I have been to dozens of concerts in my life. But I don’t know that I’ve seen a more satisfying production by consummate showmen than Kiss last night in Edmonton. You can tell they’ve been at it for 50 years. The old-school pyrotechnics were great, the catalogue of songs unparalleled, and not many septuagenarians can rock the spandex and sparkly platform shoes!
But what most impacted me was the engagement with the audience. As my perennial concert wingman Bob Stenhouse knows, I always listen for the way the artist engages with the crowd and acknowledges the place they are in. And Paul Stanley in particular was masterful at cultivating a sense of warmth and intimacy with the fans.
Here’s a fascinating example. Before the show, I was talking with my neighbor and he told me his brother saw Kiss play Lister Hall (a dining hall) at the University of Alberta in Edmonton right when they became popular. That would’ve been around 1974.
Well, last night Stanley reminisced about how the first time they played Edmonton, it was in a cafeteria. Stanley fondly recalled that very concert from almost fifty years before!
To some folk, that might seem to be a small thing. However, for me, that simple memory underscored the power of recognition and gratitude. Kiss have performed thousands of concerts in a storied career. But last night they left me feeling as if Edmonton had bookended their entire career. How can I put this? I felt that twenty thousand fans didn’t simply listen. We were heard. And that’s pretty cool.