News of KISS’s May 2017 concert in Moscow reminded me how, when a reporter at The Moscow Times I pondered back in 1999 how to best preview this band’s 1st concert in Russia. Soon enough I intuitively picked up Maximov’s phone guide to branches of federal power in Russia and sifted through the index until I found a man named Pavel Evaldovich Kiss, who worked as a senior staffer in the Russian Senate. I then cold called the man to ask him up front: Pavel Evaldovich, are you going to the concert or what? And he instantly understood what I was referring to)
“I kind of like this march-like shrill music that this KISS band plays … maybe it is because my father is German,” says Pavel Kiss, a 49-year-old consultant with the State Duma’s nationalities committee. The man, whose last name any hard-rock fan would kill for, plans to take his entire Kiss family to Moscow’s Olympic Sports Complex next Thursday to see the U.S. band try to relive their legendary 1970s gigs.
“My two daughters will love it, even though I’m not a big fan myself,” said Kiss, who bought his first KISS tape only in 1990.
“It was some pirate stuff of pretty bad quality, but I liked the shrill stuff they played and the make-up was good too,” Kiss said of the video tape, which was most likely recorded during the band’s golden era in the 1970s.
For KISS, the concerts in Moscow present yet another “challenge” for the band to match the “high standards” set back in the late 1970s and early ’80s, said band vocalist and guitarist Paul Stanley.
But these veterans of rock have to do more than just equal the oversentimentalized achievements of their golden age.
“We have to live up to what people think they saw” back then, Stanley the Starchild said in a recent interview with the Edmunton Sun.
And many of us, who will flock to the Olympic stadium on April 1 and 2, will have trouble knowing what we’re seeing now.
A rather random mixture of skeletons, guitars and hearts will fly under our noses during the band’s “First Ever 3-D Show – Psycho Circus.” Catman Peter Criss, who also happens to be the band’s drummer, will be trying to poke fans’ eyes with his burning sticks.
All these imminent dangers will recede to the massive wall of video screens, however, if you take off the stereoscopic spectacles that are to be offered at the entrance.
But even if you reject these three-dimensional wonders, you will still have more than enough of KISS‘ less sophisticated visual effects.
Some 200 tons of equipment, including the 3-D glasses, the band’s trademark make-up, platform shoes and costumes, are being brought to Moscow for the show which even Stanley admitted to the Edmunton Sun “lacks subtlety.”
Demon Gene Simmons, the band’s bassist, recently described himself as “a living breathing God on stage” in an interview with the Calgary Sun. You can expect him to be spewing fake blood and firebreath and, of course, darting his astonishingly long tongue into the mosh pit as endless explosions light up the stage.
Demon that he is, Simmons, who once starred in KISS comics and even played the part of a woman in the 1987 movie “Never Too Young to Die,” will be flexing his black hymenopterous wings at the Olympic Sports Complex.
As Simmons rises and falls, Ace Frehley, the band’s lead guitarist, will be firing rockets, trying hard to miss. Frehley, known to the KISS army of fans as Space Ace, has already knocked out some stage lights at the very first gig of their European tour in Helsinki in February.
Actually, flying seems to be one of the bad habits these cartoon superheroes of rock and roll just can’t kick.
Even the shy Peter Criss, who has successfully quit heavy drinking to re-unite with the band, will literally take off from the arena’s stage together with his drum kit to perform a solo, which we all hope won’t last long.
What will last long, however, is the band’s trademark vocal and guitar offensive that will go: “All right, Moscow! You wanted the best, you got the best! The hottest band in the world – KISS!”
Having roared this legendary cliche, KISS will hit it off with the title song from their hard-hitting latest studio album Psycho Circus.
The album, released last September, offers curiously soul-searching lyrics as compared to the earlier sex-crazed rock and roll hymns of the band that is second only to The Beatles in the number of gold and platinum albums.
But it is these hymns that will prevail at the Moscow gigs, so expect to hear “Love Gun,” “I Was Made For Loving You,” “Calling Dr. Love,” as well as less sexually harassing, but equally tasteless numbers, such as “Rock and Roll All Nite,” “King of the Night Time World” and “God of Thunder.”
You will also probably be able to “Shock Me” and “Shout It Out Loud” as well as take a ride to “Detroit Rock City,” as the band goes through their KISStory of more than 25 years.
“I expect people who are eager and anxious to see and hear something unique that only KISS can deliver,” Stanley said of the pending shows in a telephone interview earlier this week.
Stanley said it is partly such anxious and eager fans that prompted him and Simmons in 1996 to take back Criss and Frehley who got booted in the late 1970s for booze problems.
“It is like a family you have a bond to and you appreciate and enjoy,” Stanley said.
It will cost you anywhere from 200 to 3,000 rubles in cash to enjoy this reunited acoustic family at the Olympic Sports Complex, and cash, Simmons says, is why the KISS reunion happened in the first place.
“You’re damned right I do it for the money,” Simmons recently told the Calgary Sun.
“Here’s reality: Everybody who does anything, especially well, should get money for it. Money is not a dirty word,” continued Simmons, who, band colleague Stanley says, sometimes say things in interviews to “entertain, and not necessarily to be accurate.”
“And if you feel awkward about the amount of money you’re making, make out a personal check to Gene Simmons and send it to me,” Simmons said. “It’ll make us both happier. We won’t have to listen to you whine about the money you’re making and I’ll be even more rich than I am now.”
KISS will play April 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. at the Olympic Sports Complex, 16 Olimpiisky Prospekt. Metro: Prospekt Mira. Those willing to make the Demon and his accomplices even more rich should send their checks to Gene Simmons, P.O. Box 14075, Beverly Hills, California, 90210 or book tickets by telephone at 925-4642 or buy them directly at the Complex.