It’s been 41 years but KISS finally made their way back to Niagara Falls, NY. April 14th 1976 KISS played what was the Niagara Falls Convention Center at that time and now its the Seneca Niagara Casino. The casino put up an outdoor stage for the weekend (Styx and REO Speedwagon played the night before) and for the second straight the casino attendees were treated to back to back sell outs.
KISS took the stage a little late due to the pre show meet and greets starting late. Once the intro music of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock an Roll” was over, KISS appeared about 8:25 pm without a grand entrance. In fact due to logistics, there was no flying across the audience for Paul, no flying up to the rafters for Gene and no bombastic fireworks. This show was KISS “lite” you can say. These factors didn’t matter as KISS continues to show why they do what they do and can still provide a kick ass rock show without the extra props.
Dressed in their retro Creatures of the Night outfits (circa 1982 and early 1983), the band looked great and musically sounded as good as they looked. Bassist Gene Simmons tongue lashed his way through their hard rock opening track “Deuce.” Simmons voice held up strong throughout and especially for his signature tracks of “War Machine” and of course “God of Thunder.”
KISS did have a video screen and images throughout its storied career accompanied the band as “Flaming Youth” was played. This is a lesser known track off of possibly KISS’ most critically accompanied album in “Destroyer.” Not many rock stars look as good as rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley who still looks to be in great shape for 65. The voice may not be what it was but not many can hold a handle on how to work a crowd like Stanley. He still was able to work up the crowd and have them participate throughout. Both drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer’s steady musicianship allow both Stanley and Simmons to be the focal parts of the show. Thayer enjoyed a solo mimicking his predecessor Ace Frehley’s rocket launching from the guitar to a tee during his guitar solo. The audience ate it up! Singer plays hard but with proficiency and sang lead vocals on “Black Diamond.”
Again, this wasn’t the over the top bombastic show that most KISS fans are used to but nevertheless KISS showed that it didn’t need it. They still were able to make a connection to its audience and leave along lasting impression and that’s what matters most!
Shout it Out Loud
Lick it Up (Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who snippet)
I Love it Loud
God of Thunder
Rock and Roll All Nite
Detroit Rock City
We would like to thank Nadine DiStefano from the Seneca Niagara Casino for the credentials to review the show.