KISStorian — live phantoms Boston 2010

New line-up or not, I admit it: KISS brought the goods last night at Comcast Center just outside Boston, not just enough pyro to blow your head off. I may have to re-enlist in The Kiss Army after all. I could have been a general by now.

They sounded great, played well together, and delivered classic KISS faithfully, with incredible exuberance. By the time the last chords of anthem “Rock & Roll All Nite” rang out in the Mansfield night, I had to admit it – I couldn’t help but root for Kiss, yet again. Armed with a monster repertoire from which to choose and old-fashion determination, remaining Kiss’ Co-founders Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley still have enough fire in the belly to melt an adjacent iceberg. Greasepaint aside, these guys know how to win a crowd over and leave indelible impressions.

“You drive us wild, we’ll drive you crazy!” – Kiss, 1975

Seeing Kiss in 2010 is like a going through a time warp. I personally felt like I had time-traveled on Star Trek’s ‘Holodeck’ to 1978 to see Kiss at Space Mountain to re-live their TV-movie, “Kiss Meets The Phantom of The Park.”

I can explain….See, the ‘Phantom’ was my very first Kiss experience (sorry Michelle H.). I guess I was deemed too young to go to concerts then and there was no MTV yet. This was also before the advent of VCR’s, YouTubers, so my Mom & Dad did the only thing they could think of to appease my brother and I – they set up a tri-pod to snap a few photographs of the screen. It was a success and, strange to most, a slide of original drummer Peter Criss taken that night still ranks as one of my most treasured possessions.

Paul4Anyway….flash forward 32 years and I’m standing in the vending area pre-show, starting to get that queasy feeling I always seem to get before I see my childhood heroes. This time, however, it’s a little different. I am feeling really guilty about the fact that Ace Frehley & Peter Criss are gone. Feeling like hell about the fact that Gene & Paul have anointed a new ‘Spaceman’, and a new ‘Catman’. For some of us, it’s all too much. Will I be able to embrace these masked imposters?

As it turns out, it’s not the end of the world….at least as far as enjoying a Kiss show goes. Tommy Thayer delivers Ace better than probably anyone else on the planet, including Space Ace himself perhaps. And, at least Eric Singer has made some effort to alter his overly-linear drumming to better suit the classic Kiss groove that old Pete mined.

I was surprised to find a really wide demographic at the show; babies, kids, teenagers, mid-twenties hipsters, drop-outs, hicks, loner 30-somethings, Moms & Dads, 40-somethings like me, the elderly, even the handicapped were out in  force.

It was like being at a fairgrounds, or a  racetrack,  or an amusement park…or…  wait….NO,DAMN  IT, IT WAS LIKE THE OPENING SCENES OF “KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM”! Were we time traveling? String Theory says we can?! I told my wife what was going on in the Kiss area of my brain and she just grimaced in dismay. Then it hit me, OMG!!!…..This evenings’ Kiss plot-line was not so dissimilar from the ’78 ‘Phantom’ movie either!! You see…in the movie, Kiss are replaced by diabolical robotic clones. Today, two of the original KISS members have been replace by musical robots in the sense that they have at least been programmed; programmed & paid to play like Ace & Peter.

DSCN0255I was now going to have to come to terms with all of this unpleasantness. To be honest, my Kiss world had been a cosmic mess ever since Peter and then Ace left the band again and KISStory repeated itself. Gene’s reality show wasn’t helping. The ‘new’ Kiss had brought me shame. What if Eric & Tommy actually were actually robots of some sort? Like in the movie. Plus, Gene & Paul could afford the best robots money could buy; surely they are working on it anyway. I wouldn’t put it past’em – mind control, whatever it takes. KISS is relentless.

Anyway, for some reason, all night I was unable to shake this ridiculous robot concern. BOY was I shaken then when they threw a new wrinkle into their the show that caught me totally off guard. So off guard in fact that for one harrowing nano-second I wondered if I really was stuck in a Kiss nightmare or if I had lost my mind entirely. They all stopped in unison for 15 seconds or more, like KISS action figures out of battery power. Or, holy shit, like ROBOTS!  As if frozen in time, they didn’t make a sound, the silence grew deafening and the place went ape. KISS are again mainstream superstars and are even threatening to record another record to follow-up last year’s “Sonic Boom.” Brainwashed or not, I can’t help but suspect foul play. Two down and two to go, Devereaux.


