Saturday August 3rd, 2013
Mile One Center
St. John’s, NL
Review & Photo’s by Celtic Bob
This was Kiss’ second ever only show in this great Province (The first was 2011 in mine and EvilG’s hometown) and the first of 2 back to back nights at Mile One. The venue holds about 6-7,000 people so you get a decent view even if you are in the nosebleed seats.
I was in attendance at the 2011 outdoor show (REVIEW HERE) in the midst of a torrential rainstorm (and 25k + Fans) that began just moments before the band hit the stage. This time it was indoors so it would be a much more enjoyable evening.
Opening for them on this tour was Shinedown. I have heard of them and for the most part was unfamiliar with their music. Prior to the show the band was recommended to me but what I did hear didn’t impress me much so I never dug deep to check out much of their stuff. When I heard they would be opening for Kiss I was somewhat disappointed as I would liked the opening act to have been a band I liked but part of me wanted to see what the hype was all about.
I arrived at the venue relatively early and was the only one to be ushered down to the front to shoot Shinedown. I was given the normal (3 Songs, No Flash) rule and escorted into the pit.
The band came out ready to take on the new crowd as this was their first time in NL. The singer (and band) were all dressed as if they were going to church with suits or partial suits on. Singer Brent Smith was really into it and got the crowd warmed up for Kiss. While I never recognized any of the first 3 songs they did put on an energetic performance. The music was fairly heavy but it lacked any substance. There were no memorable moments and the songs seemed to have no riffs or solos. I do commend the drummer for playing in a suit. That couldn’t have been easy?
As we were being escorted to The Pit for Kiss we got to see the last bit of Shinedown’s set which featured a cover of the old Skynyrd song “ Simple Man” which they did do a decent job on.
Armed with our Kiss stickies and our cameras we were all ready for our 2 songs that they permitted.
Out of the speakers blasted the infamous… “Alright St. John’s, Are you ready?”….etc.
The black curtain with the large silver Kiss logo dropped and we entered The Pit as Gene, Paul and Tommy descended to the stage from atop the giant spider shaped lighting truss amidst massive amounts of smoke. Immediately upon touchdown Paul and Gene took to the front of the stage and began to pose for the fans and the cameras. Both were there to give the fans the greatest show they’d ever seen. Massive amounts of lights filled the stage allowing for some fantastic photo opportunities. Smoke bombs going off behind them just added to the overall experience.
The giant spider lighting truss with its legs never stopped throughout the entire show. At times it was fully raised and just the legs moving, sometimes the body tilted forward giving the full effect of it to the Sold Out crowd. Just watching the light show was amazing. How everything worked and moved, yet the band never once missed a step.
It was no problem to tell that Paul and Gene are seasoned pro’s as the entire show was extremely well put off. They interacted with the crowd, more-so Paul than Gene and kept them rockin’ the whole night. Not too ruin the surprise for anyone that has yet to see this tour I will refrain from all the little bits and pieces of the show.
From a musical stance all 4 members were spot on although Eric Singer didn’t appear to be as lively as previous times I have seen him play. Maybe he had more freedom to improvise at previous shows when he was playing in a different band? Whatever the situation was, he did do an excellent job that would put many too shame. Tommy Thayer fared well and did an admirable job but he should NEVER sing “Shock Me”, that is Ace’s signature Kiss song and should be left to Ace and Ace only. Unfortunately, I have never had the privilege to see the original band. Gene was on fire and ready to take on the world. His stage presence was miles ahead of when I saw him 2 years previous at an outdoor festival. Paul on the other hand was hurtin’. His voice was shot, but he made up for it with crowd interaction and effort. He gave 110% on stage in every way possible. Hearing him struggle to sing only made me wonder why Gene and the band never helped him out a bit more by doing a few song intro’s or more vocals. The absolute worst was the intro to “Heaven’s On Fire”. That iconic vocal at the beginning was just embarrassing. They should either drop the vocal intro or use a pre-recorded tape if they want to leave it in the set.
Just about everything you’d want to hear was played and then some. All the normal Kiss routines were there so nobody would walk away disappointed. They ended with “Rock and Roll All Night” which was over the top. The lights and smoke, flash-pots…etc. were going off hand over fist and the crowd was loving it. It was a full on bombastic performance. I have seen fireworks shows with less explosions than Kiss used in one song let alone the entire show. Incredible!
Note; Kiss played 2 nights back to back in St. John’s and I was fortunate enough to be at both shows. They were both very similar as you’d expect. On the 2nd night Paul’s voice didn’t sound as bad. May have been partially due to my seat in the stands was side stage behind the main speakers? Either way, both were incredible shows.