This was a historic night for the KISS Army. Cleveland was the site of the very first full Gene Simmons solo concert (not counting the corporate gig a few weeks back). In addition, the Cleveland Agora became the first venue to ever host a solo show by both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley (who played there on 3/2/89). But did Gene deliver the goods? You bet your ass he did!
Backed by an insanely talented group of musicians otherwise known for playing regular gigs in Nashville under the moniker ‘Thee Rock N’ Roll Residency’, Gene and his band tore through a mix of classic KISS gems, Gene solo songs, and a tribute to the late Chuck Berry, who passed away earlier in the day. It is widely known that the band members are huge KISS fans. They played these songs with reverence, but also with an intensity that made the crowd feel that they were truly witnessing something special. I truly believe the band gave Gene confidence to take a few chances with the setlist, and it sure paid off.
The set kicked off with a raucous version of ‘Radioactive,’ off the Gene Simmons 1978 solo album, and the energy kicked into a higher gear with the KISS classic, ‘Deuce.’ For the fans who wanted KISS deep cuts, Gene did not disappoint, as the crowd was treated to ‘Almost Human’ early in the set, as well as a one-two punch of ‘Plaster Caster’ and ‘Charisma.’ Another huge surprise of the night was the inclusion of ‘Got Love For Sale.’
A poignant moment in the show came when Gene preached about the importance of Chuck Berry to rock n’ roll music, and the band tore into an impromptu cover of ‘Johnny B. Goode.’ He also made it clear that he wanted the crowd to have fun, and he was clearly having fun himself. The show ended with KISS staples ‘Let Me Go, Rock and Roll’ and ‘Rock and Roll All Nite,’ in which Gene invited female members of the audience on stage to sing the chorus.
Clearly there was a very loose, fun vibe to this show. This is exactly the kind of show fans wanted, and Gene pulled out all the stops to make it a good time for all involved. This could be a stepping stone to more shows of this nature during KISS’ downtime, and I don’t think the KISS Army would mind one bit.
Nothin’ To Lose
Calling Dr. Love
I Love It Loud
Got Love For Sale
See You Tonight
Johnny B. Goode
Let Me Go, Rock and Roll
Rock and Roll All Nite