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Kiss; Stabbing Westward

Promoted by Avalon Attractions and KROQ Radio. Bands: (Kiss) Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss; (Westward) David Suycott, Jim Sellers, Walter Flakus, Christopher Hall, Stuart Zechman. Reviewed Aug. 23, 1996. Kiss seemingly left no rock music cliche untouched during its action-packed set Thursday at the Forum as it squeezed a stadium-sized show into the Inglewood venue. Pyrotechnics, rising platforms and a lighting complement capable of powering a small country backed the triumphant return of the 70s-era quartet who strutted, posed and preened for two hours to the delight of the sold-out crowd, which spent the shows duration on its collective feet. While it may have been easy to dismiss the bands return to wearing makeup and spandex and spitting blood as an aging rock groups feeble grasp at a last hurrah, Kiss pulled it off by providing more color and energy in two hours than most rockers half their age deliver in a career lifetime. It was also obvious why the reunited band has the hottest tour in the marketplace as, in addition to giving a perf worth more than the price of admission, its audience crossed all demographic lines and included a hefty contingent of fans who were probably only tangentially familiar with the groups post-cosmetics existence. This tour stop mirrored others as it was the first of a three-night, sold-out stand as part of Kiss Alive/Worldwide tour that will extend to overseas locales where the bands popularity never waned early next year. (However, Kiss current Mercury Records best-of set, You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best, which the roadshow is supporting, is not faring as well. Sales of the disc have been slow, with only small tour-related sales bumps being logged.) The action-packed set was loaded with nuggets like Strutter,Beth,Shout It Out Loud and Deuce, and other tunes whose catchy hooks and have-a-good-time messages may seem out of place in todays urban-flavored playlists. But the tracks found considerable favor with the crowd at every turn. For Paul Stanley it was 1977 again, as the fortysomething frontman was clearly having fun as he swaggered about the stage, swinging his guitar and serving up quality vocal work on the groups best-knowns while frequently encouraging the house with plenty of rockdoms call-to-arms cliches. Gene Simmons trademarked tongue-waving like almost every antic broadcast on the huge video wall positioned at the back of the stage and the smaller screens overhead garnered considerable applause. The bat-caped bassist also offered enthusiastic riff work that was unimpeded by the occasional fire- and blood-spitting and the 10-inch foundations of his skull-and-crossbones-sporting footwear. Fretmeister Ace Frehley provided the sets musical temperament with aggressive and at times impressive axework that bolstered the bands already thunderous presence provided by Simmons and drummer Peter Criss. The smoking strings, fire-spitting and explosions which emanated from Frehleys guitar rig were eagerly anticipated, and the theatrics were more than well-received. The set which was altered slightly from previous shows fittingly closed with an extended and confetti-capped version of Rock n Roll All Nite, the anthem the band is perhaps most closely associated with and one which succeeded in sending the crowd home on a decidedly high note. By contrast, the cacophonous concoction offered by show opener Stabbing Westward failed to score any points with the half-empty house as it pulled mostly from its Columbia Records debut, Ungod.

Promoted by Avalon Attractions and KROQ Radio. Bands: (Kiss) Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss; (Westward) David Suycott, Jim Sellers, Walter Flakus, Christopher Hall, Stuart Zechman. Reviewed Aug. 23, 1996. Kiss seemingly left no rock music cliche untouched during its action-packed set Thursday at the Forum as it squeezed a stadium-sized show into the Inglewood venue. Pyrotechnics, rising platforms and a lighting complement capable of powering a small country backed the triumphant return of the 70s-era quartet who strutted, posed and preened for two hours to the delight of the sold-out crowd, which spent the shows duration on its collective feet. While it may have been easy to dismiss the bands return to wearing makeup and spandex and spitting blood as an aging rock groups feeble grasp at a last hurrah, Kiss pulled it off by providing more color and energy in two hours than most rockers half their age deliver in a career lifetime. It was also obvious why the reunited band has the hottest tour in the marketplace as, in addition to giving a perf worth more than the price of admission, its audience crossed all demographic lines and included a hefty contingent of fans who were probably only tangentially familiar with the groups post-cosmetics existence. This tour stop mirrored others as it was the first of a three-night, sold-out stand as part of Kiss Alive/Worldwide tour that will extend to overseas locales where the bands popularity never waned early next year. (However, Kiss current Mercury Records best-of set, You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best, which the roadshow is supporting, is not faring as well. Sales of the disc have been slow, with only small tour-related sales bumps being logged.) The action-packed set was loaded with nuggets like Strutter,Beth,Shout It Out Loud and Deuce, and other tunes whose catchy hooks and have-a-good-time messages may seem out of place in todays urban-flavored playlists. But the tracks found considerable favor with the crowd at every turn. For Paul Stanley it was 1977 again, as the fortysomething frontman was clearly having fun as he swaggered about the stage, swinging his guitar and serving up quality vocal work on the groups best-knowns while frequently encouraging the house with plenty of rockdoms call-to-arms cliches. Gene Simmons trademarked tongue-waving like almost every antic broadcast on the huge video wall positioned at the back of the stage and the smaller screens overhead garnered considerable applause. The bat-caped bassist also offered enthusiastic riff work that was unimpeded by the occasional fire- and blood-spitting and the 10-inch foundations of his skull-and-crossbones-sporting footwear. Fretmeister Ace Frehley provided the sets musical temperament with aggressive and at times impressive axework that bolstered the bands already thunderous presence provided by Simmons and drummer Peter Criss. The smoking strings, fire-spitting and explosions which emanated from Frehleys guitar rig were eagerly anticipated, and the theatrics were more than well-received. The set which was altered slightly from previous shows fittingly closed with an extended and confetti-capped version of Rock n Roll All Nite, the anthem the band is perhaps most closely associated with and one which succeeded in sending the crowd home on a decidedly high note. By contrast, the cacophonous concoction offered by show opener Stabbing Westward failed to score any points with the half-empty house as it pulled mostly from its Columbia Records debut, Ungod.

Kiss; Stabbing Westward

(The Forum; 17,000 seats; $ 50 top)

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