Backstage News, Front Row Pics

Kiss Turns 40 and Can Still Rock and Roll All Night


KISS 1 doc


By SethM




Say/think what you will about Kiss, especially long-time targets Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, but there’s no denying that the band still puts on one hell of a performance and deserve a standing ovation for their shows and ~ after 40 years ~ ability to sell out major venues across the globe and keep adding to their Kiss Army.

Kiss101This week when they returned to their New York roots (Long Island, to be exact) there were some unfortunate issues that nearly cancelled the show, but the band knew, as they always have, that “The show must go on,” and didn’t let what might have thrown lesser bands get in the way of giving 15,000 New York fans a night to remember.

I arrived early in the day to learn that a lighting truck had overturned, causing some significant damage to the lighting gear & trusses. Even with a road crew hard at work trying to get everything fixed, it became apparent around 6pm that, unfortunately, The Dead Daisies would not be opening the show as planned ~ read our article on TDD here and you’ll understand why not getting to see their set was such a disappointment, as their supergroup talents were the perfect addition to the Def Leppard/Kiss bill ~ but FW will catch up with them soon, you can count on it. 


With a delayed venue opening of 7:20 pm (scheduled for 6), Def Leppard still took the stage on time at 8pm and Joe Elliot did mention what had happened and graciously commending the crews for getting the show up and running despite the earlier problems. And then the 80s/90s were back in all their glory for the 75 minute Leppard set which included songs that spanned their notable (and not without its own tragedies) 30 year career of hits ~ from “Foolin’” to the arena-worthy “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” No surprise, the crowd was on their feet, singing every word of every song with a combination of nostalgia and the kind of pure devotion that was very specific to the 80s rock world.  For me, though, the highlight of the earlier part of the set was when the band slowed things down with an acoustic version of “Two Steps Behind” that led into an acoustic start to the epic “Bringin on the Heartbreak” before they jacked the volume and energy back up for the second half of their time onstage.


Joe Elliot, archived FW

Joe Elliot, archived FW

Def Leppard’s full set was as follows:

Let It Go



Love Bites

Let’s Get Rocked

Two Steps Behind

Bringin’ on the Heartbreak

Switch 625



Armageddon It

Pour Some Sugar on Me


Rock of Ages




Then the Kiss Kabuki curtain was up and the crowd was visibly excited for the big reveal. Unfortunately, due to wind that blew the curtain from its hooks almost immediately, there was yet another adjustment to be made: Paul, Gene, Tommy and Eric were going to have to go old school and just walk on stage with no big reveal and without their typical entrance.  Once again, these guys proved what pros they are and that no technical glitch was going to stop them from taking the stage and doing what they’ve been doing for decades ~ entertain their audience in full-on Kiss style.


“You wanted the best, you got the best, the hottest band in the world…  KISS!!!”



With confetti canon bursts behind me and pyro, rockets and fire in front of me, the kickoff to and celebration of 40 years of Kisstory with the newly crowned 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Famers was underway with “Psycho Circus.”

On a personal note, speaking for both myself and the friends who were at the concert with me, the second Kiss starts playing it’s like we are 5 years old all over again; even though we’re all adults, there’ an excitement that comes over us and I was captivated watching the band that I realized I was forgetting to take photos! The funny part is I have seen Kiss tons of times and have had the pleasure of spending time with them over the years (as I did this night), but every single time I am still transported back to my childhood.

Kiss with SethM, center

Kiss with SethM, center

I grew up loving music, but the first band I EVER called my own, that I laid claim to in a house filled with oldies, The Beatles, Billy Joel, The Eagles, and many more of that type of artist was Kiss. Sure, back then they were called Satan worshippers, a blight on society, demonic influences on the younger generation, but to me they were the greatest band in the world (‘til I discovered Rush at 8)…and 40 years later ~ now music legends rather than the Devil himself ~ they still have that same kind of hold on me.


