Last week KISS returned to the Lehigh Valley after nearly 24 years since their last performance there. The show was part of this year’s Great Allentown Fair in Allentown, Pennsylvania and was nearly sold out as is to be expected when it comes to an iconic rock band such as KISS. Expectations for the show were high going into it as the Valley had waited over two decades for the band to return with their one of a kind stage show, face paint, and pyrotechnics. Despite a slight delay in the show getting started when the glittering KISS curtain was raised the crowd began to roar with approval and when the band’s intro was played the crowd shouted it back with excitement. “You wanted the best?” it asked as the crowd cheered, “the hottest band around” it proclaimed and as the curtain fell the pyrotechnics began and KISS had arrived.
It is always hard to add to the conversation of band that has been around as long as KISS and has achieved as much as they have in their long career. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are two of the most iconic musicians of the past 100 years and together on stage they embody decades of rock and roll brilliance. KISS’ legacy spoke volumes during the show as the crowd ranged from ages of 8-88 and everyone sang along to nearly every track that was performed, this was helped by the fact that the band put together and excellent setlist for this tour.
Everyone knows KISS for their stage show, their make up, and of course their flair but when it comes down to the music the band puts on a technical show that most of the musicians of their era just don’t deliver. Stanley said it himself that everything the crowd had heard that night was real and that was very clear as Simmons would sometimes miss a bass line when he was posing for the audience and Stanley would be absent for entire vocal sections when he was on his back playing guitar for those in the front row but these moments shouldn’t be viewed as imperfections.
Those moments are what made KISS what they were, they are a true rock band. You can go and see this band on every show of the tour and while you might hear the same songs each show is going to be different and that gives the fans something to talk about. You can hear the conversation before the show as to what Stanley did at this show and what Simmons did in that one city and Allentown was no exception as the band did what they do best and that is perform.
Does KISS love their production on stage? Sure, but they wouldn’t have lasted this long as performers if they didn’t have the talent to back it. No amount of smoke and mirrors can hide that and what KISS has on stage is something that very few rock bands have been able to capture. It is a controlled chaos that ultimately fuels the band and while most nights the chaos stays contained it is always exciting to see something go differently or varying when someone gets caught up in the moment of performing. Hopefully the Lehigh Valley won’t have to wait another 24 years for KISS to return but if they do they can at least remember this show as one of the best rock shows to take place in the past decade in Allentown.
Exclusive Photo Gallery of KISS performing at the Great Allentown Fair :