tommy solo.

“Danger Us” – Great Paul song. Sounds like a mash-up of Revenge and ’70s. Such a fun chorus: “Danger you, danger me, danger us!”

“I’m An Animal” – This was the first song that really punched me in the face! This is a classic Gene stomper, showing him in all his arrogance, swagger and glory and it should be a concert staple for years to come. I would LOVE to hear this live. I’ve probably played this song more than any other.

“When Lightning Strikes” – Longtime coming, but Tommy buddy– you finally get to sing lead on a KISS album! Even better, it’s a good song.

“Say Yeah” – ’80s KISS closes out the album with another Paul song, but the chorus kind of reminds me of this decade’s Bon Jovi releases. I like it though and it ends the album on a good note.

So, the album isn’t what most of the hype led me to believe it would be, but I’m still really pleased with it and I love the fact that it is 2009 and there’s new KISS to listen to. Undoubtedly, this is one of the year’s best releases.

Highlights: “Modern Day Delilah”, “All For The Glory”, “Danger Us”, “I’m An Animal”, “When Lightning Strikes”, “Say Yeah”

Concert Review: KISS w/ Buckcherry – 9/25/09

with Buckcherry


Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan

FINALLY! Nine years after trying to see KISS on their “farewell tour” (I couldn’t find anyone who would go with me!) and five years after purchasing tickets to see them on their Rock the Nation tour (my show got canceled), I can now say that I have experienced KISS alive and in person! They’ve been the Holy Grail of concerts for me and it was everything I expected.

Supposedly, tickets were selling so well on the first day for this show that they added a show for 9/26 as well. I’m pretty sure the second date was already set in stone, but I’m also confident the show last night as a sellout, I didn’t see an empty seat in the 12,000+ capacity arena by the time KISS stormed the stage.

The show was scheduled to start at 7:30PM and my fiancee and I (the only rock show partner I have) left Lansing about 5:15 or so. I’ve never been into Detroit before, so I was a little bit anxious, hoping we could be sticking the highway and that’s exactly what we did as the highway feeds right into Cobo. After waiting for about 30-40 minutes in very slow moving line to park in Cobo’s parking complex (which they ripped me off another $10 for), we got to our seats a few minutes past 7:30.

Buckcherry setlist

Tired Of You
Next to You
Lit Up
Out of Line
Talk To Me
Rescue Me
Highway Star
Crazy Bitch

Unfortunately, Buckcherry had already started their set as we were still outside the doors trying to get our seats, but I could hear “Lit Up” playing, so thankfully, we didn’t miss to you. I would’ve love to have heard “Tired of You”, it’s a great live song and one of my favorites from the band. I was able to find out they played “Tired of You” and “Next to You” thanks to a fan from Buckcherry’s message board.

One thing I thought was funny was that sing Josh Todd mentioned he was told not to cuss while talking onstage (that didn’t really stop him, but he did hold back a bit compared to the previous shows I’ve seen them on)… Yet, almost every song Buckcherry played features cussing!

It was cool to hear them play Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”, the band covered it recently as a theme song for NASCAR and it has been placed on the re-issue of 2008’s Black Butterfly.

The band did another great expanded edition of “Crazy Bitch”, taking a brief trip into Billy Squier’s “The Stroke” (as they usually do) and also “Fire”, which I’m guessing is the title. It was a popular funk song, but I can’t remember who sang it originally.

All told, Buckcherry in the studio or live is one of the great rock bands from the last ten years. This was my third time seeing them play and it’s always a great show. As good as they were though, my mind was on KISS and by the time Buckcherry ended their set, I was ready for Gene & Paul!

KISS setlist

Got to Choose
Hotter Than Hell
Nothin’ to Lose
C’mon and Love Me
Watchin’ You
100,000 Years
Black Diamond
Cold Gin
Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll
Rock and Roll All Nite

Shout It Out Loud
Lick It Up
I Love It Loud
Modern Day Delilah
Love Gun
Detroit Rock City

Paul was especially fun to watch (he’s always been my favorite), he was prancing and dancing and running around all night long. I was also looking forward to his stage raps and I know he’s got a reputation for using the same lines at every show, but this time he mostly spoke about the band’s history with Cobo and Detroit. He mentioned they originally weren’t planning on starting the ALIVE 35 tour in Detroit, but once they heard Cobo was coming down (it’s being demolished and then will be rebuilt to a larger size), they wanted to play there. He also talked about the hard times Detroit has fallen on and said it was a sin for one of America’s greatest cities that’s given the world such great music to have such a high unemployment rate and said he knew Detroit would rise again.

There was a funny part where he was asking us where KISS should play next time they come to Detroit. He asked if they should come back The Palace of Auburn Hills, the crowd booed, so he said “where do you want us to come?”

“No, not in your mouth,” was Paul’s reply to one fan up front. It was pretty funny.

Another humorous moment was when Paul came out to join the crowd during “Love Gun” on his rotating platform. Nearing the end, after his vocal part was done, his microphone stand went down. I’m not sure he knocked it over on purpose or what, I didn’t catch that, but he pointed at it a few times for a crew member to take care of, but no one did. In anger, he kicked it towards the edge of the platform and one of the guys finally got off their butts and took it away so he could keep prancing around.

The band ran through most of Alive!, strangely leaving off “Rock Bottom” and “Firehouse”. I would’ve loved to have heard “Rock Bottom”. It was great to hear “Modern Day Delilah” and “Love Gun” and of course, they couldn’t come to Detroit without closing with “Detroit Rock City”.

I’ve seen enough KISS concert footage to know what to expect from these guys: pyro, flames, smoke, levitating drum kits, rising platforms, firebreathing, Gene doing his bat pose and flying up into the air, Paul ziplining out to the middle of the arena, rocket shooting guitars, smashing guitars… They did it all and myself and the rest of the crowd ate it up!

These guys are professionals, Tommy and Eric included. They sounded great and they looked great, so as always, KISS delivered. I will make sure to see them again when the next come around, hopefully they’ll do a tour dedicated to the new album next year.

Going to hear KISS play ALIVE… live in Detroit!

Yes, I’ll be going to this show. Tickets were surprisingly fair priced, I think. Despite KISS being my favorite band, I’ve never attended a KISS concert. Hopefully, that will change September 25th. I say “hopefully” because the one and only previous KISS show I had tickets for (on 2005’s Rock the Nation tour in Pensacola, FL), they canceled because Paul got sick.


You wanted the best M&M’s, you got the best M&M’s!

So not only do we have Sonic Boom to look forward to, but we can also chow down on some limited edition KISS M&M’s while blasting the new album!

Major KISS announcement today at 3PM

I’m guessing (and hoping) this announcement is U.S. tour dates being announced for later in the year. C’mon, boys, put that new album out and come to Detroit! Head over to at 3PM for the big reveal.

Okay, so, um… The big announcement was a “fan-routed” tour. You have to go to Eventful and “Demand” to see KISS in your city. Yeah. THAT “Demand” widget that you see on an indie band’s MySpace page.

I guess Gene is playing it smart in this recession. Why go on the road if there is no “demand” for it? They didn’t announce a single date on their own or even give a time frame for this “fan-routed” tour. Lame. But oh well, I’m not really worried. I’m confident they’re gonna get close to or hit the major U.S. cities. Detroit, here we come!

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