Thursday, January 28, 2010
"Can You Please Stop Playing Music And Just Talk Some More?"
As I made my way to my seat at the first, full-make-up Kiss reunion at Madison Square Garden back in 1996, I noticed my friend John just a few seats away. It was the second of a 2 or maybe 3 night stand for the band, and John had been there for night one, with plans on being there for as many nights as the band. I walk over and ask, "So how was last night?" He exploded, "Oh my God, it was fucking great! It was...oh wait...you saw them back in the day, right? '76, '77?" "Yeah," I said," why?" "Oh nevermind. This sucks, then."
That pretty much says it all.
John was a die-hard, a collector, a fanatic. John followed the band all over. John was a close personal friend of Gene, Peter, Paul and Ace. But even John knew, as much as there was to enjoy on the first 6 or so Kiss records, they were easy targets. The easiest, being Paul Stanley.
Kiss puts on a show, with every word uttered, note played, and hipsway scripted and delivered as precisely as a Broadway musical. There are no surprises...ever! No setlist changes, no extended jamming, no special guests. If they go off script, the empire may crumble.
If you've had the Kiss experience, and even if you haven't, you know all about the fire, and the blood, and the explosions, and the make-up. But above and beyond those theatrics is the brilliance of Paul Stanley's on stage banter. Shouted out loud with balls as big as Wyoming and what seems like little preparation--that's the trick, you see, making it sound spontaneous--- Paul's song introductions would more times than not, end up being more entertaining than the song itself. It's cringemaking entertainment at its finest.
Here, listen to a classic. This is the intro of "Cold Gin" from the Kiss Alive record.
Actually, here's another "Cold Gin" intro. (Hard to decide which was more hilarious.)
And how about this tribute to Canada?
Brilliant right? I mean, you want more, don't you?
I have a CD that some very patient person compiled, featuring 50 of these such intros. No songs, just these 30-90 second nightly bursts of genius.
I wish I had some loftier purpose here, but I'm afraid in the end, it's just about making fun of Paul Stanley.
In closing, I'd like to say that I am a Kiss fan, especially the first 6 classic records. But this was too good not to share.