KISS & SHINEDOWN Live at the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge [REVIEW - ★★★]

Even before going into a live KISS show I had to admit I've never been a huge fan of the rock icons. Their songs always felt a little bland and maybe a little too commercial even if the film Detroit Rock City suggested otherwise. I do enjoy a few of their hits but have never understood the extreme fandom. So when they hit the stage at the ENMAX Centre last night, I may not have been screaming at the top of my lungs like some of the other 45-year-old maniacs clad in Affliction or aged KISS concert T', but I enjoyed myself. I was mainly there to sink in as much of opening band Shinedown as possible because being a big fan of theirs; I knew their setlist would be an abbreviated one. When they hit the stage, lead singer Brent Smith asked the audience how many people were seeing Shinedown for the first time and it looked like damn near everyone put their hands up.

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That was my first time seeing Shinedown live too but I've been a fan for years since their debut album blew up. I might have been the only person in my section singing along to '45' but I didn't care and I was happy to see the crowd at least into the guys because they performed their asses off. Singer Brent Smith is one of the best rock voices on the planet and hearing him front an acoustic cover of 'Simple Man' will go down as one of the best concert experiences I've ever had. Ever. 'Diamond Eyes', 'I'll Follow You', 'Sound of Madness' and 'Second Chance' were all massive hits with the audience. Shinedown succeeded in pleasing what had to be at least a thousand people in the crowd who'd never heard their music before – if not more. They stole the show in my opinion and they did it without pyro, fire or any sort of gimmicks.

I also have to note that I've never in my life seen that much concert merch at a venue before. There were KISS merch tents outside the damn building and I think I saw people trying to hock shirts in the crowd during Shinedown's performance too. The KISS marketing machine is a monster indeed. I poke fun at Gene Simmons' penchant for squeezing every cent out of the KISS Army but I can no longer deny his live presence. The Demon was a force up on that stage.

Watching Simmons strut around in that ridiculous get-up, make googly eyes at the audience, breathe fire, fly above the crowd and do his signature blood spit – was all pretty awesome I have to admit. KISS is a spectacle and much like their intro will say, "You wanted the best, you got the best" – they truly do pride themselves on being the most enigmatic rock performers on the planet. Paul Stanley still sounds solid and I did chuckle when he gave the soundguy s*** for a small glitch early in the show telling him to cut the feedback on the mic. Now there's that rock star attitude – that maniac. The band played for what seemed like days but I never got bored, which is a testament to their ability because I'm not a big fan and yet, I was entertained. They played my two favorite KISS songs: 'I Love it Loud' and 'War Machine' so I can't complain about that. As much as I couldn't care less about 'Rock and Roll All Nite', they played that sucker too and when they did, there was so much white confetti in that venue that you couldn't see anything. I've never seen that much confetti in my life. It would not stop.

I hate to compare KISS' performance to another band's, but I have to point out that when Motley Crue came to Lethbridge I went into their show a casual listener but came out a fan. I went into KISS a casual listener and I think I'll stay that way. Nothing against their live show because it was incredible, it was over the top and it was the flashiest concert I've ever attended. A true rock spectacle in every sense of the word but the music still doesn't resonate with me as much as it did when Shinedown rocked my ass off earlier in the evening and made me shed rock tears of joy during 'Simple Man'.


Shinedown Setlist

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1. Enemies
2. Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
3. I'll Follow You
4. 45
5. Sound of Madness
6. Second Chance
7. Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
8. Bully

Kiss Setlist

1. Psycho Circus
2. Shout It Out Loud
3. Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll
4. I Love It Loud
5. Hell or Hallelujah
6. War Machine
7. Heaven's on Fire
8. Say Yeah
9. Deuce
10. Shock Me / Outta This World
11. Guitar & Drum Solo
12. God of Thunder
13. Lick It Up
14. Love Gun
15. Rock and Roll All Nite

Encore:
16. Detroit Rock City
17. I Was Made for Lovin' You
18. Black Diamond

Shinedown

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