by Doug MacGunnigle, Cumulus Media
Multi-million selling rock band KISS returned to the stage at the XFinity Center in Mansfield last night after a nearly 2 year absence from touring due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Frontman Paul Stanley addressed the crowd of 15,000 several times about their absence and desire to return to live music and the next leg of the “End of the Road” tour, which hit Boston at the TD Garden in 2019.
This stage show was scaled back a bit from the performance in Boston, likely due in part to the relatively small stage space available at the XFinity Center.
A ‘scaled back’ KISS show still has more firepower than most – despite the smaller stage there were constant pyro bursts and flashbangs and an impressive stage layout.
The band members each had their own ‘gimmick’ – Gene Simmons breathed fire after “I Love it Loud,” and spit blood and flew to the top of the stage to sing “God of Thunder.” Paul Stanley flew out over the audience to a smaller stage to sing “Love Gun” and “I Was Made for Lovin’ You.” Stanley had the crowd around the mini-stage eating out of his hand.
Guitarist Tommy Thayer played a lengthy guitar solo and shot rockets from his guitar, and drummer Eric Singer performed a drum solo as his riser rose towards the roof, and played piano and sang former drummer Peter Criss’ signature “Beth” during the encore.
Main set closer “Black Diamond” was a musical and visual highlight, as was opener “Detroit Rock City.” The band played a variety of hits from throughout their career, including “Deuce” from their 1973 debut, 1985’s “Tears are Falling,” 1998’s “Psycho Circus,” and 2009’s “Say Yeah.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of famers (“They hate us, but you made them recognize us,” quipped Stanley when mentioning the organization) were greeted by a loud and enthusiastic crowd, many of whom were attending the first big concert event since regulations were rolled back.
The last song of the finale, “Rock and Roll all Nite” of course, was accompanied by an enormous pyro show and confetti shower.
With major acts like Garth Brooks cancelling and postponing tours again, it will be interesting to see if this tour will be able to continue for the next couple of dozen dates, including shows scheduled in the deep south.
There was no vaccination or masking rules at this show, but it appears that promoter Live Nation is preparing to mandate proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for entry to its concerts.