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November 18th, 2012

KISS – RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – November 18th, 2012
So the time had finally come! It was the chance to see one of my favorite bands ever live again after some years. KISS was in town, and considering the past shows in the cities of Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo, all of the fans from Rio had such great expectations. Since I've been a huge KISS fan and collector since I was seven years old (reward history to 1983, when the band first came to Brazil – but it was quite frustrating back then, because my father refused to take me to something considered totally outrageous at the time, especially if you're talking about Brazil), and having gone to their gigs here in 1994, 1999 and 2009, I just had to buy their famous Meet & Greet Experience package as well. When their official website announced it would be available for purchase here this time, I really freaked out! I had already met the whole band back in 2009, but Paul Stanley. Even though a small fortune was spent on that, I knew it was going to be something special, other than the gig itself. For the first time in years, the Meet & Greet Experience package would include not only a personal picture with the band members, but also an exclusive acoustic set before the show. I was thrilled and I confess that I spent more than two weeks in total madness and anxiety.

Dean Snowden, the responsible person for the Meet & Greet Experience met the fans punctually at 4 p.m. and he and the crew led the fans to this private room, where there was a small stage already set up. Dean was such a nice and polite guy, he explained to the fans how things would work. It was good to see KISS has people like him working for them. He was kind enough to answer all the questions that we, the fans, could possibly have and then it was show time! Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Singerand Tommy Thayer were soon on the small stage with their acoustic guitars loaded. The band seemed to be very relaxed and was talking nicely to the audience, while performing the set, which we knew beforehand that would be different from the past ones. They opened the set with the great "Hide Your Heart" and the fans went insane! It was hard for them to put the set together, since people were out of control asking for songs, and they really didn't know what to play! "Do You Love Me" came next, and after some minutes to decide, they played "Wall Of Sound" from their new Monster album. All the band seemed to be having a good time, and they continued the set with another one of everyone's favorites: "Shandi".

The doubts choosing the next songs went on but then, "Plaster Caster" was chosen and the fans loved it! So many requests of songs these guys may never have played live, and they were kind enough to try some small parts of some songs, like some stuff from The Elder album. It was a big surprise when they played the song "I". "Spit" came next, but it was clearly improvised. One of my favorite KISS tunes ever came next, "Tears Are Falling" and then they closed this set with "Sure Know Something", another one of everyone's favorites.

After the set, all the band members came offstage to sign stuff and some of them took pictures with fans, without their stage outfits and make-up on. What really surprised me was when Eric Singer and Gene Simmons took their time to talk on the phone with one of their biggest fans from Brazil, who couldn't make it to the show due to health problems. This guy is one of my best friends, and they did remember him, for he has already chased KISS mostly everywhere around the world: USA, Australia, Japan, Canada and New Zealand (just to name a few countries). After that the fans had to wait for the band to get dressed for the official Meet & Greet photograph, which would be taken a few hours later. Once everyone had his photograph taken (I confess I really freaked out when it was my turn and I was the closest I could to Paul Stanley, one of my biggest idols ever), people were more than thrilledand happy, and headed straight for the concert.

KISS ACOUSTIC GIG SET LIST: Hide Your Heart, Do You Love Me, Wall Of Sound, Shandi, Plaster Caster, I, Spit, Tears Are Falling, Sure Know Something.
The gig itself started punctually at 9 p.m. (different from what had happened in Porto Alegre, where there was a two-hour delay, and Sao Paulo, with a ten-minute delay). KISS hit the stage with "Detroit Rock City" and "Shout It Out Loud", and it was cool to see that this time they had all the big stage and scenery from the tour, which was something that did not happen back in 1994 and 2009. They had all the pyro, lights, platforms and effects a KISS fan could ever ask for! "Calling Dr. Love" came next, and it was clear that it was going to be an unforgettable show, and that these guys can still prove they are one of the biggest bands in history.

