GIG REVIEW: KISS & THE DEAD DAISIES Live At Dow Event Center, Saginaw, Michigan
Regarded as one of the most influential rock and roll bands of all time, KISS exploded into the Dow Event Center in Grand Rapids Michigan on August 15th as part of their summer Freedom to Rock Tour. Based around smaller venues where “it’s not about the size, it’s about the quality”, says Paul Stanley, the stop included all of the usual psycho circus-based pyrotechnics that most bands save for larger venues. You could feel the adrenaline rush in the sold-out crowd of just under 6,000 fans, as smoke poured out from beneath the KISS embossed curtain covering the stage, and the emcee’s voice shouting out “You wanted the best, you got the best !! The hottest band in the world…..KISS !!!!” The curtain then immediately dropped and the band broke into their fitting Michigan anthem “Detroit Rock City”.
The intimacy of this venue allowed every die-hard ‘KISS Army’ fan in attendance to witness their heroes up close and personal –from Gene Simmons oozing blood during “God of Thunder”, Stanley soaring like an eagle across the arena on a zip-line during “Love Gun”, and to the laser-infested rendition of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” during “Lick it Up”. Stanley even took the time to bring a very young female fan on stage to help him shred his axe during “I Love It Loud”. Definitely both quality and quantity at this show!
Eric Singer came out from behind the kit to center stage to launch their encore with a chilling rendition of the power ballad “Beth”, a song that has been sorely lacking on previous rounds. Afterwards, a group of vets along with the Frankenmuth American Legion Post 150 Honor Guard were brought on stage as the band presented a $150,000 check to ‘Hiring Our Heroes’ –a fund dedicated to helping veterans find meaningful employment opportunities. Stanley then asked the entire crowd to place their hands over their hearts and join him in reciting the “Pledge of Allegiance” followed by a massive rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner”. The arena lit up like the Fourth of July as turrets filled the air with confetti, fog engulfed the crowd, fireworks lit up the ceiling and the band broke into their storied hit “Rock and Roll All Night” to close the show.
Clocking in at nearly 2 hours and 15 minutes, there are only two words I can think of to describe this night…’sensory overload’ and I loved every second of it !! Opening the show was the ever revolving line-up known as The Dead Daisies featuring John Corabi on lead vocals. The band has a long relationship with KISS, opening on previous tours and joining them on their annual KISS Kruise. A combination of 80s Hair Band and 70s Classic Rock, the boys bring a huge in your face attack. Touring in support of their latest release ‘Make Some Noise’, their 50 minute set included their newest number “Long Way to Go”, covers of “Fortunate Son”, “Join Together”, and a set-closing, killer rendition of The Beatles “Helter Skelter”.