Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kiss With Buckcherry - October 10, 2009

This past fall I was lucky enough to secure tickets to see Kiss perform at Madison Square Garden. The band was on tour in support of their brand new album, Sonic Boom, and I was excited about the idea of hearing the new songs live. As an added bonus, Buckcherry was opening. Buckcherry is one of my favorite hard rock bands and to see them open for Kiss was a dream come true.

As soon as the tour was announced, I got in touch with Metal Eddie to confirm that he wanted to go. He did. He would need 3 tickets – one for him, one for his sister, and one for his 6-year old nephew. I’ll admit that I was skeptical bringing someone so young to the concert, but Metal Eddie insisted it wouldn’t be an issue. His nephew was a huge Kiss fan and Eddie had promised to take him to a show, should the opportunity ever arise. I trusted Metal Eddie’s judgment and got us the tickets.

On the night of the concert, everyone was in high spirits. Eddie’s nephew was more excited than anyone. He was going to see his first Kiss show and life couldn’t get any better. He was dressed in blue jeans, a Kiss T-shirt, and a Kiss ball cap. He looked great – an excited young fan. He sang a few Kiss songs during dinner and I was impressed with how many lyrics he knew .The kid was proving what a devoted fan he was.

We drove into the city, parked the car, grabbed some coffee and made out way into the World’s Greatest Arena. To me, Madison Square Garden has always been the greatest place to see a concert. Perhaps it’s the history, or maybe it’s being in New York City, or perhaps it’s the building itself, but nothing can compare to seeing a concert at MSG.

After getting a poster for Eddie’s nephew, we settled into our seats and took in the pre-concert atmosphere. Eddie’s nephew was in awe by everything. The sheen in his eyes reminded me of my first concert. He kept talking about Kiss, dying to see them take the stage. His excitement was infectious. And he was a very well behaved child. I was amazed at how good he was and how well he listened. There were times when I forgot we were at a concert with someone so young.

Buckcherry came out first and the arena was quite packed for this solid opening act. They opened with Tired of You and sounded great. We were up on our feet, singing along, and enjoying the hard rock mayhem. Even Eddie’s nephew was singing along!

Buckcherry put on a solid performance of hits, but their set was not without its glitches. Josh Todd’s voice sounded rough and scratchy. Buckcherry had been on a grueling tour schedule for a long time and that may have factored into his voice issues. Add in the fact that the sound is never perfect for opening acts and I’m willing to forgive Buckcherry and give them an “A” for effort.

The hits were all present and accounted for. Lit Up, Tired of You, Sorry, and Crazy Bitch were all performed for our listening pleasure. The crowds ate it up and we did too. Even when not performing at 100% Buckcherry can bring the goods and whip the crowd into a frenzy. As an opening act, they did a great job.

Buckcherry Performs Lit Up

After the crowd caught their breath from Buckcherry’s performance, the hottest band in the land took to the stage. Kiss came out in a furious explosion of bombs, smoke, and of course, make-up. Eddie’s nephew’s eyes popped out of his head and he screamed as loud as he could. KISS was there to rock our world!

The opening notes of Deuce filled the arena and Kiss was off and running. I’ve seen Kiss several times over the years, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them open with anything but Deuce, so once again, it was the same opening song. I was hoping that for this tour they were going to mix it up, but when Strutter was played next, it looked like it was going to be the same set list they’ve been milking for years.

As far as Eddie’s nephew was concerned, it was the greatest set list in the world. Seeing the concert through his eyes was an overwhelming excitement that blew you away. He was singing every word to every song, standing on his seat, jumping up and down, and was amazed at the band and the music. Kiss was ruling his world.

After a few more classic cuts, the band decided it was time to play a new one. Paul introduced it as a classic in the making. The way he introduced the song, it was almost as if he was ashamed to play it. Sonic Boom is an incredible Kiss record, and in my opinion they should be playing 5 or 6 songs from that record. Instead, Modern Day Delilah was the only song from the new album they played. I was a little miffed. Kiss was supporting a new album and only played one song from it? What the hell was that about?

Kiss Performs Their Only New Song Of The Night

After Modern Day Delilah, the band pulled out C’Mon and Love Me and that was a nice surprise. I was not expecting to hear that one at all and thought things were really taking a turn for the better. She followed next and that was another unexpected beauty. That is, until Tommy’s guitar solo.

I have nothing against Tommy Thayer as a member of Kiss. I think he is a talented guitarist, and I believe that he really made Sonic Boom into a fantastic album. However, when it came time for his solo, he completely copied Ace’s classic solo note for note and riff for riff. He morphed Ace’s solo right down to the dropping on his knees and firing the guitar rockets. I was pissed.

Tommy is a talented enough guitarist in his own right. There is no need for him to clone Ace Frehley and play his solo. Metal Eddie and I were both so mad that we did not applaud at the end of the solo. Eddie even mentioned that he was half tempted to walk out.

Of course we didn’t. We stayed and listened to the rest of the classic hits that were played. Eddie’s nephew soaked it all in and the four of us enjoyed the rest of the performance and had a great time doing so.


The bombs, the blood, the smoke, and the pyrotechnics, they were all there. However, I left the Garden at the end of the night a little disappointed about the band’s decision to not play more new songs and the fact that Tommy Thayer played the “Ace” solo. I know that he was probably just following orders from Gene, but it’s still upsetting. It makes me think that Kiss doesn’t believe their fans can evolve. It makes me wonder if they’re ashamed of playing new songs, or if they are just stuck in the past (and think their fans are too). It made me wonder if they think their fans are stupid. Real fans don’t want to see Tommy pretend to be Ace. This is why Tommy and Eric get called scabs. If Kiss was really proud of their current lineup and album, they would let Tommy play When Lightning Strikes and let him cut loose on a solo of his own. I would be all for that and I have a feeling that I wouldn’t be alone.

As for a certain 6-year old, well, he appeared happier than I’ve ever seen anyone in a long time. And that’s what rock and roll is all about – the power to make everything else pale in comparison. For that little boy with no cynicism and full of youthful innocence, Kiss was the greatest thing ever. He slept like a champ the whole ride home and I’m sure visions of firebombs danced in his head.

Let Me Go Rock N Roll
Hotter Than Hell
Got To Choose
Modern Day Delilah
C’Mon And Love Me
She (Tommy Thayer Guitar Solo)
100,000 Years
I Love It Loud
Black Diamond
Rock and Roll All Nite
Shout It Out Loud
Lick It Up
Cold Gin
Love Gun
Detroit Rock City


Brian Basher said...

Playing one song from the new album does suck, but you really shouldn't expect anything less. The classics are the bread and butter of Kiss and what they will always play no matter what. Look at the set list everything after "Lick It Up" was completely ignored.

As far as Tommy Thayer is concerned I am going to have to defend him here with two words "paid musician" regardless of how close he is to Gene Simmons that is all he is with I'm betting absolutely no say whatsoever about how his solo is performed.

I can honestly say I will probably never see Kiss in a live setting again. I got to see the original line up on the reunion tour so I can never see Kiss in concert again and still die a happy man

Ryo Vie said...

Yeah, I fully agree with you here. It is definitely the Gene and Paul show now. Tommy and Eric basically do whatever Gene and Paul tell them. Not really a "band" mentality, but then again, this is the same guy who says someday he'll allow other musicians to dress in the makeup, perform their songs, and still call it KISS.