Review: KISS Rocks Buffalo One Last Time

KISS kicked off the second year of what’s shaping up to be a three-year-long End of the Road World Tour in Buffalo, NY on Feb. 5. This marks the first time KISS has performed an arena show in Buffalo since their 2000 Farewell Tour, which marked the last outing with all four original band members.

While the original Farewell Tour certainly closed the book on the reunion-era band, it seems like the band is going out with a bang as they are seemingly performing in every venue that they’ve frequented during their five-decade career.

As if a massive stage-show and a set full of hits aren't enough, the 2020 incarnation of this tour also features the bombast of original Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth to warm up the crowd every night. Roth adds an incredible element to the show, as he’s toured sparingly over the last several years, and has only been through western New York twice in the last decade (once in 2012 and again in 2015 with Van Halen).

David Lee Roth opening for KISS.

The evening kicked off at 7:30 when David Lee Roth took the stage, opening the night with a setlist absolutely chock-full of his biggest Van Halen hits, with a few of his biggest solo efforts sprinkled in as well. Dave was adorned in a full Las Vegas-style outfit, full of glitz and glam, and began the night with “You Really Got Me,” immediately followed by “Beautiful Girls” and “Unchained.”

He kept the set to roughly 45 minutes, and included additional songs like “Jamie’s Cryin’,” “Runnin’ With the Devil,” “Just Like Paradise” and “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love,” before closing things out with “Jump.”

Honestly, I’m a huge KISS fan, but I was really excited to see Dave perform, and he delivered on as high a level as I could have hoped for. Perhaps we’ll see some kind of outing with the Van Halen brothers again sometime, but I’m not holding my breath.

Right on schedule, KISS took the stage at 8:45 with their signature introduction. The stage was hidden by a black curtain with giant, white KISS logo as the famous lines echoed throughout the arena: “Buffalo, NY – You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best! The Hottest Band in the World...KISS!” The curtain fell as fireworks exploded from seemingly everywhere and three platforms lowered from the ceiling holding Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer!

The End of the Road World Tour stage.

They opened their set with “Detroit Rock City,” “Should It Out Loud” and “Deuce” before fast-forwarding to 2009’s Sonic Boom album with “Say Yeah!” After this, they took a stroll through the ’80s with “I Love It Loud,” “Heaven’s on Fire,” “War Machine” and “Lick It Up.”

KISS didn’t leave anything out of the show. We got the classic Gene Simmons fire breathing, later to be followed with his blood-spitting scene as he ascended up to the top of the stage to perform “God of Thunder.” There were various drum riser lifts throughout the show. Paul Stanley did his signature ride over the crowd to a small second stage in the back of the floor, where he performed “Love Gun” and “I Was Made for Loving You.”

During the finale, as the band performed their largest hit, “Rock and Roll All Nite,” Gene and Tommy were lifted on huge mechanical arms over the crowds on each side and they rotated and came together over the center of the arena floor before being returned to the stage.

As a total package, this tour is simply phenomenal. KISS pulls out all the stops and brings every classic antic I can remember seeing all to one stage. While this final tour may stretch for an extended period of time, I’m making it a point to attend as much as possible. This band is going out on top and I’m thrilled to bear witness to it!

The current North American tour dates go through October and can all be found HERE.

Setlist:

  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. Tears Are Faling
  8. War Machine
  9. Lick it Up
  10. Calling Dr. Love
  11. 100,000 Years
  12. Cold Gin
  13. Bass Solo
  14. God of Thunder
  15. Psycho Circus
  16. Parasite
  17. Love Gun
  18. I Was Made for Lovin’ You
  19. Black Diamond

Encore:

  1. Beth
  2. Crazy Crazy Nights
  3. Rock and Roll All Nite

 

All photos by Charlie Meister.