Paul Stanley then announced it was time for something off their new Monsteralbum, and the single "Hell Or Hallelujah" was surely something special. Gene Simmonssang the next one, also from the new Monster album, "Wall Of Sound", giving way to the classic "Hotter Than Hell", when Gene did his fire breathing number, along with the already famous sirens. I was particularly glad that this song was in the set, since it's a much better song in my opinion than the classic "Firehouse", which is usually used for this part of the show.

Gene Simmons was still in command when they played "I Love It Loud", one of the most popular KISS songs in Brazil. Paul Stanley then said that Tommy Thayer was going to sing the next one, and it was excellent listening to "Outta this World" other than the old Ace Frehley songs Tommy usually does. I guess it's about time Tommygot the respect he deserves, since he's a great guitarist and songwriter. I always thought that he fit KISS just perfectly, even better than Bruce Kulick. Most people say I'm crazy when I say this, but the guy is not only really good, but he also has a history with KISS that dates back to 1986's Black 'N' Blue's album "Nasty Nasty", produced by Gene Simmons. It's not news to anyone that when Black 'N' Blue called it quits in the late 80's, and after some not very well succeeded bands, Tommy had been working for KISS in their crew. No doubt he's the right guy for the lead guitar role in the band. The great "Sonic Boom" and "Monster" albums can easily prove that!

When this song was over, Tommyand Eric Singer did some kind of solo together, switching the spotlight, which sounded and looked great. Tommy then shot some fireworks with his guitar and Eric had some kind of bazooka that was quite interesting too! Another good part of the show, since they could do their own stuff, but not for that long – I'm not exactly very fond of guitar and drum solos in concerts, I always think bands can include a song or two instead of them. But this number was quite interesting and not long at all. The 'blood spitting demon" came onstage again for a quick bass solo, and then Gene Simmons "flew" up there and sang the great "God Of Thunder", another classic. Paul Stanleywas then back in command and they did the amazing "Psycho Circus", followed by another one of Gene's classic KISS tunes, the brilliant and not obvious "War Machine".

Paul Stanley said then he was going out there to "see the people", flying over the audience to a small stage located on the other side of the arena, and the band performed "Love Gun", showing that Paul is really one of the greatest performers in rock and roll history and also one of the most influential musicians of all time. After "flying back" to the stage, he did a short solo and started off "Black Diamond", with Eric Singer showing how good of a singer he can be – it's not necessary to say he's one of the greatest drummers in the world too, is it? A lot of pyro and platforms going up and down finished the show gracefully. Until the encore time, of course.

KISS came onstage again and hit three classic tunes to end the show: "Lick It Up", "I Was Made For Loving You" and the obvious but essential closer "Rock And Roll All Nite". You had it all: explosions, heavy confetti rain and Paul Stanley smashing down his guitar at the end of the song. I do have to correct myself, it was much more than any diehard KISS fan could ever ask for! The KISS set list has been a nice surprise since their last tour, because I think that they have finally realized it's something their fans really enjoy when they play not only a lot of classic songs, but also some different songs. It will always be impossible for them to play all of their biggest songs because they can't possibly fit hits spawning almost 40 years of their amazing career into a ninety-minute / two hour set. I guess the only low point of the show was the absence of the songs "Long Way Down" and "All For The Love Of Rock & Roll", both from the new "Monster" album. They played these songs at the first shows of the tour, and they suddenly stopped playing then. I hope the other countries they are surely going to on this tour have the opportunity of listening to these great tracks live.

In short, KISS is still one of the biggest bands in the world until this day and it's likely to continue like this for years to come. They mean what they say: "You wanted the best, you got the best – the hottest band in the world!" And that's what we got, the best, without any doubt.    

KISS SET LIST: Detroit Rock City, Shout It Out Loud, Calling Dr. Love, Hell Or Hallelujah, Wall Of Sound, Hotter Than Hell, I Love It Loud, Outta This World, Tommy Thayer & Eric Singer Solo, Gene Simmons Solo, God Of Thunder, Psycho Circus, War Machine, Love Gun, Paul Stanley Solo, Black Diamond, Lick It Up, I Was Made For Loving You, Rock And Roll All Nite.
Author: Criss Sexx / Photos: Vanessa Pinto


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