Monday, February 27, 2017

KISS Exercises Their Freedom to Rock for Thackerville, OK

KISS has been a proven rock and roll institution now for over four decades. They've conquered not only the album sales charts and live music venues of the world, but the band has been begrudgingly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well. KISS definitely earned the right to call their own shots.

That's exactly what the powerhouse four-piece super-group has been doing lately. KISS can easily pack out five-digit capacity venues, and they still do all over the globe. However, lately they've been visiting cities they've never been to or haven't graced with their presence in years on the Freedom to Rock tour. One of those stops was for a sold out audience of 3,500 lucky fans in Thackerville, OK at the Winstar World Casino and Resort's Global Event Center.

The show at Winstar World Casino and Resort's Global Event Center was a more intimate experience than what I've had before at a KISS concert. Although the word "intimate" might sound ridiculous to some, seeing the Hottest Band in the World in a room that only holds 3,500 is much different than seeing them in an outdoor amphitheater or arena that holds 15,000 to 20,000 people. Unlike mezzanine seats or the back wall of the lawn thousands upon thousands of yards from the stage, there really wasn't a bad seat in the house.

Since the Freedom to Rock tour was at a smaller venue, the massive KISS stage set-up they usually have was scaled down just a tiny bit. As far as spectacle is concerned, it didn't affect the quality of the experience. The band had less room to perform in, but they made the most out of every square inch. The fire and explosions weren't as big as they usually are for a full-scale KISS show, but they were as big as was legally allowed inside the Winstar World Casino and Resort's Global Event Center.

One thing that wasn't affected by the size of the venue was the performances of every member of KISS. Decked out in the costumes the band wore for their "Creatures of the Night" tour in the early 1980s, each one brought their A-game to the set. Numbers included a greatest hits playlist of essential songs from 1973's self-titled album all the way up to 1998's "Psycho Circus." They even pulled out a couple numbers I haven't seen them perform in many years. They played "Flaming Youth" from 1976's "Destroyer" and "Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll" from 1974's "Hotter Than Hell."

Starchild Paul Stanley strutted across the stage and delivered the operatic vocals and wailing we've all come to expect from the charismatic vocalist of KISS. Although he shares lead vocal duties with Demon Gene Simmons, Stanley does most of the talking between songs and manages to work the audience into a frenzy. He was unable to do his usual flying number to the center of the audience, but didn't let that stop him from demanding the undivided attention of all 3,500 fans gathered in the Global Event Center.

Demon Gene Simmons found a way to balance the fearsome and intimidating stomping around and tongue flicking with a fun sense of humor that includes making faces at the crowd, spitting water on them, and just goofing around in general. He performed his famous fire-breathing and blood-spitting in a cloud of green fog, but didn't float up into the rafters like he usually does. Instead, he just rolled into "War Machine" from 1982's "Creatures of the Night." It was interesting to see him change things up a bit by not singing "God of Thunder," although it is one of my favorites.

Spaceman Tommy Thayer exhibited the lead guitar talent we've come to expect from him in the past fifteen years. He perfectly blends Ace Frehley's signature lines with his own energetic handiwork. Thayer shot rockets from his guitar head, as he's known to do, after taking over lead vocal duties on original guitarist / singer Frehley's "Shock Me" from 1977's "Love Gun." Although I understand that there's only so many songs you can fit into a set list from an iconic group like KISS, I do wish Tommy could perform one of his own cosmic tunes off of either 2009's "Sonic Boom" or 2012's "Monster." "When Lightning Strikes" or "Outta This World" are both great songs that completely embody the spirit of the Spaceman, yet give Thayer a chance to continue to make the persona his own.

Catman Eric Singer pounded away on the drums as they levitated up and down during the 90-minute set. He lent his soulful voice to "Black Diamond," which original drummer Peter Criss sang on the band's self-titled album. Once again, I understand most KISS concert-goers want to hear the hits, but I would love to see Singer perform one of the newer songs he sings off of "Sonic Boom" or "Monster."

At one point, Paul Stanley asked the crowd to raise their hands if the show at the Winstar World Casino and Resort's Global Event Center was their first time to see the band. I was surprised when many of them raised their hands or vocally responded. I would say over half the audience replied yes to Stanley's question. Paul looked out at the crowd and addressed the newest KISS Army members.

