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KISS In Ridgefield, WA With Photos!

By Krishta Abruzzini, Pacific Northwest Writer
Thursday, September 23, 2021 @ 6:55 AM

September 17th At The RV Inn Styles Resort Amphitheater

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All Photos By Krishta Photography

KISS is on the road again with their continued (another?) farewell tour. The End of the Road World Tour kicked off in January of 2019. I guess it could have been aptly named The End of the World Road Tour, given the state of our actual world starting in 2020.

I will not be the reviewer to throw shade at this group. Given that Gene Simmons at 71 years old, and Paul Stanley, 69 years old are still getting on that stage wearing the heavy costumes and platform shoes, despite getting and beating Covid just a couple of weeks before this show at their age is nothing short of miraculous. There was an occasional crack in Paulís voice that could be heard, but is that from his recent illness, and honestly, who cares?! Both Paul and Gene are in ridiculously fantastic shape, defying the years recorded on their birth certificates and huge respect goes out to them giving their fans a show that would not disappoint.

The recent comment from Simmons regarding David Lee Roth, calling him a ďBloated, naked ElvisĒ, with regard to him being a potential opener has been recanted with an apology. However, letís be honest, with all due respect to DLR, I can personally say that when VAN HALEN was in their prime, and being a kid from California where VH were our heroes, even I walked out on a live show because DLR was so horrible. He certainly hasnít improved over time. Gene Simmons wants all of their shows to be dynamic, and I personally have seen many KISS concerts since the 70ís until now, and have never left disappointed. Iím always in awe of the spectacle and performance of KISS. That being said, itís not nice Genie to call someone bloated. DLR is in great physical shape, but the rest of the statement isnít entirely off base.

I often hear people talking about how KISS uses so much smoke and mirrors, and yes, they do. So what?! Never, ever look behind the curtain of any production folks. It loses the magic. Even bar bands use loops, and backing tracks. My friend Derek Sherinian was KISSí phantom keyboardist, the wizard behind the curtain for several years. I cannot tell you how many die hard fans refused to believe they would have a hidden musician backstage.

This tour will see 111 shows in North America, 45 in Europe, 8 in Latin America, 7 in Oceana, and 5 in Asia. 174 total shows in all to wrap the expansive career that is KISS. Starting in the early 70ís, this iconic group will go on through history as one of the best rock bands of our era, and certainly have a stronghold in pop culture. ďYou wanted the best, you got the best,Ē holds up now as much as it did 50-years-ago.

Itís been really cool to witness all the years of going to these shows, the progression of my generation, later bringing their children and now Iím seeing some with 3-generations in attendance. I can remember being 14 and going to my first KISS show, with my friends all dressing up as their favorite KISS character. Now Iím seeing young kids dressed up along with their grandparents. There is not one other band I can name that has this phenomenon.

This show had so much nostalgia and the magic of it being during such a long, weird time for humanity, to be able to join together during this pandemic, knowing it was my last KISS show, made it much more meaningful. I took photos of the show, and just being together with so many of my associates Iíve worked alongside with, some for many years, with such a long unknown, unexpected hiatus will be something I will carry with me forever with gratitude.

As the photographers gathered minutes before the show, we realized we were all on the wrong side of the stage. Someone assumed the girl in the group wouldnít know what side stage right was on, so directed us to stage left. We all ran at full speed to get to the other side of the stage before the curtain dropped. I can now say I kind of know what it might be like in an apocalyptic warzone. We ran, we got in the pit and were hit with flash pots going off and large flames, with a larger than life demon stomping around in the mix. The booms were huge. The fire was hot. It was massively cool. We ended up shooting two-songs, which went by in a flash. A memory that will last forever for me was a very young girl that was shooting, and new to concert photography, just looked at me in the pit for a second and screamed with excitement. I have done this for so many years, and I get so wrapped up in the shoot, I often do not take a breath between. Her joy brought me right back to the moment and made me take it all in with all the lovely chaos that surrounded us.

We took our seats after the shoot. Iím always amazed at how you can feel the heat from nearly the back of the stadium with the fire onstage. I personally chose to sit in an area away from other folks, just the weird reality of our pandemic world right now I guess. The crew calls Gene and Paul the King and Queen, but when Paul sang a few notes on high pitch, it made me realize that he is more of the white version of Little Richard. There were quite a few more noticeable longer solos this tour from guitarist Tommy Thayer, and drummer Eric Singer. Iím assuming they gave the youth of the group, Tommy being 60 and Eric 63 the extra stage time so that Gene and Paul could take breaks in between. Gene did his blood dripping demon bit with "God of Thunder" masterfully on a lift above the stage. Paul flew through the audience, aka his Peter Pan bit to play "Love Gun" and the disco KISS era song of "I Was Made For Loviní You" on a small stage by the soundboard. Eric Singer took to the piano to play "Beth", which brings up a can of worms Iím not going to open regarding the absence of Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. The night wrapped with "Rock And Roll All Nite" with a massive explosion of confetti falling on the audience. Iím sure many found the colorful tissue paper in areas they least expected the next morning.

Being this is most likely the last show I will ever see KISS again, I guess itís a good time to end this review by sharing my story about Gene Simmons, and the only song ever written for me. Back in 2003, I donated a few photos to be autographed by Gene at a benefit show for a dear friend with ALS. My then boyfriend (now husband) was working and couldnít be at the show, but he had several friends there. While I was standing with my boyfriendís friends, Gene was sitting by himself and motioned for me to come sit by him. I looked around the room, and figured he probably wasnít motioning for any of the dudes I was standing next to, so I went over and sat next to him. This prompted a few phone calls to the boyfriend by his friends telling him it would probably be a great time for him to get to the venue. Ha! You snooze, you lose, or something like that anyway. Gene and I had a lovely conversation, which led to me asking him about his long tongue and whether or not the rumor of him having it cut underneath was true. He then proceeded to stick it out for me to examine. I did pick it up, which he let me do, looking underneath and I can confirm, it is not cut as rumor would have it. This is just something you canít make up. It happened. I was there. Yes. I washed my hands before having dinner with him later that night.

This experience did inspire my friend and local talk show host Rick Emerson to write the only song ever written for me, and performed by his band (which included other local talk show hosts in Portland, OR) THE WONDERSTRUCKS: "Gene Simmons Took My Girl". You can check out the song HERE.

Thank you KISS for all the years of music and memories.

Ridgefield WA Setlist:

  • "Detroit Rock City"
  • "Shout it Out Loud"
  • "Deuce"
  • "War Machine"
  • "Heavenís on Fire"
  • "I Love it Loud"
  • "Lick It Up"
  • "Calling Dr. Love"
  • "Say Yeah"
  • "Cold Gin"
  • Tommy Thayer Guitar Solo
  • "Tears Are Falling"
  • "Psycho Circus"
  • Eric Singer Drum Solo
  • "100,000 Years" (partial)
  • Gene Simmons Bass Solo
  • "God of Thunder"
  • "Love Gun"
  • "I Was Made for Loviní You"
  • "Black Diamond"
  • "Beth"
  • "Do You Love Me"
  • "Rock and Roll All Nite"
Check out some photos from the show!
All Photos By Krishta Photography

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