Review: KISS “End of the Road Tour”


Photo via @kissonline Instagram

Quinn Kelly, Feature Editor

“Alright Chicago! You wanted the best! You’ve got the best! The hottest band in the world! KISS!” The words echoed through the stands and lawn of the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre as the band members slowly descended from above the stage. This was the band’s second stop in Chicago on the “End of the Road Tour” and their final one ever, having played here since their debut at the Aragon Ballroom in 1974.

It might seem crazy for four men over the age of 60 to walk out onto a stage in six inch heels and black & white face paint to play heavy metal songs surrounded by pyrotechnics on an October night in Tinley Park. That’s because it is crazy. It’s the kind of crazy that has made KISS one of the most popular rock and roll bands in the world for nearly fifty years.

As a seventeen year old, I didn’t exactly fit in with the crowd in attendance to see the “hottest band in the world” fill the night with the spirit of rock and roll. As the son of a KISS superfan, who has seen the band roughly twenty times, being able to experience such an iconic band perform live was exhilarating beyond belief.

KISS opened the concert with the incredibly popular “Detroit Rock City” proving to the fans that they’re still capable of performing at a high level. The band featured two of the members of the original group, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley and legendary bassist and co-lead vocalist Gene Simmons. 

Despite his old age and somewhat declining vocal talent, Stanley is still a fully capable performer. He introduced every song with encapsulating energy, and even ziplined out to a platform in the audience to perform, “Love Gun” and stayed out for the beginning of the 1979 classic, “I Was Made for Lovin’ You?”

Drummer Eric Singer and lead guitarist Tommy Thayer had impressive solos, but nobody commanded attention quite like Simmons. His abnormally long yet world famous tongue was a true spectacle and a staple of the KISS experience. 

Simmons also stole the show with vocals on “Calling Dr. Love”, a flaming sword display while singing “War Machine” and an engaging call & response with the audience paired with fake blood oozing from his mouth to lead into “God of Thunder.” At the age of 72, Simmons has kept the wild spirit that made him such a high profile rockstar at his peak.

KISS initially closed the concert at the end of “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” upon Stanley’s return to the stage, but fans knew they weren’t done. A piano was pulled onto the stage as the lights were out for Singer to play and sing “Beth” for an emotional and less exotic ballad that all fans could relate to. 

KISS closed the encore with “Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite” as confetti sprayed all over the stage and the stands. The entire venue sang along, and soaked the moment in as it was the last time many of them would see the legendary band. 

Stanley gave the concert an appropriate ending, as he kissed all over the body of his guitar before he emphatically brought it to the ground, smashing it in two. After twirling the microphone, Stanley grabbed it and looked to the crowd, addressing them one last time as the lights went out.

“Chicago! We love you. Goodnight!