Rock legends KISS brought their 2014 tour to First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, Ill., August 16. Fans piled into the venue, many dressed as their favorite KISS character, early on Saturday for a bill that also featured Def Leppard. The Dead Daisies opened the show beginning at 7 p.m.
Featuring members of INXS, Whitesnake and late-era Guns 'N Roses, The Dead Daisies took advantage of their prime 30-minute opening slot to perform music from their debut, eponymous 2013 album. "Lock 'n' Load" and "Angel in Your Eyes" stood out during their six-song set.
Def Leppard encountered sound issues early into their performance. An overabundance of bass and poorly mixed vocals from frontman Joe Elliot were resolved within the few songs. Opening with rock anthem "Let It Go" quickly set the tone, getting fans onto their feet. "Foolin'," "Love Bites" and "Let's Get Rocked" showed they were going to spread the love across their catalog.
They slowed down the show near mid-set with an acoustic performance of "Two Steps Behind," and remained in that mode for a stripped-down start to "Bringin' on the Heartbreak." By the third verse, "Heartbreak" exploded with a dramatic transition to electric guitars--easily the highlight of Def Leppard's night. "Hysteria," "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "Armageddon It" capped off their set proper with a sing-along. They finished with a two-song encore from multi-platinum smash Pyromania, concluding with "Rock of Ages" and "Photograph."
Both KISS and Def Leppard played for roughly 75-minutes. While members of the KISS Army might balk at the abbreviated set, the double billing did draw a contingent of Def Leppard fans and added depth to the night--there was no shortage of rock radio hits.
A large curtain masked KISS' stage setting. When the kabuki dropped Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer were perched upon a large mechanical spider, while Eric Singer's drum riser dwarfed the rear section of the stage. The spider acted as an ominous presence during the show but also served as platform for Simmons during his blood-spurting bass solo during "God of Thunder" and riser for Stanley and Thayer during "Lick It Up."
From "Black Diamond" to "Hide Your Heart," KISS manages to entertain without reservation. Stanley addressed the crowd at point and stated, "Turn on the TV, there are problems in the world." He added radio and internet as places to fret before offering additional advice, "It's Saturday night. Let's have fun and forget about the rest of the world until tomorrow."
The spectacle that is a live KISS show has not changed much in the past few decades. Long gone are Ace Frehley and Peter Criss from the original lineup but, as they say in the business, the show must go on. Simmons and Stanley have even alluded to the concept of a KISS tour that involves none of the original members. Something that would reduce KISS to a traveling Broadway play. The concept is not that far-fetched considering it involves requisite choreography to showcase a flying starchild, a fire- and blood-spewing demon, and enough pyro to invade a small country.