On Wednesday May 25th, 2016 movie theaters across the nation hosted the KISS: Las Vegas Live Concert in a one night only viewing. This was my first time ever seeing KISS perform in theaters and just in general. Growing up my dad would listen to various 80s and 90s rock music and of course I would be exposed to the more popular songs from KISS that played on the radio. However, sitting in a theater, in the middle of the week, just after work-hours with about 20 others was certainly a different experience taking in KISS. Being an outsider amongst die-hard KISS fans was an interesting experience to say the least.
The film opens with KISS giving an introduction to the concert and discussing some insider knowledge about how the event was planned and executed. Listening to Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley openly and eagerly discuss their vision of designing their once in a lifetime residency performance in Las Vegas was inspirational. In addition, they both prove their business savviness with ultimately understanding their part in entertainment. They knew that to reap the most benefit and monetary gain they would have to put on an amazing show and outdo any other performance they’ve done since the venue would allow it.
After about 15 minutes of overview the concert begins and runs about an hour and 20 minutes to curtain close. The band plays a specific set of about 12-13 songs of their top hits. Not knowing any of the songs up until the very end I still enjoyed the crowd’s response. As I looked around to the 20 or so patrons in the movie theater I could see them rocking out and imaging themselves in Vegas. During the intro Gene Simmons mentioned that the band really loves performing their hits and looking into the crowd to see kids and young adults that weren’t even born when they were on the radio appreciating their music. At the Fathom Event there were a couple kids in the theater that were singing along and bobbing their heads along to the beat with the parents alongside side them.
The performance was entertaining but there were a few things that seemed almost ridiculous. For example, Gene Simmons repeatedly stuck his tongue out in his trademark fashion, to the point where drool streamed down his chin and left a slick stain down the chest of his costume. Not to mention he also constantly pointed into the crowd and mouthed to the fans almost as if he was scolding them. Then he continued posing and flicking his large and bright red tongue back and forth. Paul Stanley looked at him a few times to get his attention during their limited choreography and tried to reel him back into the group’s performance.
I was surprised that Paul could walk, dance, kick, run in 7+ inch platform heels the entire time and even drop down to his knees and jump back up without flinching. Tommy Thayer on the other hand was just kind of going with the flow and Eric Singer on drums in the back kicked ass. Even though I was not in Vegas for the original show and merely watched a reshowing of a truly remarkable event, it was a great performance and KISS lives up to their reputation.