"Tonight is going to be a night you'll never forget. Nobody forgets their first KISS!"

You can see more pictures from KISS's show at the Winstar World Casino and Resort's Global Event Center right here.

Relent Set To Release New Single, "Low", May 8th

Run Kid Run Acoustic

Death Therapy To Perform Online Monday, 4/13

The Letter Black Signs To Rockfest Records

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Release New Song/Lyric Video, "Brace Yourself"

The Persuaded Debut Video For "Forced Silence"

Sef Idle To Livestream Upcoming Show

Pillar Drop New Lyric Video, "Embrace the Chaos"

Matty Mullins Releases New Song, "No Hold On Me"

Kevin Kiehn (formerly of The Wedding) Aids Songwriters, Releases New Music

GFM (Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh) Announce E-Tour, To Release New Song Friday

Twenty One Pilots Release New Song/Video, "Level of Concern"

Megadeth Have Had To Delay Their Recording Plans Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

Fit For A King, Silent Planet, Alpha Wolf & Brand Of Sacrifice’s European/UK Tour Rescheduled

Asking Alexandria, Falling In Reverse, Wage War, Etc. Tour Postponed

Azusa's Sophomore Album, "Loop of Everything," Coming to Stores April 10th - See Their Latest Promo Clip, "Monuments," Now [VIDEO]

Wage War Working On Fourth Album, Tease New Song

2020 ‘Hellfest Open Air’ Cancelled, Organizers Enter Dispute With Insurance Company Over Pandemic Coverage

Check Out New August Burns Red Video "Bones" for Their Latest Release "Guardians" [VIDEO]

Noted Metal Booking Agent Feels Touring Won’t Be Viable Again Until 2021

Brian Ortize - See a Victory (New Song)

2020 ‘Rocklahoma’ Festival Cancelled

‘Roadburn Festival’ Postponed To 2021

P.O.D. Recording Demos In Quarantine

Ocean Dark Present "Voice to the Nations"

Brave Days - Cloudy Eyes (Official Music Video)

Deathbreaker Announce New Album, New Track "Spite" Out Now

New Veridia Track, "Blood Diamond"

New Spoken Song "Awaken Me" Drops

Skillet Debut New Music Video: "Save Me"

New Single From Then It Ends - "Rescue Me"

Hot Water Music, Cursive, Torche, Sparta, Etc. Booked For 2020 ‘The Fest’

Evanescence & Within Temptation Announce Rescheduled European/UK Tour

Megadeth To Stream 2018 ‘Resurrection Fest’ Set Today

Deathbreaker To Release New Album “Isolate” In May, Debut “Spite”

2020 ‘Impericon Festival’ Shows (As I Lay Dying, Etc.) Rescheduled To September

Islander Release Cover of "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

White Collar Sideshow Post Full Show, "Live From Quarantine in Nashville, TN"

Of the Lion Drops New Track, "Armistice"

Slow Coming Day to Release New Music via Indie Vision Music

Anchor & Braille Return With New Song "Dangerous"

Korn’s Brian “Head” Welch Exposes Scammer Impersonating Him On Social Media

UPDATE: Is A Bright Sky restarting and are we in for new music?

Have you heard of Ten On Sunday?

Ravenhill's Album Soul to be Released on Vinyl

Introducing: Nömlonger

Listen to As I Lay Dying - Destruction or Strength Now!

As I Lay Dying Release New Song “Destruction Or Strength” To Benefit Charity & Their Road Crew

Listen to Earth Groans - Prettiest Things Now!

Orion Walsh Performs Acoustic Slow Coming Day Songs from His Living Room

Judgement Day Release New Ep for Free Online (SXE Hardcore)

Listen to August Burns Red - Constellations (Remix) Now!

August Burns Red Premiere New Track “Paramount”

See Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine And His Daughter Electra Cover The Beatles

2020 ‘Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame’ Induction Ceremony Rescheduled To November

Mantric Signs with Solid State Records

Post-Hardcore Outfit Tigerwine Signs with Tooth and Nail Records

Get The Devil Wears Prada - The Act Right Now!