  1. Awesome! You hit a lot of points of my childhood and adulthood as well!

  2. First off, as a KISS fan since age 3 (1976) and a huge collector of bootleg shows, rehearsals, demos, whate not.. (over 600)..anyone who misses Ace and Peter is a FOOL (including the idiot author of this post. Ace and Peter always though they were just as big as the band. Facts are this: Peter Criss never cared about the fans and his druming has sucked since 1979. The Reunion shows? Please, his drums were so “mic’ed” up it was not funny. Ace makes mistake after mistake and the storeis that Paul tells about the hardship’s dealing with those clowns durinf the Pyscho Circus LP are asbolutley true….just ask Bruce Kulick who had to come in and play on the album same for Tommy. The new Sonic Boom album is amazing and has a total true KISS sound from every era and since the drumer is named Eric again, KISS HAS BALLS!

    I have the after show and Mr. Author…I will be more than happy to send you copies of the proof. REAL KISS FANS supported KISS through the 80’s, a decade that KISS sound millions of albums and toured for every album, aside from the Elder, had had much success..just ask MTV and magazine editor’s from that time. Truth of the matter is this: The lastest Ace album sold HORRIBLY and he could not even sell out an Atlantic City concert in a mid sized club. AC, NJ?? Wow, where are all of those hardcore Acce fans? Peter Criss? This loser charged a feee to sign at a KISS Konvention then refused to come out of his hotel room until he got MORE money. Then Peter (the guy who was FIRED in the first place, who laughed through Beth during the Dyansty tour..) decided to come out abnout his skin cancer when? That’s right..the day Sonic Boom was released.

    Ace is my fave guitarist of all time, but the man has no class. Ace cronies like EDDIE TRUNK ..never promoted Sonic Boom but wow the album first week sales was SECOND in the States. Funny, a little while ago Paul did an art show in NJ and Trunk showed up. In front of all the people there..Paul asked out loud to Trunk, “Are you done talking shit about me?” Gene and Paul continue to make great decisions and the KISS ARMY does not need the “bandwagon” Ace and Peter fans because they are all talk and no show? Just ask Ace the attendance of his past tour and album sales. You know, that same album he promised for 15 years that had 4 songs on it from 80’s demos and better yet, he bought the tune he released as the first single and changed the lyrics. Gene used two demos ffrom the 80’s for SB, but everything else was BRAND NEW.
    FACT: Tommy BLOWS Ace away on many levels: 1. Tommy CARES about the fans, unlike Ace. Tommy and Eric answer fans emails personally and have for years. Tommy had to re-teach Ace his guitar parts in 1996. Tommy played in a great KISS trib band in LA in the late 80’s. Tommy’s solos on SB destroy Ace and his new album. Let’s not even talk about Eric Singer because the man is one of the BEST drummers in the world and has been for decades. In fact, if Eric Carr can’t be the drummer then only Eric Singer deserves to be behind the kit.

    KISS is again kicking ass with balls to their sound. As for me, I took an Amtrak to meet them in Boston last year and they treated me with class. I left that stadium too happy to believe and at many people I was yelling AERSOMITH SUCKS..and for the most part, so does Boston and the author of this article.

    REAL KISS fans know that Gene and Paul are correct. Ace and Peter sold thier trademark’s and to be honest….aside from Eric Carr..KISS has never sounded better. Just ask the THOUSANDS of KISS fans going to show’s compared to the few hundred that go to see Ace.

    • I hear ya, but Gene & Paul have replaced style with perfection and, when the solo comes, it ain’t the same and you know it – hit or miss as Ace was. Same reason the Stones don’t sound as cool without Wyman; rock & roll is an applied science, not a regimen. Thanks for chiming in man!

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