by Scott Roos
photos by Deanna Roos/Contingent Colours Photography
There were explosions, big explosions, impressive pyro, giant screens, and flames that felt, pardon the pun, "hotter than hell" when KISS took the stage at Saskatoon's SaskTel Centre this past Monday, November 13th. The capacity crowd was on their feet for a good portion of the show as the band cranked out hit after hit and classic after classic. The show was a scheduled stop on their "End of the Road Tour". Based on the audience response, the band was in top form for the evening.
With the words, "You wanted the best, you got the best! The hottest band in the world - KISS!" the huge logo embossed scrim dropped and the opening notes to "Detroit Rock City" reverberated out into the crowd. Following things up with "Shout It Out Loud" once the song finished, guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley took hold of the microphone to wax nostalgic about Saskatoon. One of the first KISS tours took the group on a western swing which included the city. This was not lost on Stanley. He was very warm and genuine to the audience as he spoke.
As the night wore on, while there was a sense of finality to the proceedings in the words Stanley continued to speak in between songs the band gave 110% like it was any other show. Highlights of the night being "I Love It Loud" with Simmons breathing fire, non makeup era classics "Lick It Up" and "Heaven's On Fire", the addition of "Makin' Love" which Stanley said isn't in their set very often (someone fact check this), the spitting of blood and "God of Thunder", Stanley's B stage "Love Gun" dancing, giant balloons dropping from the ceiling, the band careening up and down on giant risers, ziplines, confetti cannons and also Eric Singer's surprisingly on point rendition of "Beth". The whole thing was quality start to finish. Lead guitarist Tommy Thayer's chops during his solo were splendid. Singer is a great drummer - that's very apparent. Honestly, there's just so much to hear and see during a KISS show.
So, at the end of the night, it's clear after taking it all in that this band literally invented how theatrical rock should be played and staged or, at the very least, perfected it. They are the prototypes for many that followed and are still following.They've inspired many musicians and, in terms of the general public, probably saved many many lives. Music has a way of doing that. It can get you through hard times. But now, with a handful of dates still left on the "End of the Road Tour" the band is riding off into the sunset hopefully giving themselves well deserved pats on the back.
Is this the end my friends? Not likely. It's almost a forgone conclusion that they will probably pop up here and there from time to time either in different projects or for one offs but, in terms of the tour it seems as though they are done. It was great that a massive crowd in good ol' Saskatchewan got to see them do their thing one last time.