I would buy any “instant live” type CD by Kiss — that’s a given. The sheer quantity available means I will never own a complete collection of them. What I chose to do was buy a handful, selectively. I was most interested in Canadian shows, and of course concerts where new songs from Sonic Boom were performed.
Kiss’ concert in Saskatoon on November 10 2009 fit the bill perfectly.* Something about Paul Stanley shouting, “SASKATOON!” The new songs performed that night were “Modern Day Delilah” and “Say Yeah”, both personal favourites. As a bonus to me, there’s also a version of “Shock Me” with Tommy Thayer singing. Some Kiss fans have taken exception to Tommy singing this song in addition to wearing Ace’s costume. I’m not going to get into that. All I will say on the matter is that I would rather hear “Shock Me” live than not.
The concert opens with four 1974 Kiss classics in a row: “Deuce”, “Strutter”, “Let Me Go Rock ‘N’ Roll” and “Hotter Than Hell”. “Let Me Go” seems to fall apart, giving the show a raucous flavour. It doesn’t get any more retro than that. That’s four of my favourite Kiss songs in a row; four songs I never tire of. Paul’s voice is sore, cracking in several places. The job still gets done with the backing vocals of Eric Singer, Gene Simmons and Tommy Thayer. Eric definitely pulls a lot of weight vocally. As much as I wanted to hear new songs, “Say Yeah” suffers a bit vocally.
Highlight: Undoubtedly, a 16 minute version of “100,000 Years”. Eric Singer does his drum thing, and then Paul and Tommy both pick up their guitars and do a call-and-response jam, throwing in a few Zeppelin licks. You don’t think of Kiss as the kind of band that executes 16 minute extended jams, but it works in a primitive, primordial way.
Paul Stanley’s stage raps are absolutely classic. Paul knows Canada. He knows that all he has to do is say “Montreal” and he gets the crowd going. Just before “Rock all Roll all Nite”, Paul informs the crowd that Shannon Tweed is in the house! The fellow Canadian is greeted warmly by the people of Saskatoon. However my favourite rap is this:
“There’s so much trouble in the world. If you came here tonight to hear some band tell you how to end global warming…if you came here tonight to hear some band tell you how to end world hunger…you are in the wrooong place tonight! I’ll tell you something, we all came here tonight to escape from the world! Tomorrow morning when we get up it’ll be just as screwed up as it is today. We might as well have a little fun! And you know if somebody says to you…’You outta be a little more socially conscious, you outta be doing what you can to help save the world.’ You say to them, ‘Listen to me. Tonight’s my night off and I wanna Rock and Roll all Nite and party every day!'”
Hard to argue with that, Paul!
*I still want a CD from a European show where they performed “I’m An Animal”, however.