Review: Final KISS Performance In Detroit At Little Caesars Arena
KISS performed at Little Caesars Arena on their "End of the Road Tour" making the show their final performance in Michigan and here's a review of that performance.
KISS formed in 1973 and released their first self-titled album on February 18, 1974. The original members Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss would go on to create one of the most electric rock 'n roll shows in music history.
I was lucky enough to see KISS on their Dynasty tour in 1979 near the back of the Pontiac Silverdome for a night I still remember as if it were yesterday. I thought attending the performance in the last row at their final Detroit show was a perfect way to wrap up my portion of KISStory.
Review: Kiss Final Performance in Detroit at Little Caesars Arena
KISS performed their final Michigan show at Little Caesars Arena on Friday, October 20, 2023, in the city where the band became an arena band before any other city in the world.
KISS kicked off their set with the infamous Detroit Rock City and went straight into Shout It Out Loud for a fantastic start to a night that was bittersweet. Paul Stanley mentioned later in the show that they "didn't write a song about L.A., didn't write a song about New York, they only wrote one song about one city," referring to Detroit which got a huge surge of noise from the crowd. Stanley also acknowledged, in the beginning, that it was Michigan that caught on first for KISS and that they were heading arenas here but would be the opener for others everywhere else until the rest of the world caught up with Detroit.
Gene Simmons was now up for a couple of songs back-to-back vocals with Duece and War Machine. Then it was Heaven's on Fire from their no-makeup days. Gene and Paul have been doing this for 50 years so it's okay that the songs were tuned down a bit so the members could hit the higher notes easier.
KISS then moved on to a track from their Creatures of the Night album called I Love it Loud which had the whole arena singing along. For many years, bassist Gene Simmons would spit fire as a part of the show before the band would go into Firehouse but elected to put the fire breathing at the end of I Love it Loud and it was still cool.
The next stretch of songs featured Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer with some guitar slinging with tracks Say Yeah, Cold Gin, Tommy Thayer's guitar solo followed by Lick it Up where Stanley and Thayer did a chunk of the Who's Won't Get Fooled Again.
Paul Stanley then introduced Gene Simmons as he went into Calling Dr. Love. They followed that up with Makin' Love into part of Psycho Circus followed by the drum solo with Eric Singer that led the band into the back end of 100,000 Years. KISS has an extensive library of music that is too big to squeeze in all the fan favorites, but they did find ways to acknowledge different parts of their career by stringing pieces of songs together as they did in this stretch.
Like in the '70s and all throughout the band's career the "Demon" Gene Simmons spits blood while doing his bass solo just before the song God of Thunder where he is pulled to the top of the arena where he sings the song all covered in blood. I have seen them do this dozens of times and it never gets old.
Paul Stanley has flown across the arena for decades to sing a few songs on a platform in the back to give those far away and better seats for a few songs during the show. Paul performed Love Gun, I Was Made for Lovin' You, and the intro to Black Diamond before flying back to the stage while drummer Eric Singer handled the rest of the vocals to Black Diamond. This is when KISS left the stage.
Eric Singer came out first for the encore sitting behind a piano and sang the big ballad Beth which was originally done by original drummer Peter Criss. KISS went into Do You Love Me and then the rock anthem Rock and Roll All Nite with confetti, fire, lasers, and lifts that took Gene and Tommy over the crowd and into the upper decks. No band puts on a bigger and more original show than KISS. KISS was the band that put the show into rock 'n roll and they did it for 50 years only to be copied by nearly every band in all genres of music who put on large shows. There's only one KISS and it has been a great ride they put one final exclamation point in the city that helped build a rock 'n roll legacy.
Thanks for the great show(s)!
Kiss Lineup Changes: A Complete Guide
Gallery Credit: Jeff Giles
Kiss Albums Ranked Worst to Best
Gallery Credit: UCR Staff