WORDS BY DAVID TAYLOR AND PHOTOS BY ROBERT A. CHADWICK | Go Venue Magazine
KISS has been in the public zeitgeist for over 45 years. Their instantly recognizable makeup and costumes have keep them relevant for many generations. But, the time has come for them to brush off their makeup and hang up the costumes, as their End of the Road World Tour hit Omaha, Nebraska at CHI Health Center on March 7, 2019. Labeled as their farewell tour, KISS has been coming to Omaha since 1977, so this last show had to really pack a punch for KISS fans to remember.
Opening up the concert was something out of the unusual opening act: a performance painter named David Garibaldi. I had first heard about him when he was on the special features for the Lion King special edition a couple years ago, painting a portrait of Scar for a special music video for “Be Prepared”. Before KISS went on, he painted portraits of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and John Lennon. Lastly, he painted a piece dedicated to Omaha, featuring a Maverick, representing the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and a Bluejay, representing Creighton University. What an amazing talent he was to open up for Kiss.
Finally, it was time for KISS to hit the stage. Kicking off their set with the classic “Detroit Rock City”, KISS lit up the arena with all the pyrotechnics you can possibly imagine. Paul Stanley, singer and guitarist, has so much charisma to him, I can see why he’s one of the best frontmen out there. Gene Simmons, singer and bassist, had a striking presence to him onstage, as he is The Demon. During “God of Thunder”, he flew up to the ceiling, spitting blood. Tommy Thayer, guitarist, and Eric Singer, drummer, both received solo spotlights during “Cold Gin” and “100,000 Years”, respectively. It was cool seeing everyone of all ages wearing KISS makeup, even kids. During “Love Gun”, Paul Stanley, becoming a man of the people, flew out into the crowd to a platform in the back of the arena. Pretty brave for him for being 67 years old! For their encore, Eric Singer came out and sang “Beth”, even playing piano. Then, the rest of the band came out and performed “Do You Love Me” and the stadium anthem “Rock and Roll All Nite”, with confetti and streamers filling the arena. Gene and Tommy were going over the crowd on these cranes, giving their last thank you to the Omaha crowd. It’s amazing how a band like KISS, through many line-up changes, can still pack an arena after 45 years. The KISS Army is one to never count out, as they show up in droves. Thank you, KISS, for 45 years of timeless music that will keep people singing along from time to time.All images © Robert A Chadwick