Kiss028Paul Stanley addressed the crowd with, “Hey, Jones Beach, we’ve been coming here for so long, I think even before a lot of you were born.” And there’s no question that he’s right in realizing that being around for 40 years in pretty significant ~ the crowd ranged in age from about 5 to 65 and everyone had that same look of “We’re getting to see Kiss live!” lighting up their faces.


Paul shared a lot throughout the show, as he typically does, going from stories of the past to the previously mentioned truck/lighting incident with exactly the attitude you’d expect, that “…you can’t call off rock and roll,” and of course mentioning this year’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…right before breaking into “Shout It Out Loud.”

With well over 200 songs in their catalogue to choose from, Kiss chose, much to the crowd’s delight, to stick to their hits. Going with chart toppers like “Deuce,” “Lick it Up,” and “Calling Dr. Love,” they energized and entertained the audience. As is true with most tours, there are typically a few choices that I find interesting ~ some good, some not so much…and in this set, “War Machine” from the nearly forgotten about Creatures of the Night album and “Hide Your Heart” from Hot in the Shade were definitely the two odd men out. “I Love It Loud,” with Gene Simmons clapping and shouting, “Sing it!” was a highlight, and of course no show would be complete without Gene breathing fire or blood-spitting bass solo followed by a flight up to the rafters for “God of Thunder.”



The crowd ate up every moment and as the show was winding down Paul asked them to invite him out to a small stage near the sound board. Paul told them if they made enough noise he’d come out but if not he’d just stay on the stage and keep playing. With the roar of a sold-out Jones Beach, Paul was on his zip line flying out over the audience as every one of us joined him in singing “Love Gun.” The set closed out with “Black Diamond” as he zipped back.



For those who may not know and are curious as to why bands don’t play longer sets or later into the night, many venues have curfews as well as large union fines for shows that run over and the Nikon Theatre is one such venue. In keeping with what Paul had said, that “You can’t call off rock and roll,” Kiss couldn’t leave without an encore. Paul referenced the curfew and said that rather than leaving the stage, waiting, and coming back, they’d just keep playing. They did two more songs, ending with their anthem “Rock and Roll All Night” ~ and if the crowd could have stayed all night, they surely would have.


Kiss018There’s rarely anything negative to be said of a Kiss show ~ Paul and Gene know what they are doing and they give the fans, probably the most loyal in the world, what they want. Sure, I’d love to see them come out and do something like “An Evening With Kiss” where they play an acoustic set then a regular set or just 3 hours of show, but they reserve that type of thing for the Kiss Kruise which, by the way, truly is the ultimate Kiss vacation.


Although I am no longer the wide-eyed, obsessed Kiss fan that I was as a child, that child in still in me, and for both of us, this was a killer Kiss show… The whole set is below and if you want a great night of rock and roll from three great bands (trust me, you’re going to want to catch The Dead Daisies as well as the co-headliners) then go check out Kiss on their 40th Anniversary Tour.



And of course for the ultimate Kiss Vacation, head to

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One final note ~ $1 of every ticket sold on the Kiss Tour goes to the Wounded Warrior Project. This is another great cause and, as I have said before, I think it’s important that people/bands give back so please check out WWP at and know that while you’re having a great time rockin’ out,  you’re also helping those who deserve our support.


Kiss 40th Anniversary Tour ~ Nikon Theatre at Jones Beach ~ Full Set List:

Kiss041Psycho Circus


Shout It Out Loud

War Machine

Hotter Than Hell

I Love It Loud

Lick It Up

God of Thunder

Hide Your Heart

Calling Dr. Love

Love Gun

Black Diamond

Detroit Rock City

Rock and Roll All Night


Editor’s Note:  We would have loved to bring you pix of Def Leppard’s set, but the band had decided against allowing any media photographers to shoot their portion of the show.  Disappointing, yes, but a decision that was beyond our control.  

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