KISS / Amber Wild @ Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, TX

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
Conversations before a KISS concert:

“So, you’ve been a KISS fan for how long?”
“Oh, about forty-five years.”
"How many times have you seen them live?”
“Zero, but that losing streak ends tonight!” 

Second most overheard banter:

“This is my umpteenth time seeing them live, they fucking rock man!”

The sights and sounds encountered before a KISS show were almost as entertaining as the concert itself. Almost. It seems like everywhere you looked you could spot someone dressed up as a band member. Preshow, the scene in the Dickies Arena parking lot more resembled one you’d find prior to an NFL game, not a rock concert. But why not? This is how one should celebrate the end of an era, the end of KISS as we know it.

In 2019, KISS decided they were calling it a career by announcing their End of the Road World Tour. Initially, the scheduled dates would have them wrapping things up in early 2023, but Covid said hold my beer. The virus even derailed my potential chance to photograph band in 2022, as Gene Simmons contracted the nastiness prior to the date. They have given fans ample opportunity to see them one last time with stops in nearly every corner of the globe. Barring more delays, the scheduled final show will be at Madison Square Garden on December 2nd. Tonight though, it’s my turn to see “The hottest band in the world, KISS!"

Fort Worth was buzzing with anticipation after a pretty decent opening set by Amber Wild. This band is fronted by Paul Stanley’s son Evan. In the music you can find bits of punk, rock, and metal. Considering the pressure, the group seemed to handle it well, performing their songs with animated passion. Stanley recently posted this about his son’s band, "It's the end of the road for us but it's just the beginning for them! Prepare to be rocked."

A scheduled curtain drop of 8:45pm came and went, keeping the suspense level at its highest. As the volume of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” receded, the banner covering the stage, emblazoned with the band’s famous logo illuminated. Video panels on either side of the stage run a video of the foursome walking the halls of the arena that lead to the stage. The Demon, Starchild, Catman, and Spaceman are ushered in by their now too familiar introduction, “You wanted the best, you got the best, the hottest band in the world, KISS!”

For the next five minutes and thirty-eight seconds the arena shook from explosions and thunderous boom of the classic, “Detroit Rock City!” At the conclusion of “Shout It Out Loud”, Paul addressed everyone in attendance, stating this the seventh time the supergroup has played Fort Worth and it will be the last! This statement brought about some boos, but Stanley cleared the air by proclaiming the evening was filled with gratitude toward the fans. All the parlor tricks were pulled out including the loudest audience section battle prior to the live favorite, “Deuce.”

Big cheers followed Stanley’s proclamation that tonight may be sad but it’s night to celebrate, “Not only what you did for us but hopefully, what we did for you!” At a spry sixty-five years young, Eric Singer, the second-youngest member, does a noteworthy job of pounding the drums, a position he has held since 1991. And what KISS show would be complete without the band’s elder statesman Simmons, breathing fire and spitting blood, all present in this great farewell!

The last quarter of the show was nothing but a greatest hits package complete with Stanley soaring above the crowd, one last time, to his perch in the middle of the venue. From this vantage point he led the band through “Love Gun “and “I Was Made for Loving You.” The seventy-one-year-old frontman seemed a bit surprised as some errant pyro went off during “I Was Made for Loving You.” Just a reminder that even after fifty years, live rock and roll can still be unpredictable. As the sparks flew at the tail end of “Black Diamond”, Paul gave Fort Worth a “we love you, cya”, knowing full well a couple of their biggest hits had not been played.

After a few minutes of calls for an encore, Singer and a piano perform the opening notes of “Beth”, as they slowly rise to the stage. At the conclusion of this hit, the band rejoins the band’s drummer to stroll the stage and wave to fans. Calls for “ne more song” go out. Obliging, they rip through “Do You Love Me” from hit filled album, Destroyer. As KISS balloons are flying and the confetti canons blasting, they slide directly into “Rock and Roll All Nite”, sending this historic night off with a bang! Before the last round of stage explosions, Stanley asks one more question, “did you get what you came for?” Yes Paul, yes, I did! It may have taken forty-five years, but I finally got it, thank you!

A big thanks to KISS for making it happen and thank you to Dickies Arena for being so accommodating!

Photos of the show are below:

Amber Wild
Contributed by Duane Clawson
KISS / Amber Wild @ Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, TX KISS / Amber Wild @ Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on October 30, 2023 Rating: 5
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