The End Of The Road: One Last Time, KISS Rocks Cleveland

March 17, 2019 KISS returned to Cleveland one last time to rock The Q. What is being billed as the final tour ever, the End Of The Road  touched down on St. Patty’s Day in the home of  Rock ‘ N Roll. No opening band, but rather an opening artist. David Garibaldi  brought his Rhythm and Hue act to Cleveland.

Garibaldi came onstage and wasted no time in starting the evenings festivities. He started with a blank canvas being brought up onstage and kind of gave an idea what was to come next. The arenas P.A. blasted some Guns N Roses, as he threw and slung paint around with no rhyme or reason. We got 2 songs from GnR  before we saw the fruits of his labor, a portrait of Slash. Next up, 2 songs from Bruce Springsteen, and the added treat of  Garibaldi  creating this picture upside down. After all was said done, a portrait of The Boss was delivered. Last, but not least, he conjured up a killer painting of KISS , with the Cleveland skyline in the background. The crowd ate up every moment of it, and this one of a kind piece was to be bid on and sold for charity. I was unfamiliar with Garibaldi  before the evening, but was quite impressed with his work. His half hour time seemed to fly by and was rather enjoyable.

In no time at all it seemed, the lights went dark and the video screens came on. We see Doc McGhee, long time manager of  KISS  lead the way from the dressing room. Gene Simmons was the first to follow with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer not far behind. Now People, LISTEN as I say Paul Stanley  was the last out, did his trademark Paul shimmy, and kicked at the camera. Blackout.. YOU WANTED THE BEST, YOU GOT THE BEST, THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD..KISSThe band took the stage in the midst of explosions, and went right into “Detroit Rock City”Paul  had some issues going on at first, and it lasted about two songs, and then a much needed break as “Deuce” was up next. The band then blasted into “Say Yeah” off 2009’s ‘Sonic Boom,’which could have been skipped over. Just sayin it was room in the set for another classic. The backing vocals that with “Heaven’s On Fire” and “Lick It Up” were really noticeable, as was Paul’s  lip syncing. He himself in an interview with StarTribune  said “There’s no denying, whether you’re an athlete or singer, that life goes on, and you aren’t who you once were,” he continued. “That’s life. I always say if you want to hear me sound like I did on ‘Alive’, go listen to ‘Alive!’  That said, I have no problem doing what I’m doing and standing by it. The songs sound awesome.” Father time gets to everyone at some point or another, but don’t try and sell it as it sounds awesome. Stanley  let some of his trade marked ( who are we kidding, everything is trademarked by this band) WHOOOOOO YEAAAAAHHH’s out and it wasn’t pretty. Onto “War Machine” and the band started to pick up the energy, complete with Simmons breathing fire and planting a sword in the stage. The energy continued as the band ripped through classics like “Calling Dr. Love”, “100,000 Years”“Cold Gin”, and “God Of Thunder” complete with the traditional spewing of blood. Paul Stanley  got the crowed going more so by saying “Cleveland, I want to be out there with you, but I gotta feel it.” The crowd went wild and chanted his name as he rocketed out to a platform in the crowd to perform “Love Gun” and the Simmons detested “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”Kiss  ended things up with a long time staple of their set “Black Diamond”. After a few minute break, they hit the stage for the encore with Cleveland native Eric Singer  on piano singing “Beth”“Do You Love Me” and of course “Rock and Roll All Nite” closed out the evening. Most of the songs on the setlist could have been predicted, but a few of the choices could have been replaced with better choices in my opinion. Maybe throw “Strutter” or “I Want You” in there one more time.

Overall, the evening was a good time and a last chance to see KissThroughout the night, the band talked about how this was a celebration of everything they had accomplished through the years. I wish that it would have been more of a celebration, omitting the tracks that were part of the unmasking period. It was assumed that band would be going out with a bang from achievements from the make up era. It would have been nice if they had asked the Spaceman, Ace Frehley  himself to come out on the road one last time and play a few songs. Stanley and Simmons selling this as a celebration, and still shoving other people up there wearing The Spaceman and Catman makeup was contradictory. There is no denying the fact that as a whole, KISS  still brings the energy, and are entertainers. I see the point they make saying they wanted to go out while they could still entertain the fans and give them a hell of a show. After all, it really is a whole production of getting the makeup and all the gear on. The stage shown has grown since the last time I had seen them live. The explosions and pyrotechnics were top notch. As a long time fan, I guess I wanted more out a band I had followed since childhood. Less of the pre recorded vocals and backing tracks, and more a celebration of what the band is and was. So for the record, if you get the chance, one last time what do ya say? What the hell, because after all, it is the End Of The Road.

Setlist Cleveland, Ohio March 17, 2019

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. Shout It Out Loud
  3. Deuce
  4. Say Yeah
  5. I Love It Loud
  6. Heaven’s on Fire
  7. War Machine
  8. Lick It Up
  9. Calling Dr. Love
  10. 100,000 Years
  11. Cold Gin
  12. God of Thunder
  13. Psycho Circus
  14. Let Me Go, Rock ‘N’ Roll
  15. Love Gun
  16. I Was Made For Lovin’ You
  17. Black Diamond

Encore

18. Beth

19. Do You Love Me

20. Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite

 

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