Sunday, July 25, 2010

The hottest band in the world? Kinda. Probably.

Over the years, when I tell people what music I listen to, especially as I've gotten older, I've always felt the slightest need to apologize.
Um, yes, THAT Motley Crue, I say, even when their eyes say, "Um...still?"
I hardly ever do apologize, of course. I'm a metal head and proud of it, even years later, when folks like my own Mom think I should have outgrown it by now.
This, of course, brings me to Friday night's KISS show in Cheyenne, Wyo.
KISS are kind of a goofy band. They went without that black and white makeup for a few years, mostly in the hair metal era, when everyone already looked so ridiculous that the costumes seemed tame by comparison. They brought it back at the right time, in 2000 (I believe), when most of the bands were still whiny brats and forgot how to rock and roll. 
KISS has not forgotten, and they sounded like it Friday.
Though most of the people there probably didn't even know KISS had a new album out, the band led off with its greatest tune in decades, "Modern Day Delilah." If you were any kind of a KISS fan at all - and don't lie, you were too - you really should download this song. The album is good, maybe even just decent, but the song is great. 
Still, they played the song as they were being lifted on risers, with enough dry ice to fog a city, after the announcement that the "hottest band in the world" was about to hit the stage.
If there's any band that's survived as long as it has and yet draws the need to apologize for loving them, it's KISS. The band just smells of cheese, and, let's be honest, not just cheese, but Cheez.
Yes, there are the costumes and makeup, and that's almost enough. But there's also the winking lyrics - "Danger Us" off the latest album is just one of many fun examples - and more endorsements than Krusty the Klown and all the TV specials (and I'm not even talking about KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park). Do I even need to mention the Disco song? 
And there's the pyro and lights and dry ice and fireworks.
OK, but here's where KISS starts to justify the Cheez. Because it's BECAUSE of the Cheez, almost as much as their insanely catching songs and great musicianship, that makes KISS a one-of-a-kind, terrific band.
Yeah, I expected great music, and I got that. (Let's be honest for a second here. KISS can play. No, their songs are not "House of the Holy," but they are also more fun to listen to, and name me another band that features four great players and singers at the same time). Yeah, I expected a long show, and I got that, too. But I DEMANDED the pyro, and literally, my expectations were blown away. The show ended with fireworks that lasted a good five minutes. It sort of reminded me of the cartoon by the Oatmeal that talked about a pig having an orgasm for more than 20 minutes. I kept thinking as the explosions went off over the sky, "Wow, how long can this really go on?" (Something the pig probably thinks too).
Cheyenne's Frontier Days was packed that night, sold out, with thousands and thousands of fans shaking the place, including thousands from Colorado who probably would not have made it up there otherwise. It's no secret. Yes, KISS is cheesy, but they sounded great, played for almost three hours and gave us exactly what we wanted.
All of it without any apologies.

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