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KISS – Bridgestone Arena – Nashville (A Concert Review)

KISS – Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN – October 23, 2023

When you have been making music for as long as KISS has, the only real dilemma is what songs to play, and which ones to leave out. At Monday night’s tour stop at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, KISS covered five decades worth of records, touching on the biggest hits and crowd pleasers in a set ending right at two hours.

KISS roared on to the stage with the pyrotechnics, and over the top staging that is their trademark, launching into “Detroit Rock City” and “Shout It Out Loud.” In taking a moment to address the crowd, it was noted that this was the 23rd concert in Nashville and would be their last. There was a very sincere thank you and appreciation for all the devotion for all the years, which was repeated three or four more times throughout the show.

With the moving stage lighting, the blow-up KISS balloons the size of the stage height and pyrotechnics emphasizing the most rocking songs, KISS included all the theatrics that fans have come to see, including Gene Simmons spitting blood and breathing fire. Hardly anyone sat the entire show, wanting to drink in the last minute of what would likely be their last KISS concert ever.

I don’t want to give the impression that they were relying on stage gimmicks for the power of the performance. Each of the musicians took their solos, many of them several minutes long, and their vocals and harmonies were still intact, putting them on a level with bands half their age.

As they headed for the last encore, an extended version of “Rock and Roll All Nite,” it was increasingly evident that these guys just like playing music with each other. As they took the final bows in Nashville, and grinned with the innocence of a 20-something garage band, they seemed to be just genuinely happy to still be doing it all that well, at this point in their lives and careers.

As the house lights came up, and the KISS army filed out, there were a dozen or so grown adults near me, openly crying their eyes out. I would venture that KISS came into their lives at different ages, but they were leaving it at the same time. It seemed like they had come to relive that fading moment of their youth one more time, when KISS was every parent’s nightmare, and the kids’ coolest thing on the planet. All of the memories of who they were with, and what they were doing were tied to so many of the songs.

The scene led to the conclusion that KISS is not just another band calling it quits, but it’s a generation that grew up together, and those things are rare in the world today. The capacity crowd at Bridgestone Arena seemed to collectively appreciate that KISS gave them a chance to close that door on that chapter of their lives, and to do it with a first-rate rock and roll show befitting their loyalty.

KISS Setlist: Detroit Rock City / Shout It Out Loud / Deuce / War Machine / Heaven’s On Fire / I Love It Loud / Say Yeah / Cold Gin / Guitar Solo / Lick It Up / Calling Dr. Love / Makin’ Love / Psycho Circus / Drum Solo /100,000 Years / Bass Solo /God of Thunder / Love Gun / I Was Made For Lovin’ You / Black Diamond Encores: Beth / Do You Love Me / Rock and Roll All Nite

Dave Parsons

Copyright ©2023 All rights reserved. Posted: October 25, 2023.

Photos by Dave Parsons © 2023. All rights reserved.

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