KISS brought “End of the Road Tour” to Riverbend for yet another farewell tour on Thursday night. Whether or not the “hottest band in the world” actually hang up the costumes and put away the grease paint after this tour is up for debate. What isn’t up for debate, however, is their ability to put on a high octane, pulse pounding, electrifying stage show.
Rock shows do not come any bigger than a KISS show. For over 40 years KISS have been the band to beat when it comes to the theatrical production and performance for a live concert. For their current tour (possibly last) they have hydraulic presses, fireworks, lasers and enough pyrotechnics to launch World War III. And that’s just for their opening number!
Not much has changed in the many years that KISS has been around, but does it really need to? Gene Simmons, who recently celebrated his 70th birthday, strutted around with his trademark towering heels, full body armor and dangling tongue as he spit fire and blood all while leering behind his “Axe” bass guitar. Paul Stanley proves that he can still be considered a “rock god,” by working the crowd into a frenzy by flying over the audience on a zip wire to perform “Love Gun,” and the classic KISS-co anthem, “I was made for loving you.” Sure, if you are a long-standing member of the KISS Army you’ve seen this before, but hey! If it’s not broke don’t fix it right?
Early in their set Stanely mentioned their first time playing in Cincinnati, way back in 1976 at Riverfront Coliseum. For the End of the Road Tour they played a little bit of everything from their longtime career. Opening with “Detroit Rock City, “they kept the hits coming with, “Deuce, Calling Dr, Love,” “Cold Gin,” and almost any other fan favorite you could ask for.
The fans of all shapes and sizes packed in hot and heavy into Riverbend. They couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful August night as they bid a (alleged) goodbye to the Starchild, the Demon, the Space Man and the Cat. Fans came with their faces painted up like their favorite band members and young children sang at the top of their lungs to such classics as, “Shout it out Loud” and “Lick it up,” atop their parents' shoulders. Older fans sported classic KISS shirts from tours past and some even purchased new shirts printed specifically for the show with the unfortunate misspelling of “Cincinnatti.” Oops.
With electrifying and entertaining drum solos and guitar solos that include a spark shooting guitar it’s hard to imagine any band in the future that will come even close to matching KISS’s arena rock show antics. If this is the final farewell, judging by the smiles and cheering, screaming and waving from the crowd, they left Cincinnati on top.