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KISS brings theatrics to Rock Fest stage
By Chris Vetter | 0 comments
CADOTT – With a heavy dose of theatrics, KISS dazzled a large crowd Saturday night at Rock Fest in Cadott.
Right from when the band took the stage and launched into “Psycho Circus,” the crowd was treated to fireworks, blazing flames shooting up from the stage, a drum set that climbed upward on hydraulics, and of course, a rock band in full costume. A giant, metallic spider hovered above the stage, creating a unique background.
KISS performed 18 songs over their 105-minute set, mixing in their signature spots along the way. For instance, Gene Simmons breathed fire, to the roaring approval of the crowd, before KISS launched into “Heaven’s On Fire.” Simmons later drooled blood down his chin and waved his tongue at the audience before the group sang “God of Thunder.”
Paul Stanley taunted the crowd that they needed to be louder, before flying over the crowd on a zip-line to a smaller stage near the middle of the fest grounds.
The music selection was straightforward rock music.
“Are you here for a rock and roll party,” Stanley asked the crowd early in the show before the band sang “I Love It Loud.” KISS also unveiled some new songs, like “Hell or Hallelujah.”
In a bit of a surprise, the band chose not leave the stage before their three-song finale. They kept the show rolling with the closing set of “Detroit Rock City,” “I Was Made For Lovin’ You,” and the big hit, “Rock and Roll All Nite,” which had all the spectacle concert-goers expected, with even more fireworks, flames, and a confetti cannon. On a cool and windy night, the tiny pieces of confetti reached fans all the way up the hill, standing far from the stage.
KISS previously played at Rock Fest in 2007. While Rock Fest officials never release daily attendance totals, this was one of the larger crowds in recent years. The temperatures were cool throughout the evening, and rain held off until after the show wrapped up.
Megadeth shows off guitar skills
The cameras zoomed in on Megadeth lead singer Dave Mustaine’s fingers as he skillfully played the guitar throughout the band’s 70-minute set. Mustaine doesn’t sing that much – he would rather let his guitar licks take center stage.
In a nice touch, the band played short clips from movies and TV shows where Megadeth was mentioned, such as in last year’s “Silver Linings Playbook.” It hammered home a point that the band is relevant and part of mainstream culture.
However, Mustaine grumbled about the crowd being a bit too mellow for his tastes.
“They were way louder than you last night,” Mustaine muttered. He then paused a second before adding, “I can’t help being a smart-ass. I’m wired that way.”
Before the show-closing song, “Holy Wars,” Mustaine also expressed frustration about current affairs.
“How do you feel about being spied on by your government,” Mustaine asked, leading to a wave of boos.
Slash & Myles Kennedy exceed expectations
The big question on everyone’s minds was answered almost immediately. That question was, “will Slash play any Guns N’ Roses songs?” The answer was an emphatic yes when the band (there were five musicians on stage) hit the familiar notes to the G N R classic “Night Train.”
Over the 70-minute, 15-song set, Slash & company did five Guns N’ Roses songs, from “Mr. Brownstone” to “Welcome To The Jungle” to “Sweet Child of Mine.” They spread out the G N R songs throughout the set. Of course, they closed out the set with their version of “Paradise City.”
The cameras, of course, focused on Slash, slamming away on the guitar with his tanned, muscular arms. While Slash was the star, Kennedy’s voice was stellar. The Alter Bridge lead singer didn’t do his own band’s material, but he did an excellent job covering the Axl Rose material.
Iowa rockers Stone Sour were supposed to play in this slot of the festival, but they canceled a few months ago and Rock Fest organizers landed Slash & Myles Kennedy as a replacement. Based on the roars of approval and positive comments I heard afterward, this backup choice more than filled the hole left by Stone Sour’s cancellation.