Saturday, February 02, 2008

Saturday Rock Show

I used to say that my first real rock album purchase was Styx' The Grand Illusion. That isn't really true, however. A few years before, I (along with millions of other pre-pubescent boys and girls) purchased the Kiss LP Destroyer. I spent years hiding the fact that I once listened to those Casablanca discs, Love Gun being the only other Kiss album I ever owned (and Lord did I have a time figuring out what the song "Plaster Caster" was about; don't ask).

I have returned, not quite reluctantly, to the notion that, while certainly not great, and probably not even good, Kiss was nevertheless a fun band, who understood that part of rock is spectacle. They exaggerated everything, the make-up, the outfits, the extra-high platforms, their stage show that included just about everything from good old fashioned rock vamping to the stage itself exploding. I heard an interview with Gene Simmons once, who said that he had seen one of the San Francisco bands, who turned their backs on the audience (my guess is that it was the Jefferson Airplane, who had this tendency towards introspective playing). He said he had never felt so insulted, and that his concert ticket was wasted money. So, he created a band that went far in the other direction.

The nice thing is that the guys in Kiss don't take themselves too seriously. They love music, but they know their limits, and play to their strengths. One of those strengths was nice, crowd-pleasing sing-alongs. Their first was "I Wanna Rock And Roll All Night". Even better, in my not-very-humble-at-all opinion, is "Shout It Out Loud" from Destroyer. Here they are, in 2000, in full make-up and costume, showing how to get an audience on its feet, and keep them there.

Virtual Tin Cup

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