It’s been about 2 decades since Kiss visited the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, but Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are never ones to forget the “little guys” who supported and helped them make a mark on the music industry way back in the mid ’70s … so Kiss was indeed back in Northern Indiana as part of their Freedom To Rock tour, which has focused on playing many of the small market towns that Kiss hasn’t graced in over 10 years.
First up, however, was the “supergroup” The Dead Daisies, featuring the likes of Doug Aldrich, Brian Tichy, and John Corabi … all who’ve been around the block a few times prior to landing together as part of the band’s latest incarnation. Amid their own whirlwind tour taking them through Europe, Asia, and the USA, The Dead Daisies have joined Kiss as their opening act … and their inclusion is a great one-two punch for Kiss and ’70s Hard Rock fans alike. Although only given 30 minutes to “warm up” the audience, The Dead Daisies played it loud ‘n’ proud in support of their new Make Some Noise album. They showed plenty of energy and seemed to be having a blast together on stage. Although the band has 3 records in their coffers, they chose to play a couple covers during their set (“Helter Skelter” and “Join Together”) — both got the crowd excited, but perhaps fans of the band were looking to hear a few more songs from the new record on the set list. Overall, though, a well-performed, entertaining, and louder than hell show by David Lowy and his all-star cast.
Almost exactly 30-minutes later, the lights went out and the welcomed and familiar announcement that goes something like “You want the best, we’ve got the best … KISS!!!!!!” came over the P.A. system, followed by a massive fireworks explosion as the curtain fell to reveal an incredibly intricate stage filled with many “toys” intended for pure fan enjoyment, and the beginning of the classic opener “Detroit Rock City”. The fans went berserk, and pretty much stayed that way for the entire 2-hour set. Kiss played hit after hit to the jubilation of the crowd, and even snuck in a few “forgotten” gems along the way (titles withheld so as to not ruin the surprise should you be a ticketholder for an up-coming show).
There were fireworks aplenty, lights of all sorts everywhere, fire throwers, hydraulic stage sections, more confetti than a New Year’s Eve Party in New York City, and of course … the superior showmanship of Stanley and Simmons to provide constant entertainment for 120 minutes. Stanley took many opportunities to talk to the audience and to reinforce that “bond” between the General and the band’s Army, and near the end of the set brought on stage members of the Indianapolis, Indiana National Guard as the band handed a sizable check to Indiana Veterans in need of assistance … showing true class and appreciation for the opportunities and riches this country has made available to the band over the past 4 decades.
The show ended with the “Rock And Roll All Nite” anthem and more festive theatrics that were totally over-the-top, yet completely enjoyable. Gene and Paul may be in their mid-60s, but they proved without a doubt that they are fully dedicated to delivering a “complete” show to their fans at all costs … and the cost to put on this show had to be astronomical — definitely one of the most impressive that the band has ever undertaken. Should this tour come to your (small) town … don’t hesitate for one moment. Get a ticket and go to it. You’ll be glad you did.