KISS at the State Fair Grandstand, 9/4/10
September 4, 2010
Minnesota State Fair Grandstand
It's hard to to criticize KISS. They truly have a love for their audience and essentially know how to put together the best show they know how, giving everyone exactly what they came for. They created such a legacy of hits that they've played ad infinitum for so long now. As technology has evolved, the band spares no expense in updating their stage set to pulverize those who flock to each big show with an experience, right between their eyes. At times, sitting high up in the bleachers of the State Fair Grandstand, it was hard to tell where there was more electrical energy, in the Midway or on stage in front of the sold out crowd of KISS Army faithfuls.
But a part of being a KISS fan is understanding them as the artists they really are. As the band pummels through each big hit after another, one holds out hope that the band may throw in a surprise. There are a handful of us that want to hear some long lost gem of sorts; something from the disco era, like "Shandi," or an excerpt from the band's 1981 concept record, Music from the Elder, or anything else from the non-makeup era besides "Crazy Crazy Nights" for that matter. But that would be like going to the biggest McDonald's in the world and only ordering pickles. Truthfully, KISS are no slouches at rock 'n' roll, but spontaneity, even if it's choreographed, should be a part of that equation and it was hard to find on the Grandstand Stage Saturday night.
That's not to say there wasn't an effort to branch out from their formulas. The samples of KISS's latest record "Sonic Boom" were a nice addition, starting the show off with "Modern Day Delilah" and mixing their latest anthems, "Say Yeah" and "I'm An Animal," into their standard set. Allowing room for guitarist Tommy Thayer to show off his guitar tectonics in a solo and a nice duet of sorts with drummer Eric Singer was a nice touch. Classics like "Black Diamond," "Shock Me," and particularly "100,000 Years," with the traditional break down and call and response sing along with Paul Stanley, made the two-hour concert as great as anyone could really expect.
It's not like these guys are just going through the motions though, with so much going on onstage it's understandable why the band would play things so close to their sequined vests each night. Aside from all the established KISS stage gags -- fire-breathing, blood drooling, Paul swinging across the crowd and guitar solos -- there was some real sentiment. In fact even the most anti-war attendee has to applaud the band for putting their money where their tonges are as they took a moment to give thanks and acknowledge American troops by presenting a check to some uniformed soldiers on stage as part of their ongoing involvement with the Wounded Warrior Project they have been supporting since their American tour began. Though a bit strange at a KISS concert, the crowd seemed to happily recite along with Paul Stanley and the band the "Pledge of Allegiance" right before the band ripped into "Lick It Up."
All in all the Minnesota State Fair and KISS have happily found one another. KISS has created a world that we are just living in, and they had the most insane ride you could get at the fairgrounds Saturday night. People from all over rejoiced in what these guys have been bringing us for nearly four decades, and there was a real spirit of release and escape, not to mention absolute inebriation, on the Labor Day weekend night. For those that just wanted to rock 'n' roll all right, they weren't disappointed from beginning to end.
Critic's Bias: I was really just hoping my date and I would get a chance to slowdance to "Beth."
The Crowd: I hadn't seen this many people with white faces so riled up since watching the Glenn Beck rally on C-SPAN.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Next stop for them I imagine would be a Vegas stage show."
Random Notebook Dump: KISS goes well with the smell of mini-donuts and funnel cake wafting through the air.
For more photos: See our complete slideshow by Erik Hess.
"Modern Day Delilah"
"Let Me Go, Rock and Roll"
"Crazy Crazy Nights"
"Calling Dr. Love"
"I'm An Animal"
"I Love It Loud"
"Detroit Rock City"
"Lick it Up"
"Shout it out Loud"
"I Was Made for Loving You"
"God gave Rock and Roll to you II"
"Rock and Roll All Nite"
"Rock Twins" Mark and Paul Bringardner
Photo by Danny Sigelman
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.