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When you think of the most influential bands of all time in terms of musicality, showmanship, and a desire to create the greatest live show ever seen. There is an argument to be made that no band has done this better than KISS. Four New Yorkers who decided to put on white face makeup, stylize it with their own personal flare, dress up in the shiniest attire any stage has seen, wear platform boots, and still rally the crowd to rock out as hard as they can. In today’s age this doesn’t sound too crazy, but in the 70s KISS were trend setters. And for 50 years they have proven that they are the hottest band in the world with a top notch stage show that few can compare. Selling out the 17,500 seat Hollywood Bowl, KISS was bringing their blistering hot stage show to the good people of Los Angeles one last time with their End of the Road World Tour. From kids as young as five, to the oldest KISS fans, the Bowl was a sea of fans dressed up with their face painted in their favorite members makeup look. We were all here for one last chance to see the hottest band in the world. 

As a huge KISS banner hung across the front of the stage, Led Zeppelin’s classic “Rock and Roll” played over the speakers. This was the familiar alarm that fans have grown to know that the band is hitting the stage in a few moments. As the banner fell, the band started off the night with “Detroit Rock City,” and all 17,500 fans were up on their feet singing and dancing ready to lose themselves in the show we were about to see. Yet the stage was barren, until we realized all four members of KISS were descending from the ceiling of the Hollywood Bowl, each on their own separate platform while fireworks and pyro ignited around them. This just made us all go even crazier in our seats as no band is starting off their shows this way. 

I’m sadly too young to have seen KISS in their younger days, but getting the opportunity to see them now, I feel they have not lost a step in their performance. Each member of the band is still whole heartedly dedicated to their onstage persona and the performance they are giving the crowd. Guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley has not stopped embodying the Star Child personality that he dawned all those decades ago. The man still struts around the stage waving his libido for all to see, and the crowd continues to eat it up. Bassist and vocalist Gene Simmons is a towering demon on stage, with his batwings, and the ability to heighten their stage show to a whole new level. Not only has this man written some iconic basslines and songs, but he continues to breath fire over the front row audience and soar high above the crowd spewing blood during “God of Thunder.” Fellow guitarist Tommy Thayer has really made The Spaceman persona his own over the last two decades. During his guitar solo he fires off multiple rockets from the headstock of his guitar, taking out flying saucers that have descended onto the KISS stage and saving the crowd from alien abduction. Drummer Eric Singer honors all qualities of The Catman not just behind the drum kit but stepping front and center to give his beautiful rendition of KISS’s biggest hit “Beth.” All four members are still performing at the top of their game after all these years.

With a KISS show you do not just get four insanely talented musicians, as the band wants to not just provide some of the best music of all time, they want to entertain you. With the backline of the stage framed with nearly 30 stage lights, pyro techniques firing behind and in front of the lights, fireworks firing from around the stage, KISS was making sure this was an unforgettable experience. One of the more unique moments of the show was when Paul Stanley jumped on a zip line and soared through the crowd to a mini B-Stage smack dab in the middle of the venue. He wanted to be closer to the back of the crowd, and make sure everyone is having a good time. While Paul was on this mini stage, the band performed the classics “Love Gun,” “I Was Made For Loving You,” and “Black Diamond” before he ziplined back to the main stage. Other classics that graced our ears were “Shout it Out Loud,” “Deuce,” “ Heaven’s On Fire,” “I Love It Loud,” “Cold Gin,” “Lick It Up,” “Calling Dr. Love,” “Psycho Circus,” “1000,000 Years,” and coming back for a three song encore with “Beth,” “Do You Love Me,” and ending with the seminal rock anthem “Rock and Roll All Nite.” With the latter two songs, KISS branded beach balls were being bounced around the entire amphitheatre. As well as Confetti, streamers, and pyro were firing off throughout the final moments of the concert. As the last notes rang out, the Hollywood Bowl ignited a firework show that light up the sky while KISS’s “God Gave Rock and Roll to You II” played over the speakers. 

After 50 years, the band has decided it’s time to call it quits. But they are going to give the people one last epic tour and cement themselves as one of the greatest live acts ever. Starting the End of the Road World Tour on January 13th, 2019. This tour has been going on for four years, has had 13 legs, and performed to over 253 crowds of screaming fans so far. Culminating with two final performances to be held at Madison Square Garden in New York. Every fan was sent home happy after seeing this show and yet we were still a bit sad knowing that this is the last time KISS will be playing to a Los Angeles crowd, allegedly. You want the best. We got the best. The hottest band in the World! 

Matt Martinez

Editor - Orange County

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