Photo Essay and Review: The Rebel Reviewer Checks Out KISS!

Gene coverOut of the 6 or 7 times I’ve seen Kiss, I thoroughly enjoyed this show the most by far. Sure they had all the fire, blood, bombs and other pyro, but the show just seemed a whole lot simpler for some reason. Maybe it was the pint sized stage that barely held their equipment, logo and video screens. Or maybe it’s cuz there’s only 2 guys in the band that they can really spotlight and show off anymore as the others are really just hired guns doing what they’re told to do.

Yes I know the fine people at Bayfest went out and spent a gazillion dollars on a new stage, the biggest one they’ve had yet, and a fine stage it is, but for Kiss, it’s a pretty small stage! That being said, the small stage is where ya wanna see the larger than life Kiss members anyway. Every time I saw Kiss, it was from a fair distance from the stage. Never had I had the chance to push my way up to 3rd row to take in my favourite childhood band and enjoy them so close up.

This night, Kiss pulled something out of the bag that I’d never seen them do before and I was SO happy to have been there to witness them play the Kiss Alive album from front to back, song for song.. everything except Firehouse. GASP… Everything except FIREHOUSE says any real Kiss fan that’s seen them since the beginning of time… How could they possibly play a set without the show stopper, the big daddy, the fire breathing tune? I’ll tell ya how. Hotter Than Hell. Gene switched things up and totally took me off guard by pulling out the flaming torch at the end of Hotter Than Hell, hence the blurry and unprepared fire breathing shot I feebly executed.

Another thing I’d never seen or heard Kiss do Live was play my favourite tune they ever laid down and that’s “SHE.” Ever since WAY back, that’s been my favourite tune especially from the Alive! album. For the day it was just so heavy and I’ve always had a penchant for my crunchy guitars. The good ole Les Paul pumped through a Marshall stack.. nothing beats it. THAT is rock n roll. Tommy Thayer laid down a wicked guitar solo closely resembling Ace’s own from the Alive! album during “She.” I just can’t say enough how awesome it was to have seen Kiss play 90% oldies for a show. And when I’m talking oldies I mean the first 3 studio albums only. I’ve never heard Kiss with makeup and Eric Singer on the drums. I know he’s ten times the drummer Peter Criss ever wished he was and he proved it during the infamous 100,000 Years drum solo. Way more intricate than Peter’s solos ever were. Plus Eric is straight. Or at least not messed right up. Peter could barely get to the stage some nights having to hold on to Gene just to stay on his feet.

Of all the shows I’ve seen at Bayfest, this one took the cake and ate it too. I’d have to say a close second was the Foo Fighters show back in 2003 and the Stone Temple Pilots show the night after the Kiss show, but I’ve seen a lotta bands sail through Bayfest. ZZ Top, Tragically Hip, Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Finger Eleven and Collective Soul to name a few, but none kicked the ass as thoroughly as Kiss did that night. They fuckin commanded that place like a 5 star general off to war.

Adding to the evening was the opening acts. I’d missed Frankie Whyte and the Dead Idols, but I caught most of Bobnoxious’ set. I still say Bobnoxious should have been given 4th slot behind Kiss instead of Gene’s little pet band Dean Lickyer. As rockin as they were, they just didn’t have anything original to keep me interested for more than a couple songs. The beautiful lesbian couple making out next to me were MUCH more entertaining so I spent Dean Lickyer’s set trying to talk them into a Mikey sandwich. I asked them what the male equivalent of a Fag Hag is and I stumped them. I thought for sure there’s gotta be a term for a guy who hangs out with lesbians but I had to coin one on the spot… and I did… I held out my hand and introduced myself as a Dyke Mike! Thank God they thought it was funny, but not funny enough to build the Mikey sandwich.

So Paul Stanley announced at one point that they are working on a new album that’s gonna blow us away. Well I heard them say that about Psycho Circus and quite frankly that album blew large chunks. So here’s to keeping the hope alive that Kiss has that one last amazing album in them. Something like the surprise that Revenge was. If it’s not at least as good as Revenge, keep it in the vaults for someone else to deal with.

Mike Forbes
Libra Photography
Rebel Reviewer Dot Com


  1. who made this website?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and took the photos? we are doing this for a school project so pleas reply

  2. Dear Mike Forbes

    we are looking at photo essays and we were wondering if you could answere some questions for us

    1.) what got you stareted ?

    2.) how do you choose the best picture ?

    3.) why did you decide to become a photographer ?

    4.) did you already want to photograph KISS before you made this?

  3. 1 & 4. Actually it was KISS that inspired me to wanna shoot bands and get into photography. I used to look at the magazines all the time when I was a kid thinking I’d LOVE to shoot those kinds of pics.

    2. I usually shoot hundreds of photos and the best ones manage to just jump right out and grab your attention immediately.

    3. I’m addicted to the feeling I get when I capture the essence of a person or a band. When I put a smile on someone’s face because of a photo I took, that’s the thing that keeps me doing what I do. The perks are nice too. I get invited to a lot of events like parties and gigs because they know I love to party, I love to shoot pics and everyone’s gonna get a taste of them.

Comments are closed.