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KISS opens 'Freedom to Rock' tour

Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheatre
Tucson, AZ
July 4, 2016

Review and photos by Mary Andrews

KISS may very well have THE tour of the summer as evidenced by their opening show in Tucson, AZ on the 4th of July! This turned out to be a very full day of KISS. Early in the day, there was a meet and greet with an acoustic set for approximately 25-30 fans at the event center at AVA. There were photo ops and autographs by the unmade-up band. This came at a hefty price though. Two hours before the show, the band joined dozens of veterans from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and other Tucson fans to unfurl a gigantic American flag. Rumor had it that this was going to be used in a future video.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees have long been supporters of "Wounded Warriors." This show was dedicated to the military. KISS frontman Paul Stanley told the crowd as they endured 100 plus degree heat, "It's not the politicians that make this country great, it's the military. Politicians make promises. The military delivers." This 4th of July party was dedicated to those who serve this country.

KISS has been known to deliver everything that makes a concert great: glam, music, pyrotechnics, persona, and innovation. There was no shortage of any of those things and the result was yet another visual and musical masterpiece for the KISS 'army.' During the show, Paul asked how many people in the audience were at a KISS show for the first time. Surprisingly, at least half of the crowd raised their hands. This proves that the KISS appeal lives on.

Gene Simmons played the crowd with his usual tongue antics, blood spitting, fire breathing and his demonizing persona. He had the heaviest, most intricate costume of the band. How he maintained his "cool" throughout the 90-minute show was a marvel. Maybe he had an air-conditioner pumping cool air underneath his heavy costume. He was dancing and stomping all over the stage appearing as though it was no big deal! Paul Stanley, the Starchild, was the spokesperson for the evening. Tommy Thayer, the Spaceman, was all over the stage playing and singing during the set. Those high platform boots appeared to be as supple as sneakers as Tommy maneuvered around. Drummer, Eric Singer, the 'Catman,' played nonstop in the background. He was feeling the bulk of the heat from the pyros since he was in the back with the booms! There were more pyro flashes and booms than could be counted.

The set list had a good representation of their hits from throughout their five-decade career. The most memorable event of the evening was when Paul Stanley donated a check for $150,000 to "Active Heroes" a charitable organization benefiting veteran suicide prevention. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild presented the group the key to the city of Tucson for their support of the United States military. The crowd was led in the pledge of allegiance. The set ended with "Rock and Roll All Night."

The summer tour will be hitting some 40 cities this summer.
1. Detroit Rock City
2. Deuce
3. Shout It Out Loud
4. Creatures of the Night
5. War Machine (Gene spits fire)
6. Psycho Circus
7. Calling Dr. Love
8. Shock Me
9. Cold Gin
10. Lick It Up
11. Bass Solo (Gene Simmons spits blood)
12. I Love It Loud
13. 100,000 Years
14. Love Gun
15. Black Diamond

16. Beth
17. The Star-Spangled Banner (John Stafford Smith cover)
(First time played live since 1992)
18. Rock and Roll All Nite

Related articles:

"KISS Rocks Vegas" - Film review - May 2016
KISS - Concert review - Tinley Park, IL - September 2012
KISS - Concert review - Chicago, IL - November 2009
KISS (Summerfest 2009) - Photo Gallery - Milwaukee, WI - July 2009
KISS - Concert review - Tinley Park, IL - July 2004
Aerosmith / KISS - Concert review - East Troy, WI - Sept. 2003
KISS - Concert review - Madison, WI - Dec. 1998
Kiss - Psycho Circus - Album review


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