Music

Kiss delivers the expected hit parade in its Vegas residency launch

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KISS begins their residency at The Joint on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas.
Photo: L.E. Baskow

Three stars

Kiss November 5, the Joint.

“You wanted the best, you got the best” goes the intro that theatrical classic rockers Kiss have been using for their concerts since their earliest days, and while many may dispute that typically hyperbolic claim, there’s no arguing that Kiss masterminds Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons have always worked hard to make sure the band is the best Kiss it can be (even when that means ruthlessly cutting out longtime band members). The Kiss performing a mini-residency at the Joint is the best Kiss of 2014, even if it's not close to the best Kiss of the band’s career; you wanted the best, and you got the best they can manage.

KISS Begins Residency at the Joint

Still, for the Kiss fans who packed the Joint on the residency’s opening night, that was good enough. The crowd ranged in age from children to senior citizens, some (including at least one baby) decked out in full Kiss costumes and makeup, others wearing conservative business attire. The band members (Stanley and Simmons, plus guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer) were of course wearing their own full costumes and makeup, and the stage show was every bit the over-the-top Kiss extravaganza, barely downsized for the smaller venue. There were constant explosions, huge video screens (the better to see extreme close-ups of Simmons drooling) and flying platforms that allowed the members to perch high above the audience.

Oh, and there was music, too, although not as much of it as you might expect from a band whose catalog spans four decades. The show ran about 100 minutes, and that included a lengthy pre-encore break to present a wounded military veteran with a new home courtesy of several corporate sponsors. It was a nice gesture, but Stanley leading the entire audience in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance (followed by the inevitable “USA!” chant) was the nadir of audience pandering for a band whose entire image is built on audience pandering.

The more welcome pandering came in the form of competently delivered hits like “Detroit Rock City,” “Lick It Up” and, of course, “Rock and Roll All Nite,” which closed the show under enough confetti to simulate a severe blizzard. Stanley and Simmons may no longer be the best (Stanley mumbled his way through most of his vocals, although Simmons’ voice sounded strong), but no one can say that they aren’t still trying their best.

Setlist:

“Creatures of the Night”

“Psycho Circus”

“Parasite”

“War Machine”

“Tears Are Falling”

“Let Me Go, Rock ’N’ Roll”

“Lick It Up”

“I Love It Loud”

“Hell or Hallelujah”

“God of Thunder”

“Detroit Rock City”

“Love Gun”

“Black Diamond”

Encore:

“Shout It Out Loud”

“I Was Made for Loving You”

“Rock and Roll All Nite”

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