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Concert Reviews:
Kiss comes "home" to Detroit Rock City

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2010

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- When Kiss' Paul Stanley told the DTE Energy Music Theatre crowd on Saturday night (Sept. 11) that "this isn't just a rock 'n' roll night," it was no more rock 'n' roll hyperbole.

A Kiss concert anywhere in the Detroit metro area, city or suburbs is an event. A family reunion. A costume party with full face paint and outlandish outfits -- including one attendee dressed as Captain America to commemorate the 9-11 anniversary.

Most importantly, it's a rekindling of a relationship that dates back to the mid-'70s, when Detroit made the members of Kiss some of its favorite visiting sons and codified when the costumed quartet recorded its first concert album, "Alive!," at Cobo Arena and then penned the anthem "Detroit Rock City." That's why a near-sellout crowd braved cold and rain on Saturday to "Shout It Out Loud" and, of course, "Rock and Roll All Nite" with the Kiss crew.

And even if it was the same 21-song, two-and-a-quarter-hour show Kiss has been playing throughout its latest tour, there was a perceptible X-factor at DTE, a few more smiles from the stage, just a bit of extra effort and a sense of homecoming that wasn't dissimilar from the vibe at Kid Rock and J. Geils Band concerts last month at DTE.

Kiss also had a somewhat re-tooled show than its pair of expositions nearly a year ago at Cobo Arena. While that show focused on "Alive!," Saturday's spanned Kiss' career, mixing three songs from last year's "Sonic Boom" album -- the show-opening "Modern Day Delilah" along with the chant-along"Say Yeah" and the hard-hitting "I'm An Animal" -- with old favorites such as "Cold Gin," "Black Diamond," "Deuce" and long renditions of "Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll" and "100,000 Years" that gave lead guitarist Tommy Thayer plenty of room to stretch out. The group also slipped a bit of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" For Lovin' You."

Kiss delivered its dependable tricks throughout the night. The group entered on a platform that rose from behind Eric Singer's drum kit and a wall of video cubes and brought Stanley, Thayer and bassist Gene Simmons to center stage. Simmons blew fire during "Firehouse" and spit blood before being hoisted to the top of the lighting rig at the start of "I Love It Loud." Stanley, whose voice was showing some road-wear, "flew" over the crowd to a circular, rotating stage in the middle of the DTE pavilion to perform the disco-flavored "I Was Made For Lovin' You." Thayer "shot" targets from the ceiling with his guitar. There were pyrotechnics aplenty, and confetti rained during "Rock and Roll All Nite."

There was a genuinely touching moment, too, during the encore when Kiss -- which has been donating $1 from each ticket to the Wounded Warrior Care Project -- brought three troops to the stage to reveal that the band had so far raised $372,354. The sight of the towering Simmons leaning, deadpan, on the shortest of the trio was both comic and poignant and showed a different but still admirable application of the heart that Kiss has always put into its performances and, of course, its relationship to Detroit Rock City.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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