As you have surely heard by now, KISS is going on tour this summer with Def Leppard. And while this is bound to be a nostalgic concert full of bombs, rock screams, and plenty of guitar solos, I find myself wondering once again what setlist will KISS trot out? Recently, the band has gone out of their way to belabor the fact that Ace and Peter were not the only guitarist and drummer the band had and that their legacy expands beyond the four original members. If Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley want to be true to that statement, this 40th anniversary tour is the perfect time for them to drive that point home.
Every time KISS goes on tour, they bring out a very similar, if not identical, setlist to the previous tour. Even when they release a new album, only one song from the album gets performed while the band is in America. Once they head overseas, they take a few more risks and play additional songs from the new record, but it never seems to happen in the states. Now they are celebrating 40 years as a band, without a record to promote. This is their prime opportunity to really tap into their catalog and dust off some hits that haven’t been played in years.
I suspect that the band will have between 80 and 90 minutes of stage time and I realize that there are some hits they have to play. A couple of years ago, KISS did bring back “Crazy, Crazy Nights,” and I thought that was a high point to their show. But why stop there? Why not really mix it up and play some tracks that people almost forgot existed. I get that deep cuts like “Almost Human” and “Sweet Pain” probably aren’t going to be played, but how about pulling out “Shandi” in the USA? What if they were to skip “I Was Made For Loving You” and decided that “Hard Luck Woman” was a better fit? I can’t speak for all fans, but I know that this KISS fan would be in all his glory. I know that “Rock And Roll All Nite” is getting performed. I am sure that “Love Gun,” “Lick It Up,” and “Firehouse” will be performed. And all of those songs are great. All I ask is that the band takes a chance and mixes in some other great songs from their catalog.
I would love to hear “I” off of Music From The Elder, or “Mr. Speed” from Rock And Roll Over. “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em,” or “Uh! All Night” would be a dream come true. Hell even “Outta This World,” or “Never Enough” would be welcomed treats at this point. I’ve been seeing this band live since the 90s and I know what they are capable of. During the period of time when the makeup was off, Kiss performed songs from their entire catalog. But once the makeup went back on, they stuck to the safe hits. Now, it’s time to celebrate 40 years of Kiss. They even have a (yet another) greatest hits album coming out that includes one song from each record they’ve ever recorded. Why not structure the setlist in a similar fashion? For longtime/diehard fans, it would be a spectacular experience. And there could still be plenty of hits to keep the casual fan satisfied.
I will be seeing the band this summer, and I truly hope that they will go out of their way to mix it up, but I won’t hold my breath waiting to see anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps KISS will surprise me this year, and that would be lovely, but I expect to get the same 15 or 16 hits they’ve played for the last decade. And for a band that has a history as deep and long as theirs, that’s a real shame. If I had a say (and boy, I wish I did) this would be my setlist for the 40th anniversary tour:
I Just Wanna
I Love It Loud
Outta This World
Uh! All Night
I Still Love You
Nothing To Lose
Detroit Rock City
Heaven’s On Fire
Rock And Roll All Nite
What about you? Are you tired of the same setlist? Do you wish that KISS would mix it up, or are you just happy that they are still touring? Drop a line in the comments and let us know your thoughts!