Farewell, KISS, again.
It was a dark and stormy night, and KISS was in town for a farewell show. Talk about two clichés that perfectly summed up last Saturday night.
KISS riffed and strutted to a packed Golden 1 Center on its “End of the Road” tour, which, by the way, nearly marked the 10-year anniversary of its first “farewell” tour in 2000.
So yes, we’ve been down this road to retirement before: The pomp and pyromania of “Detroit Rock City;” the stand-ins for Ace Frehley (Tommy Thayer) and Peter Criss (Eric Singer) playing note-for-note versions of signature songs; Gene Simmons gurgling blood in “God of Thunder” like he just took a nasty punch in a bar fight outside Costanza’s.
But the feeling rising through the air of vape smoke and stage fog was: This really could be the KISS finale for Sacramento. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are both nearing 70, and you can only push the “farewell” angle for so many decades before people stay home and save their money on $50 T-shirts.
Still, it’s not an overly sentimental show for the “hottest band in the world.” Despite some video highlight reels of spandex days gone by, there was little in the way of nostalgic banter between songs, or dwelling much on the “farewell” aspect of the show.
The “End of the Road” tour is essentially the same gig that KISS has been presenting since Frehley and Criss left in the early 2000s. The guitars still shoot fireworks, “Beth” is performed amid a sea of cell phone lights and Paul Stanley yells, “How ya doing Sacramento, we love you” as much as possible between songs. The two-hour concert always runs to a tight script, save for the part when Simmons threw a diva fit and cussed out a crew member for not using a white spotlight during the blood barfing sequence in “God of Thunder.”
It’s still a fun show for the KISS Army faithful and fans of Big Bombastic Arena Rock. The 20-song set was heavy on the classics (“Deuce,” “Cold Gin,” “Shout It Out Loud”) with just a few detours into newer songs and deeper cuts such as “War Machine,” from 1982’s Creatures of the Night.
By the end of it all, as confetti rained down during “Rock and Roll All Nite”—followed by winter rain falling outside—the KISS Army had certainly received its fill and the band was on to the next city to say farewell (again).