If it’s at all possible to perform an intimate set for 20,000 fans, KISS did it on July 13, 2014 at the Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas, Texas. As a longtime fan of the “Hottest Band in the World,” there was something unique about their set that night. Not that the band has ever shown anything different to their legion of fans, but there was an even higher level of sincerity in the voice of Paul Stanley as he addressed the audience.
The band kicked off the night with an energetic performance of the title track off of their reunion album “Psycho Circus.” The opening riffs of the song rang out as the band was lowered to the stage. They stood on a platform in the center of the now-famous metal-framed spider they’ve used on the past couple of tours. To say KISS was amped up and ready to fulfill the dreams of fans looking for a high-octane concert would be an understatement.
As a lone gun reporter, I had the wonderful opportunity of reviewing and taking photos of KISS for my article as well. Being the professional showmen they’re known to be, the guys immediately made their way to the front of the stage and put on a spectacle that would make any other rock act on tour right now embarrassed of themselves.
Paul Stanley jumped in the air and danced pompously all over the stage before kneeling at the front of the stage and playing his guitar between his legs. Gene Simmons fully embraced his Demon persona by lashing his tongue in and out of his mouth, skulking around the stage, and looking menacingly into the cameras and at fans lucky enough to have front row seats. Lead guitarist Tommy Thayer picked away at his instrument as he marched around adding electricity to each song. Drummer Eric Singer beat the drums and added his own signature style and hard-hitting rhythms to every song.
Between each adrenaline-fueled song, Stanley addressed the crowd on what felt like a more personal level. Instead of his usual rock and roll preacher role he takes, he told the crowd how appreciative the band was of their fans and thanked God for being able to be onstage nightly. It was impressive how heartfelt his words and mannerisms were.
Simmons was having a fun crisis of identity as he lumbered around the stage. He switched between ominous blood-spitting monster and loveable rocker having a grand time making funny faces at the crowd. It was nice to see him having so much fun onstage.
The group’s set list consisted of hits from most eras of their discography. They played classics found on their self-titled album, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Mixed in to these were selections off of their 1980s offerings like “Lick It Up” and “Hot in the Shade.” The only thing missing was one or two tracks off of their latest offerings, “Sonic Boom” and “Monster.”
One of the most memorable moments of the night was when Paul Stanley announced they were going to forgo the usual encore ritual to save time and play more songs. Dallas has a curfew and sound ordinance which would have caused the band to cut a song from their set. Instead of walking offstage and waiting for the crowd to beg them to play one more, they just fired through another couple songs to give the attendees more bang for their buck.
I’ve seen KISS six times now, and their live performance for this show was very much at the top of their game. The group has never promised perfect renditions of their songs in a live setting. All they’ve ever vowed to deliver is a show you’d never forget full of passionate playing and all the glitz and glamor possible to cram into one hour and a half concert. They delivered the goods plus some in Dallas this time around.
Click here to see more pictures from the concert.