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Concert Reviews:
Kiss and Motley Crue worth the extra night's wait at DTE

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Friday, September 7, 2012

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- It wasn't hard to figure out why Kiss and Motley Crue had to postpone their scheduled Wednesday, Sept. 5, show after the truck carrying their pyrotechnic gear crashed on the way to the DTE Energy Music Theatre.

When the groups took the stage Thursday, Sept. 6 -- "Better late than never," as Kiss' Paul Stanley told the sold-out crowd -- you didn't even need a whole hand to count how many songs did NOT make use of some fire, explosive or other munitions. The Big Boom may have created the universe, but there were enough big booms during the groups' respective sets to create a few more celestial bodies and win a couple of armed conflicts against the nation of your choice.

That's neither new nor surprising to the Kiss Army and the Crue faithful, however. Both bands have made extravagant showmanship their stock in trade, and thanks to lengthy careers they've each evolved from dangerous threats to society into family entertainment -- as evidenced by plenty of grade school-aged youths accompanying their parents on Thursday, with entire families sporting Kiss' trademark facepaint. It was a genuine double whammy of visual and aural over-stimulation, well worth the extra night's wait.

Kiss had a brand new song to play -- "Hell or Hallelujah" from its forthcoming "Monster" album -- but the group's 80-minute set stuck to the tried, true and expected from its past. The quartet entered from the ceiling, playing "Detroit Rock City." Bassist Gene Simmons blew flames at the end of "Firehouse" and spit blood before soaring to the top of the lighting rig for "God of Thunder." Stanley flew over the crowd to a second stage in the middle of the DTE pavilion to perform "Love Gun," while Tommy Thayer "fired" pyrotechnics from his guitar head at the end of "Shock Me."

Amidst all that were plenty of other favorites -- "Shout It Out Loud," "I Love It Loud," "Black Diamond," "Strutter" -- as well as "War Machine," a deep cut from Kiss' 1982 album "Creatures of the Night." The show's best musical moment came during "Lick It Up," as Stanley and Thayer recreated the treacly synthesizer line from the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" on their guitars as a mid-song interlude.

And as Kiss showered the pavilion with confetti during the show-closing "Rock and Roll All Nite," it once again cemented the special relationship it enjoys with the city where it recorded all or parts of three of its live albums.

Motley Crue did not exactly bow to its elders, though. Following a solid opening set by glammy hard rock up-and-comers The Treatment, the group -- all but guitarist Mick Mars -- paraded through the DTE concourse and pavilion to the stage, the same steely, industrial set it employed during last year's 30th anniversary tour. There was plenty of additional eye candy, however, with stilt walkers and aerialists, as well as a 360-degree loop that took Tommy Lee, as well as a content-winning fan, in circles during his drum solo.

The Crue had a new tune to offer, too, "Sex," but it flew by in an 85-minute set that covered the key tracks, including "Wild Side," "Shout at the Devil," "Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)" and pulverizing versions of "Primal Scream" and "Dr. Feelgood." Two female backup singers bolstered the group's vocals, while Mars, though hobbled by crippling arthritis, provided one instrumental highlight after another, peaking with an extended solo at the end of "Girls, Girls, Girls."

There were certainly plenty of other things going on Thursday -- President Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention and MTV's Video Music Awards among them. But you'd have been hard-pressed to find anything that packed more bang for the buck, literally, that thrilled the 15,000 or so at DTE that night.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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