The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion's gates opened at 5:30 in the evening on Friday, September 17, to a crowd anticipating an explosive show from KISS. They got just that on another typically warm September evening in Texas.
Local contest winners Before Nine opened the show with some pretty good alt/modern rock that warmed up the pavilion. Next, Canada's The Envy performed their first live show in Texas and did not disappoint. Being unfamiliar with the band, I searched for them on the web and, in all honesty, wasn't expecting much of a show from them. Instead, they gave a powerful, heartfelt performance and in my opinion should have been the last band to play before KISS took the stage instead of the third act, The Academy Is... Don't get me wrong, The Academy Is... sounded pretty good (especially their cover of Sweet's "Fox On The Run"), but they were an ill-fit in an otherwise solid trio of warm-up bands.
Then the magic happened.
A black curtain with a prominent silver KISS logo covered the stage. Roadies immediately went to work setting up KISS' stage. Then the curtain dropped, a video of KISS landing on The Woodlands was played, and then another video of the band prepping for the show was viewed. Then Gene, Paul, and Tommy were lifted over Eric Singer's drum kit and placed on the stage while smoke and lights fired off.
The show opened with "Modern Day Delilah" from KISS' latest album, Sonic Boom. From there, the band played great favorites like "Deuce," "I Love It Loud," "100,000 Years," "Calling Doctor Love," and "Say Yeah."
Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer took solo shots with each other on the strings and drums, respectively. Thayer also sang vocals on "Shock Me," which was at one time a signature Ace Frehley tune. Singer took over Peter Criss' vocals on songs like "Black Diamond."
Plenty of the bands outlandish and over-the-top antics were featured, including a shooting guitar, Gene flying, breathing fire, and spitting blood, and plenty of fun banter with the crowd via Paul Stanley.
When it was time for an encore, Singer performed Criss' signature song, "Beth," to a warm reception.
After that, members of the U.S. Marine Corps were brought out on stage and given a check for the Wounded Warriors program totaling well over $400,000 in donations. KISS is donating one dollar from each ticket sold to their shows to the program. Tommy Thayer signed the check and then Paul Stanley lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
From there, the band played more favorites like "Shout It Out Loud" and "Lick It Up." Stanley also swung into the crowd to perform "I Was Made For Lovin' You" on a spinning stand. The show finished with a bang, literally, as well as confetti, fireworks out the wazoo, and a ton of lights, as KISS sang their signature song (and all-around greatest party song) "I Want To Rock And Roll All Nite."
Was this show worth it? Absolutely. The crowd was a great blend of old time fans, hardcore KISS Army members, new adult fans, and a whole slew of young fans.
The Pavilion provided excellent service, from having a load of knowledgeable staff members to having plenty of choices of food and beverages.
Overall, a great experience. I'll definitely see more shows at the Pavilion and definitely check out KISS whenever they're nearby.
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