The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

Cobo Hall, Detroit, MI, USA
September 25th, 2009


Just another September Friday in Detroit… or is it. The local National Hockey affiliate are in town for one of the final preseason games, but the downtown area is lacking the normal quantity of restaurant and bar patrons donning the typical red and white jerseys, hats, t-shirts, etc. No, we haven't given up on our beloved Red Wings; it's just that the locals have been waiting for another event to come to town. Thousands of Michigan residents, and hundreds more from around the globe, made the pilgrimage to say goodbye to their hallowed Cobo Arena inside Cobo Hall and to either relive or live a moment in time that belongs to Detroit.


The festivities were to be glorious. In the words of KISS co-founder Paul Stanley, "We figured if they were gonna take the balls out of Cobo Hall, we were gonna put a big set in for one night…" These pilgrims that came to Cobo Hall on September 25th, they were to see something that would not be soon forgotten… a recreation of the seminal album KISS ALIVE in the arena where the original recording took place. Among those pilgrims were Robert Richie (better known as Kid Rock) and Bill Aucoin (KISS' original manager). Better yet, at one point, I saw Bill Aucoin standing side by side with Doc McGhee (their current manager).


After a spirited set by Buckcherry (which this reviewer thought was great, but I love Buckcherry), you could feel the anticipation of what was to come. After some time, the lights dimmed and there was a slight hum coming from the PA… then the all too familiar words to KISS fans every where… "Cobo Hall… You Wanted the Best… You Got the Best… The Hottest Band in the World… KISS" and the band kicked into gear and lit up the arena with Deuce.


The set list for the first hour plus of the show was the same as the ALIVE album (with the exception of Firehouse and Rock Bottom) with some new chatter between songs and some familiar introductions, the band ripped through the set list with a renewed energy and sound. They mirrored the original sound, but something was different… maybe the musicianship, maybe the desire to rip it up in Detroit, maybe the anticipation of the crowd. No one knew for sure, but it was different. All of the riffs, solos, and drum fills were identical to the album we all knew and loved. No one cared that it wasn't the original four guys physically on the stage… it was KISS… the Starchild, the Demon, the Spaceman, and the Cat. Our heroes were back, bigger than ever, ready to take us back to that magic night in 1975. The running order was changed slightly to mirror the show they have been performing since the reunion in 1996, in that Let Me Go Rock N Roll was bumped from last to before Black Diamond.


The ALIVE set list ran as follows:
Got To Choose
Hotter than Hell (with Gene's fire breathing)
Nothin' to Lose
C'mon and Love Me
Watchin' You (with Tommy's guitar solo)
100,000 Years
Cold Gin (with Eric's drum solo)
Let Me Go, Rock N Roll
Black Diamond (with Paul's guitar solo intro and a slight visit of Stairway to Heaven)
Rock And Roll All Nite (insert a ton of confetti here)


The lights remained out and the band left. After some spirited cheering by the crowd, they returned to take a gracious bow before the legions of fans inside this evenings electric church called Cobo Hall. Paul then announced they wouldn't be leaving and coming back several times for the encore. They were going to play one long encore. I asked Bill Aucoin at this point what he thought of the show, to which he replied, "Its okay."


Moving sequentially from ALIVE to DESTROYER, the band lunged into Shout It Out Loud. From there, they visited the non-makeup years for a song with one of their biggest hits from the 80's, Lick It Up and then moved backwards to hit I Love It Loud, so the demon could bleed a little and fly for us. After this spectacle, Paul reminded everyone of the upcoming release, the first in 11 years, SONIC BOOM. The single, Modern Day Delilah, pleased the crowd as the band played it for the first time in concert (they played it the night before during a warm-up show for 1,500 fans who won tickets from radio contests). Paul continued his control of the stage and asked the crowds if he could visit them. He sang Love Gun from a remote stage at the back of the arena. Finally came the song that the city waited for. It was going to be bittersweet, in that we knew this song was about us, but we also knew it would be the end of the moment… that once the final chord of Detroit Rock City was played, we would have to return to reality from Planet KISS.


The encore set list ran as follows:
Shout It Out Loud
Lick It Up (with a portion of Won't Get Fooled Again)
I Love It Loud (with Gene's bass solo, blood, and flying)
Modern Day Delilah
Love Gun
Detroit Rock City


We said goodnight to our heroes and goodbye to a generation of concert memories all in the same evening. Thank you KISS for remembering us and thank you Cobo Hall for everything… you will be missed.


Todd Jolicoeur