|Posted: 07 June 2017 at 6:26am | IP Logged | 20
Gene Simmons and His Band at the Trocadero in Philadelphia, June 2nd, 2017.
The Trocadero is a small theater/club, holds about 1200 people. It seemed at near capacity with this show. There is a large standing room area with some seating in the second floor balcony. It’s just a big, old, divey venue with lots of room and charm.
The two opening acts were hard rock bands that you could see at any similar club. Influences were clear as one front man went for a Freddie Mercury vibe, the other, Steven Tyler-esque. Fair game in an evening featuring a headliner who’s never hid his influences (and indeed, embraced some of them this very night).
I've been a fan of Gene Simmons almost longer than I can remember, but I wasn't at all familiar with any of the four guys that comprise "His Band." They were a tight unit, a drummer and three guitarists who also handled various vocals. Gene played bass and sang lead.
They opened with Deuce, fittingly. It’s a great starter, a quintessential “Gene” song, and one with which KISS has kicked off many, many shows over their nearly 45-year history. Then, Shout It Out Loud, with band members handling the “Paul Stanley” parts of the vocals and Gene doing his usual parts. Other classic Gene-intensive KISS songs would be played throughout the night: Nothing to Lose, Calling Dr. Love, Christine Sixteen, Let Me Go Rock and Roll, and a “newer” classic, by comparison, Domino, from the just-turned-25-year-old “Revenge” album. Also, a couple of songs known for Gene’s vocals but written by Ace Frehley (with Gene acknowledging the contribution), Cold Gin and Parasite. The latter was chosen by a lanky, bespectacled fella of maybe 15 that had come onstage when Gene asked if there were any young musicians in the crowd. He was told to pick any KISS song to play along with the band, so he went for one of the most challenging in the catalog…and killed it on lead guitar. It may have been the highlight of the night.
Other crowd participation included getting a group of “big, burly guys” onstage for the testosterone-fueled answer-chants of I Love It Loud, some ladies for the chorus of the more dainty Paul Stanley tune, Do You Love Me, and the newest generation of KISS fans (and one stage mom) to sing along to the evening’s finale, Rock and Roll All Nite (of course).
Among the live rarities were Charisma and Got Love For Sale (from “Dynasty” and “Love Gun”, respectively), Radioactive, the single from Gene's first solo effort, and the first-time live performance of Sweet And Dirty Love from his second solo album, “Asshole.”
All musicians start off as fans of music, and Gene showed his admiration of the Jeff Beck Group with his band’s rendition of their instrumental, Rice Pudding.
And that, perhaps, was the keynote of the night: music is king.
If you've seen the lighting at a KISS show, it's dazzling. At this show, they barely had the front of the stage lit. There was no spitting blood, no breathing fire, no flying into the rafters, no Godzilla-faced thigh-high boots, bat-wings, or kabuki-style make-up. No explosions or confetti. Heck, I don't think Gene even flicked that abnormally long tongue once. And for all of about two seconds, he broke into the "demon walk" during one song. All of these things are usually great, and part and parcel of what makes KISS an incredible live act.
But, sometimes...all you need is some solid rock and roll played good and loud. And we got that.