From: Ken Gullic
Well, it was a slight surprise to be walking towards the BC place around 7:15 pm and hear someone blaring the Alive III version of "Lick It Up" from their van... but then as we got closer I realized it wasn't just a faithful 90's fanatic but the actual foursome themselves doing what I would consider to be a late soundcheck! It sounded great and certainly confirmed the rumors of the set list... it was eventually followed by a "2,000 Man" run through which also sounded pretty damn swell. I, for one, did NOT hear "Forever" as a sound check tune, but then maybe we strolled up too late for that (though I think the heavily echoed strains of the Lick It Up chorus could easily be confused for "Forever"... I mean the sounds drifted up and out of the stadium... and sounded better DOWN THE STREET versus standing near the entrance, trust me!)
AS FOR THE SHOW: After enduring WAY TOO MUCH TIME in the merch line [the "event" t-shirts were cool (e.g. "Alive IV" I Was There) but the 25th Anniversary shirt was the best of the four new shirts, fyi!]and missing the opening acts... right on the nose at 11:15 pm came one of the coolest KISS openings ever!! Similar to the Meadowlands New Years Eve opening film came an approx. 10 minute "documentary" on THE ENTIRE KISS HISTORY per [nearly EVERY]album... starting with very cool Mike Douglas/'74 footage- there was awesome Hotter Than Hell commercial out-takes (my guess) as well as a cool clip of a Paul/solo album interview... other highlights: great Creatures tour footage (yes/w Vinnie) as well as GREAT Hot In The Shade footage (to the tune of "Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell")... Eric Carr's passing was covered... EVERYTHING THROUGH PSYCHO CIRCUS!! Very fucking cool!! It was fun cheering for and singing along to KISS era's you knew they couldn't cover that night. Good job Tommy Thayer!! (had to be an "inside fan")
AND THE SHOW ITSELF! By now you know about the stage (Psycho Circus w/Destroyer blow up balloons on the side of the stage) and the fact that there were NOT new costumes (which I think they should've tried... to add to the new set list excitement!!). They opened w/Psycho Circus, which they played well, but felt little stiff, Vancouver seemed unfamiliar (compared to American cities)- Shout It Out Loud really started a buzz through the crowd, and then DEuce "closed the deAL"... THE HOUSE WAS ROCKING (w/domestic problems??)
It felt like "we were one" by then, if you get my drift. Then the "surreality" kicked in as Paul started to do his "sum songs yew jus- know by tha beginnin'!" rap. He stopped, though, in mid rap and seemed like he needed to do a "we've never played this bee-faw" disclaimer (at this point I'm thinking "Rocket Ride"... not any of the 80's hits, since they indeed HAD played them b4... I digress.) "Heaven's On Fire" it was... it was fun for sure. The crowd was very supportive and it was SO weird watching Ace sing 80's b/up vox in his Destroyer costume!! Gene did his 80's "I'm just happy" dance which he used to do w/o make up. Though, like you, I'd have rather heard "Exciter" or "Creatures..." I still thought it was cool! (Ace started a little 80's trend with this song... stay tuned!). Next came "Shock Me" which was fine, but I'm kinda sick of. I'd rather hear "Rocket Ride" or "Dolls" for that matter. It always works live, I guess. Firehouse had to be played and was fine, Do You Love Me? certainly was cool since it has yet to be on an "Alive" record, and brought back memories of the reunion tour and how great that song became!! Let Me Go Rock and Roll was a little rushed as they cleared the way for Y2K!! No place I'd rather be (well, I can think of one, but she was "back in the New York Groove" working!!) than with KISS doing 2,000 Man! It was played well and worked perfectly! I had to do a merch run during Ace's solo (as there were items like the awesome KISS digital action cards that were only sold later in the evening... these are amazing MUST haves! Cooler than many things!!) SORRY ACE! (By the way... this was THE ONLY TIME I would have missed the 3-D effects... it used to work during Ace's 2001 solo!!). Surprsingly this was followed by yet another Ace moment... (boy are they sucking up to him or what?!? Howzabout Petey and Hooligan guys??) COLD GIN which ALWAYS works live, and ALWAYS bores me... but I understand. God Of Thunder was next, and the only tricky song of the night, Gene's rig nearly faltered (ala New Haven!) but ultimately worked... and they seemed to lose each other coming out of Gene's decent. It was fine, but YES I'D THINK WAR MACHINE or UNHOLY would work in this slot too... It's not like we're asking for Mr. Blackwell Gene!! Back to the 80's and Paul: "Here's another song we haven't played bafaw... and I hope it duzn't sound lahk we've nevah played it befaw!!" (He was in good spirits!)... don't wanna wait till ya know me bettah!!" And they were off... pretty cool watching Ace do Bruce's Alive III riffs... he seemed to really be concentrating (and didn't move much)... again, the close ups of him on the screen singing "Likidup, Likkid up... ohhh, ohhh, ohhh" in Destroyer gear was like watching The Beatles do "Silly Love Songs"... cool, but hard to "file" as it was such a wild paradigm!! The fact that they IMMEDIATELY followed it with "I Love It Loud" was a surprise... but cool. This made the most sense as far as the chosen 80's material. Seeing Ace play the lead was awesome!! Peter was fine and seemed like he was having fun. Paul said something like "This is the last of the make up songs off of the last of the make up albums..." and Gene interupts him (totally out of demon character) and sez: "What are you talking about... WE ARE IN MAKE UP!" It was funny and strange all the same. But it worked!! As for Ace's 80's trend?? HE NEVER MOVED FROM HIS STAGE LEFT TIER... HE SEEMED TO REALLY CONCENTRATE, BUT HE NEVER CAME DOWN OFF OF IT DURING THE 80'S MATERIAL!! It was like he just wanted to get it right, which was cool... Then it was back to last years set list (though strangely no other songs from PC other than the title track). 100,000 Years came next and Paul's vocals were AWESOME! His trail off at the end of the song was fucking great! I hope it makes the Alive IV edit! Love Gun was next (Paul flew, yes) followed by another killer Stanley tune: Black Diamond... Paul got a rough start and did the intro twice. Peter's vocal mike was down in the mix at first, but eventually he sounded great!! NO drum riser at this point, which Peter sort of acknolweged with a befuddled smirk when the camera was on him... they quickly came out to do Detrot which sounded good... and suddenly Into The Void made it's first known appearance as an "encore"... Paul joked about Ace dedicating it to Stanley Kubrick... but he sent it out to the Kiss Army instead!! Beth was next... by the second verse, Peter sounded awesome! And then of course Rock and Roll All Night. Overall, a good show. The standouts were the intro film (VERY cool!), Ace & Peter being troopers for learning 80's tunes (okay... WELL paid troopers)... both Ace and Peter played better than expected (though no Petey solo), this being the first show since Peter's surgery... and sometimes Ace is sloppy early in tours. BTW: Ace lost weight, it seems, and looked great!! Peter and Ace's hair seemed longer, Paul's hair was Creaures length (not as sloppy as last tour) and all were in good spirits. This won't go on much longer and I, for one of 14,0000, was glad to be there!! Thanks guys!!