TVD Live Shots: KISS at the Golden 1 Center, 2/9

A rainy Saturday night in Sacramento, a middle-aged gentleman sat at the bar across the street from the Golden 1 Center wearing a KISS Farewell Tour t-shirt from the year 2000. Nineteen years later, KISS is still playing to packed arenas and still talking about retiring. In fact after 45 years, their “End of the Road Tour” promises to be their last. And they mean it this time. Really.

Performance painter and the evening’s hype man David Garibaldi warmed up the crowd with some brushes and a couple of buckets of paint, transforming three huge black canvasses into rock and roll art as the music blasted. The arena was packed to the rafters when the curtain finally dropped, as Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, and Tommy Thayer were lowered to the stage to “Detroit Rock City” as both the pyro and the crowd went off.

The KISS purists are quick to point out their disappointment that neither original guitarist Ace Frehley nor original drummer Peter Criss are part of the band’s final tour. In fact, just seeing Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer wearing their iconic “Catman” and “Spaceman” makeup is sure to trigger the apoplectic rage of many a KISS Army die-hard.

KISS concerts have always been over the top and this night’s show was no different. Gene spat fire and blood during “God of Thunder,” Paul whizzed over the crowd to perform a couple of songs from a second stage that lowered from the rafters, and there was enough fire and pyro to singe hair in the nosebleed seats. Paul Stanley, still with that swoosh in his swagger, constantly peppered the crowd with picks and commanded the audience like a man far younger than his years. Gene stomped around in his platform boots, tongue hanging out of his mouth.

The two-hour performance hit the favorites and covered the bases, but dedicated nearly half of the set to Destroyer and their self-titled debut album. With twenty-four studio albums over the course of their career, a lot got passed over but leaves room for the band to mix up the setlist should the tour return in the future.

Who knows whether or not this is really the end for KISS. But with both Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons in their late 60s, who would fault them hanging up their platform boots before someone breaks a hip. Sure, they might change their minds (again) but both the band and the fans showed up as if it was the last time.

One thing however is certain … KISS has no plans to go quietly.

David Garibaldi

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SETLIST
Detroit Rock City
Shout It Out Loud
Deuce
Say Yeah
Heaven’s on Fire
War Machine
Lick It Up
100,000 Years
God of Thunder
Cold Gin
Psycho Circus
I Love It Loud
Hide Your Heart
Let Me Go, Rock ‘N’ Roll
Love Gun
I Was Made for Lovin’ You
Black Diamond

ENCORE
Beth
Do You Love Me
Rock and Roll All Nite

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