The Devil Wears Prada And Gideon’s April Tour Cancelled

A Mouthful of Thunder Release "Careful Now"

Highly Influential Aussie Emo-Punk Band Thinktank Re-Release Music on Digital Networks

Earth Groans Down Two Members

Bandcamp Waive Revenue Share For Today Only To Help Struggling Artists

Azusa Debut New Song “Kill / Destroy”

Rescheduled Dates Announced For We Came As Romans, The Devil Wears Prada, Gideon, Etc. Tour

P.O.D. Postpone March Shows

Unwed Sailor release new video

Rescheduled Dates Revealed For Fit For A King, Chelsea Grin & Alpha Wolf Tour

Bad Omens, Oh, Sleeper, Thousand Below, Etc. Tour Postponed

Earth Groans Debut “Springs” Music Video

We Came As Romans, The Devil Wears Prada, Gideon, Etc. Tour Postponed To The Summer

Killswitch Engage, August Burns Red & Light The Torch Tour Postponed, Watch Howard Jones Join Killswitch Engage Onstage For Two Songs

2020 ‘Impericon Festival’ Shows (As I Lay Dying, Whitechapel, Etc.) Postponed

2020 ‘Record Store Day’ Pushed Back To June

Fit For A King Premiere New Single “Breaking The Mirror”

We Are Leo - IWKY (Feat. Elizabeth Grace)

Peter Jackson’s Beatles Documentary ‘Get Back’ Coming From Disney Later This Year

Faster for the Master Showcases Embodyment, Zao, Antestor, Crimson Thorn Tonight!

Off Road Minivan to Release New Album This Year

Andrew Carlin (Light The Way) Releases First Middle Grade Novel

Thinktank Return to Play Some Shows and Potential New Music?

This Year’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony Postponed Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Hasten Revelation Tour Spotlight: Abated Mass of Flesh

Hasten Revelation Tour Spotlight: Jarius Pascale of Mythic Panda Productions

Hasten Revelation Tour Spotlight: Living Sacrifice

Jason Dunn Releases Solo Track, "Prodigal"

Relent Signs To Rockfest Records

The Return Of The Letter Black!

Then It Ends Drop Cover Of "It Is Well"

Thrice Release “Image Of The Invisible” Live Video From “Vheissu” 15th Anniversary Tour

Gideon Drop Off European/UK Tour With Fit For A King & Silent Planet

Evergreen Terrace Headed To The Studio

Hasten Revelation Tour Spotlight: Crimson Thorn

Hasten Revelation Tour Spotlight: Taking the Head of Goliath

Hasten Revelation Tour Spotlight: Cardiac Rupture

As I Lay Dying, Whitechapel & Shadow Of Intent Tour Officially Announced

The Frozen Ocean Return With New Music

The Beautiful Mistake - East of Eden (Official Music Video)

The Classic Crime - The Outside (Official Music Video + Album Out Now)

Messengers Emerge From a Long Slumber to Knock Us All to the Floor With Their Thundering Metal Assault

Element 101 Begin Recording Their Long-Awaited Return Album

As I Lay Dying, Whitechapel & Shadow Of Intent North American Tour Rumored

Zao To Begin Mixing New Album

Ex-Norma Jean Drummer Shares Unfinished “Vertebraille” Video In Celebration Of “O’ God, The Aftermath” Turning 15

Project 86 Announce "The Final Chapter"

Have you heard of Herd?

XL & DBD Return With New Song and Album

Seraphs Coal to Release (Final) New Album This Year + More About The Band's Upcoming Dates

Embodyment / The Famine Drummer Mark Garza Playing with Living Sacrifice at 30th Anniversary Show?!?!

Hasten Revelation Tour Spotlight: The Weeping Gate

Azusa (Extol, Ex-The Dillinger Escape Plan, Etc.) Debut “Detach”, Testament’s Alex Skolnick Guests

August Burns Red Premiere New Song “Bones”

Cities Revealed For European/UK Leg Of Megadeth, Lamb Of God, Trivium & In Flames Tour

Trailer Released For New Living Sacrifice Documentary ’30 Years Of Sacrifice…’

Footage From Norma Jean’s House Show Tour Emerges

The Devil Wears Prada & Gideon Reveal April Tour

Chevelle Share Tease Of New Song in Studio Video

Hopesfall Debut New Track “Hall Of The Sky”

Megadeth Preparing To Record New Album

August Burns Red Announce June European Tour

Is A Bright Sky restarting and are we in for new music?

DENS - They