KISS Rocks Vegas Cinema Event Review: Exactly What You’d Expect from a KISS Concert

Fathom Events is known for bringing one-time events into movie theaters throughout the country. These presentations can range from plays and ballets to full-scale rock ‘n’ roll concerts like the one KISS filmed during their residency in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Casino.

Before the film started, there was some KISS trivia flashed on the screen. The best two were how on December 31, 1972, Gene Simmons debuted his fire-breathing trick and managed to set fire to his hair at the same time. And the other was that during KISS’s first photo shoot the photographer did not realize they were serious about their makeup and brought straw hats, balloons, and red noses for the band to wear. After that, there was a short feature with the band talking about how they wanted to put their full set into a smaller Vegas theater and how they managed to do that by extending the background video screens up onto the ceiling to give the fans a more immersive experience.

Then the concert began with the band in their traditional makeup. Paul Stanley (vocals, rhythm guitar) as Star Child, Gene Simmons (vocals, bass) as The Demon, Eric Singer (drums) as Catman, and Tommy Thayer (Lead Guitar) as Spaceman. They played a lot of their classics: “Detroit Rock City,” “Love Gun,” “I Love It Loud,” “Rock and Roll All Nite,” “Lick It Up,” and more. The Demon spit blood and breathed fire while the Spaceman shot sparks and rockets out of his guitar. The band provided everything the fans could want and have come to expect from a KISS concert.

Overall, the concert was good. The vocals were strong and the music was tight. I’ve seen KISS in concert several times and they were spot on as always. The only issue in regards to the concert is that every time they perform they give the exact same performance. It’s fine if you’re a real fan or if you’ve never seen them before, but if you’re somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, then seeing them do the exact same concert over and over could get a little old. Even the more extreme aspects of blood spitting, fire breathing, and spark shooting are done the same way. Maybe giving Simmons some targets to hit with the fire or some victims for the Demon to get blood from might be enough to add some needed variety to the show. The only difference between this show and their regular concerts was that they left out a lot of the slower-tempo songs they normally perform like “Beth,” “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II,” and “Hard Luck Woman.”

Having been to a number of Fathom Events programs, I was a little disappointed in the overall presentation, and it wasn’t just because some of the speakers in my theater kept cutting in and out. The amount of trivia at the beginning was minimal. There were probably 15-20 facts that repeated multiple times while using the same still photograph of the band. There were also no promotional items at the theater. There were no posters or advertisements of any kind to help draw in an audience. Maybe if there had been, then maybe it would have encouraged a bigger crowd. There ended up being about 25 people in the theater, most showing up late and coming and going throughout the show, much like you’d see at a real concert. The most interesting thing was that everyone sat perfectly calm and still like they were watching a movie. I was the only one bobbing my head and bouncing in my seat.

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Todd Karella

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