By Dominik Dusek
Photo by Christian Herzig
A concert by the American hard rock band Kiss always draws a parade of fans. In front of the Hallenstadion on Sunday, some had painted the letters K, I, S and S on their bare chests. Others - the youngest of which appeared to be five years old - wore the same makeup faces as their idols.
Dozens of Paul Stanleys (star and kissing lips) and Eric Singers (cat's face) abounded, and an amorous couple was spotted, one person made up to look like Tommy Thayer (spaceman) and the other made up like Gene Simmons (the one with the tongue) dearly kissing each other.
A short hour later the makeup scene repeated itself onstage at the Hallenstadion: During the melodic guitar solo of "Cold Gin," the second song of the evening, Gene Simmons let his tongue slip over the neck of Thayer. Monsters they may be, even in this strictly heterosexual hard rock. And if nothing else, the comic-book monster that Kiss is provides a very impressive presentation.
The show's intro movie showed the musicians as giants over a sea of buildings, and the band entered on a raised platform that swung to the stage front. Stanley appeared with an untamed mane of hair and chest hair showing. Simmons, in turn, wore his characteristic hairstyle and prowled around the stage like a lizard. Soon, a bra dangled from Stanley's guitar, and Simmons spit fire.
Countless detailed, visual elements shape this production, right down to the appropriate lead guitar shapes that visually define KISS, and they have remained almost unchanged for decades (except for a short period when they unmasked.) It wouldn't be professional to forget to mention their signature costumes too. But this show was indeed also about the music.
Kiss songs are really pop songs, they are - more pointedly - a little closer to Abba than Led Zeppelin. Sure, they rock harder in crunchy riff songs like "Deuce" or "Detroit Rock City", but the crafty calculated effect on the audience is quite similar. Kiss is, and always have been, completely in control of what they do. In any case, the nearly sold-out stadium hall was very satisfied.
And yes, Paul Stanley also flew.
Translated from German for KISSonline by Jill Cataldo