Monday Aug. 22, Kiss brought their Freedom to Rock Tour to the Nutter Center in Dayton. The tour is a thank you to the U.S. Armed Forces by the band for their service and sacrifices. As Paul Stanley said “Freedom isn’t free.” Whether the band continues as a different entity whenever Gene and Paul decide to hang up the boots remains to be seen but through presentation and delivery, Kiss has proven to be ageless and timeless. Later in the show they brought out local Wright-Patterson personnel presenting a check that the band will give to Hiring Our Heroes to help support them when they come home. The band is also employing a member of the reserves to be a Kiss roadie for a day at each stop.
Fans from all over the area filled the Nutter Center, from kids to first timers of all ages to long time Kiss veterans. WTUE broadcasted outside getting listeners and attendees ready for the show.
Kiss fans have come to expect a bombastic, over the top, larger than life show with trademark theatrics and larger than life spectacle. Kiss have prided themselves on giving the audience the most bang for their buck, leaving a wide-eyed, open-mouthed impression. Monday night, they delivered.
The Dead Daisies are opening the show at each stop. They’re not a super group but they each have impressive resumes through former and current bands, coming together through a collective love of ‘70s music celebrating the decade between peace and love and radical indulgence. The Dead Daisies are vocalist John Corabi (Motley Crue), guitarist Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), guitarist David Lowy, bassist Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake) and drummer Brian Tichy (Billy Idol). They just released their new record Make Some Noise playing some new tunes, older tunes and a few covers paying tribute to their influences. With decades of showmanship and experience they brought the ‘70s free-spirited, free-riding party to Dayton.
The evening started with a Revolución as Corabi yelled “Hey, hey, hey, hey” with an updated version of Alex Harvey’s “Midnight Moses.” They went straight south of the border to party in “Mexico.” It’s where the story happens but only portions are brought back. New record title track “Make Some Noise” got the groove and clap on, revival style.
In case you don’t know who we are, we’re The Dead Daisies, Corabi said.
They broke out the Clearwater, reviving the “Fortunate Son.” In the vein of Bad Company’s “Shooting Star” and Skynyrd, “Lock ‘N’ Load” was about a young man’s short journey through life based on choices.
“Long way to Go” broke out the Aerosmith vibe and those long road, well-traveled tales. Everyone “Joined Together” with The Who for a festival styled jam. “The last time I saw the Sun” brought out more Aerosmith gypsy rattling good times on stage.
They didn’t share The Stones sympathy as “Devil out of Time” finished the originals but they did give love to The Beatles, ending with “Helter Skelter.”
The curtain fell as Gene, Paul and Tommy Thayer descended, turning Dayton into “Detroit Rock City.” It was a timeless tale; if your man is working hard he’s worth a “Deuce.” Stanley got close and personal with the photographers and front row.
Stanley said last time they played here was 2000 and the first time was in 1975. Dayton was one of the first places that took them in first. After a deafening audience test, splitting the building in two then a collective roar they earned “Shout it out Loud.”
They were finally in the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame even if they hated Kiss. “Do you love Me” flashed vintage band footage to the uninitiated. Stanley insisted there were no musicians playing under the stage, no one off to the side and no prerecorded tracks. What you heard was the four of them being a rock n’ roll band. Kiss always loved it loud. They played rarity “Flaming Youth.”
The stage was bathed in blue light and smoke as the Demon’s face was lit ghostly green. Simmons came out wired, in horror movie fashion. The church bell bonged as the crimson fell. The “God of Thunder” ascended to the top of the arena.
“Psycho Circus,” welcomed all to the show. Thayer had his chance to shine on “Shock Me,” with guitar solo. They went old school Kiss on “Cold Gin.” As green and blue laser light sprayed the stage it was time for the audience to “Lick it Up,” all night long. Whichever gender you were and whatever your particular fancy was. “Dayton, you’re as dirty as I remember,” Stanley joked. They played part of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” mid-tune with raised drums and platform.
“War Machine” brought out the marching armies and fire breathing dragons. Simmons blew fire to end the tune. Stanley tested the audience. As experience had taught him, they always got the loudest on the third time. He came out to perform in the round for “Love Gun” and part of “Black Diamond” globed in purple light, ending with the drums raised and the big cats on stage.
They encored with “Beth.” They always tried to help out the military on past tours. This tour they’re sending a check for $150,000 to Hiring Our Hero’s. They brought out members of Team Wright- Patterson. Patriotism, loving your country and standing up for your military is always cool.
After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance they segued into the “Star Spangled Banner” as Old Glory covered the screen, flying proud as the platform rose. Fireworks and pyro went off with red glare with navy fighter jets flying above.
They finished with the bombast of “Rock and Roll All Nite” in a hailstorm of Kiss confetti, fireworks and streamers. All the stops were pulled out from hot trails of spewing fire to flame twirlers.
The psycho circus was making the evening’s last call and they wanted to be sure you’d been to a rock n’ roll party.
Simmons and Thayer went out saying goodbye to the crowd on extending platforms so the floor could get their close ups. Party streamers flew through the air as the biggest show on earth came to an end. Kiss loves you Dayton!
Images by Mike Ritchie