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Archive for the ‘Scranton Times-Tribune’ Category

[ATTENDED: August 9, 2014] Kiss

2014-08-09 21.41.30As I said, two years ago, I saw Kiss at this same venue and I marveled that Gene and Paul could still do all this while both in their mid 60s. But Paul’s voice sounded a little weak, and I wasn’t really sure that I wanted to see them again after that.

But here it is two years later, and I was back with my friend Matt and his family, and I’m going to say that the show was superb this year. Paul’s voice was in great form, the band seemed revitalized, even Gene seemed to enjoy himself.

Some changes were made on this tour.  I saw that in earlier shows in the tour they played some songs that I would have loved to hear–“King of the Nighttime World” especially, so I was a little bummed that they played a setlist that was pretty close (but not exact) to the last time.  What was surprising was what they left out–no “Shock Me” no guitar solo (I didn’t miss it) and no smoking guitar. So, “Ace” got short shrift, but there’s so much other spectacle that it wasn’t such a big deal. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 9, 2014] Def Leppard

Two years ago, Kiss had Motley Crue open for them.  Crue was one of those bands that I liked when they first came out and then, as they made poppier/sleazier music, I liked them less.  This year, the opener was Def Leppard.  Def Leppard was even more egregious in terms of going from a heavy metal band to a massive pop band.  And, heck, it worked for them.  But as a young metal head, who enjoyed most of High and Dry and some of Pyromania, Hysteria was just too far.  And I actively disliked a lot of those songs (perhaps more than I needed to) at the time.

And what I learned is that even after all these years, while I could “forgive” some bands and actually enjoy their sets, I could not forgive Def Leppard for all of the songs that I really disliked.

But first…how ballsy is it to have your intro music be The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and then after the big scream near the end, have your banner drop and you finish the song.  I was pretty surprised.  But they sounded quite good, loud and brash.  And then they opened with “Let It Go,” a pretty heavy (for them) track from High and Dry which I had forgotten about but which rocked really well.  And I thought, hey, any chance they’re just going to play the heavy songs?

But no.  They moved into “Animal,” one of 6 songs from Hysteria.  Of course, it wasn’t all Hysteria.  They did play “Foolin'” which really didn’t do it for me as much as I thought it would-perhaps I was bitter about the Hysteria.  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 9, 2014] Dead Daisies

daisiesTwo years ago, I went to see Kiss in Scranton.  I had seen them a few times by then, and since Paul’s voice sounded pretty bad, I didn’t think I’d go again.  But I love hanging out with my friend Matt and don’t get to see him enough, so when he invited me up for this year’s extravaganza, I decided what the hell.  And it turned out to be a very good show indeed.

The first opening act was a band called Dead Daisies.  Last time, they had an opening act that I didn’t investigate at all.  But this year, I had my phone out and figured that Dead Daisies was a local Scranton band, and I’d see if I could find anything about them.

Well, it turns out that Dead Daisies is from Australia and that the lead singer, Jon Stevens, was the guy who sang for INXS after Michael Hutchence killed himself (but before they did the reality show to find a new singer).  I never heard INXS in that version, but the way he was singing for this band, I can’t even begin to imagine him as a good fit.  Because he has a big old powerful voice and sings in a very un-Hutchence way.

When they first came out I was kind of unimpressed.  The first song sounded a ton like AC/DC.  And the second song sounded like Bad Company.  As it turns out the band is a kind of retro rock band, with connections to Guns N Roses (guitarist Richard Fortus has played with GnR and Dizzy Reed plays keyboards for GnR).  And it turns out that Slash co-wrote their song “Lock ‘n’ Load.”  The other guys in the band are Marco Mendoza on bass (he’s played with Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and many others) and David Lowy on guitar.  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 18, 2012] Kiss

Kiss has never really been cool.  Even in fourth grade when they were cool, it wasn’t cool to like them.  They have been really uncool on and off from time to time and that seems to make their fans even more die-hard.  I’m not die-hard–I’ll not be spending $4,000 on a Kiss book–but I will buy their records and see them once in a while.

The last time I saw them was 12 years ago (July 2000) for their Farewell Tour (the irony is not lost, no).  That was a fun show, seeing the original line up in make up.  And they played most of their hits (even ones I didn’t like so much).  The set list from 2000 is at the bottom, for comparison to the new set list.

This tour was odd for this reason–they have a new album coming out.  And yet its arrival date is just after the last day of the tour.  Who ever heard of ending a tour before the album comes out?  Also, they just reissued Destroyer in a new recording, but it wasn’t even mentioned.  And they didn’t do any extra songs from it.  Weird.  The Kiss machine will not deviate from its plan.

So, there’s no Peter or Ace anymore.  Eric Singer looks enough like Peter in the makeup and he sounded great in Black Diamond (thankfully t here was no “Beth.”  But you can really see a difference between Ace and Tommy Thayer.  Regardless, Tommy sounds an awful lot like Ace when he sings and, since he’s a pro, he can handle all guitar duties.   There is something a little odd in him doing all of the same things that Ace used to do–shouldn’t they update the tricks a little bit?–but it’s always fun to see the guitar shoot off roman candles. (more…)

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