KISS Concert Review - End of the Road Tour - Birmingham, AL BJCC - April 13, 2019
By: Karl Stern (@wiwcool)
ALRIGHT PEOPLE! YOU WANTED THE BEST, YOU GOT THE BEST! THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD - KISS!
From that iconic introduction then blasted Detroit Rock City and one of the most incredible live acts in rock and roll history took the stage in Birmingham, Alabama for the last time - KISS!
You can say whatever you like (and it’s valid criticism) about the musicianship of KISS, the in-fighting between original members, and just what their real place in rock in roll history actually is but one thing you absolutely can’t criticize is the showmanship and fun atmosphere of a KISS concert. This wasn’t my first time seeing KISS but it has been over twenty years since I last saw them with the big mid-1990s reunion tour featuring all the original members. Original members who were fighting, obsessing, and generally not having much fun. This version of KISS seemed to be having a lot of fun and brought that energy to the crowd on April 13, 2019 at the Birmingham, AL BJCC arena.
Judging from the amount of arena blocked off by the massive stage and set I’d guess probably 12,500-14,000 people were in attendance and dare say none of them left being anything short of blown away by the amazing performance by KISS (Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer, and Tommy Thayer).
This tour has received a lot of backlash from rock and roll critics like Eddie Trunk for having Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer in the make up and characters of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. It is a valid point of contention to be honest and maybe KISS would have been better served to have gone with original make-up and characters for later members (the way they did with the late Eric Carr and Vinnie Vincent). But that’s not what they did but it didn’t seem like a single person at the BJCC arena cared. Eric Singer’s drum solo got a great reaction. Honestly, he sings better than Peter Criss too. Tommy Thayer is a very respected guitarist and about the only negative criticism you can throw at him is that he is wearing Ace Frehley’s make-up.
Much has been made over the last several years about the declining vocals of Paul Stanley. It is widely reported he is using backing tracks on this tour and not a single person in the BJCC cared. We paid for a show and we got a show and if you think KISS is the only band doing this then you haven’t been to many concerts over the last few years. If 67 year old Paul Stanley needs a little help from his own voice to push through this massive set then I could not care less. There is virtually nothing to criticize about this show unless you don’t like having fun or something.
Even if you’re a hater of the latter day incarnation of KISS and even if you aren’t a giant fan of their music, it’s hard to not have a blast at a KISS concert. They will just roll you over with a good time. Loud heavy guitars, explosions, theatrics, explosions, gimmicks, fast paced fun songs, more explosions. It both literally and figuratively is a blast.
The End of the Road Tour claims to be their last and I actually am not skeptical. After all Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are men near 70 years old and neither Tommy Thayer nor Eric Singer are spring chickens either. It is probably time to put this massive KISS machine to rest but instead of going out with a whimper, KISS is going out with a bang with one of the most pyrotechnic, gimmick laden, flame throwing concert sets you’ll ever experience which is exactly what you would expect and want from KISS.
KISS has largely been a gimmick since day one. KISS has always been larger than life, garish, over the top, a touch ridiculous, and KISS fans (myself included) wouldn’t have it any other way. You’ve got a dude dressed like a demon breathing fire and spitting blood for Pete’s sake ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? Yes. Yes, we were. Thank you KISS.
“Detroit Rock City”
“Shout It Out Loud”
“I Love It Loud”
“Heaven’s on Fire”
“Lick it Up”
“Calling Dr. Love"
“God of Thunder”
“Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll”
“I Was Made for Lovin’ You”
“Do You Love Me”
“Rock and Roll All Night”
Here is our podcast special reviewing the KISS End of the Road Tour concert. This is the free version of the show. Our Patreons get an ad free version, come join us!
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