KISS @ Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, TX

Words and photos by Scott Rowe
So here we are. At the End of the Road, ahem, World Tour. A proclamation that this KISS tour is 'The Final Tour Ever', which it might very well be. But I've heard this story before. I was in Oklahoma City in 2000 to witness the Farewell Tour and 21 years later, there has been no farewell (except for Peter and Ace). Am I sad about that? No. Why? Because I've been able to see KISS a handful more times than I would have been able to, had they hung up their platform boots back in 2000. I was lucky enough that my uncles bought me tickets to their Reunion Tour back in 1996 at the now defunct Reunion Arena in Dallas. Had farewell really meant farewell back in 2000, I would have seen KISS a whole two times in my then 17 years of life. And having listed to them for the better part of those 17 years (thank you, uncles), I would felt a bit cheated. But again, here we are. 21 years later. In that amount of time, I've been able to see 'the hottest band in the world' another six times. So if this is the End of the Road, it's been one wild ride.

As with all KISS shows, there was no shortage of rock anthems, pyrotechnics, guitar solos, fake blood, and overall spectacle. After you've seen one KISS show, you kind of know the formula of how the next one will go, which can ruin some of the fun, because that first KISS show will blow your mind and can't be replicated. With that said, there's no denying that any KISS show you see is far above most touring acts and is always an entertaining evening. For those who know their catalog frontwards and backwards, KISS shows are essentially a nostalgia-filled concert with contemporary infusions of classic rock show production. Flash pots, raining sparks, flame throwers, cherry pickers are still present in today's rocks shows but the inclusion of lasers, giant display boards and their corresponding graphic work, provide an extra layer of production that ups the current KISS concert. So while the classic KISS formula remains intact, the show has continued to evolve to maintain the status quo as one of the best live shows today.

As the black curtain, emblazoned with the class KISS font, falls to the floor, the opening chords to "Detroit Rock City" fill Dickies Arena as the band descends from above in a cascade of smoke, sparks, flames, and fireworks. For any other band, this sort of pomp might come off as excessive, but for KISS, it's another day at the office. While "Detroit Rock City" is a fantastic song to start with, the trio of said "Detroit..", "Shout It Out Loud", and "Deuce" are an amazing way to kick off the show. While I've seen Gene 'spit fire' during "War Machine", it's not until after the performance of "I Love It Loud" that Gene, in a blanket of smoke, walks to the middle of the stage and spits a nice fireball into the Dickies' air. The next stretch of songs are okay, highlighted by "Lick It Up", followed by "Calling Dr. Love" and "Say Yeah" from 2009's Sonic Boom.

The second half of the set features more of the classic KISS including cuts such as "Cold Gin", complete with Tommy Thayer's extended guitar solo and "God of Thunder" with Gene spewing a modest amount of fake blood and performing from the top of Dickies Arena. Paul, feeling excluded and wanting a more intimate experience with the sprawling crowd, flies his way to the middle of the arena to perform "Love Gun". It's during "Love Gun" that a young fan catches Paul's eye and immediately after the song, he motions for the child to come over and he throws his pick to them. "Here's my replacement", a smiling Stanley said with a nice applause for his effortless gratuity. The band then jumps into "I Was Made For Lovin' You", a song with a bit more bounce than most of KISS's catalog, and Paul makes his way back to the main stage. He then helps lead the band into the final song of the set, the epic "Black Diamond". Whenever I think of classic KISS shows, "Black Diamond" is one of those songs that epitomizes the grandiose scale of a KISS show and is best experience live. Tonight's rendition is no different.

With their set complete and an encore to follow, I was honestly surprised to see Eric Singer in front of the stage with a piano performing a solo version of "Beth". I think this is the first time I've seen someone other than Peter Criss perform "Beth", but Singer did the song justice. The next song I found a bit odd as I've never thought of "Do You Love Me" as encore material. It's probably the first time I've heard it live, but I can think of a handful of other songs that would better suit the tail end of a show. But nonetheless, KISS moves on to the crème de la crème, one of the most recognized rock and roll anthems of all time, "Rock and Roll All Nite". It's one of those songs you know is coming but still gets you amped when you hear it. Dickies Arena is engulfed in a sea of confetti and voices singing to every word, a culmination of not only an evening of music, but for the band, a career of giving the people what they want. Rock and roll.

Photos of the show are below:

KISS @ Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, TX KISS @ Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on October 02, 2021 Rating: 5
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