Last Night: KISS At RodeoHouston

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Photos by Groovehouse
Reliant Stadium
March 15, 2011

We'll drive you wild with our photos from last night's show.

In Tom Snyder's 1979 interview with the original members of KISS, only two of which remain, he asked bassist Gene Simmons, "What would happen if you went out on stage for a concert and you didn't set off the fireworks, didn't break the guitar, and didn't have the smoke, fire, and blood?"

Simmons responded astutely, "It would still be a rip-roaring rock and roll show because...we don't stand still when we play our instruments. We run around and pretty much raise hell."

Over 30 years later, Aftermath wanted to test that theory, since we were aware of some of the stage restrictions at Reliant Stadium. There was no blood and not as much fire as we expected, but there were plenty of pyrotechnics for the group to put on a decadently distinctive KISS show, playing 12 songs in their entirety in just an hour.

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We were hot with expectancy before the lights even went off. We delightedly watched those little mutton-busters get scared out of their minds as a rodeo clown with full KISS makeup hoisted them up after the inevitable sheep trampling.

Imagine being five years old, strapped to a running sheep in front of 70,000 people, and then busting your ass just to be saved by an old man dressed like Gene Simmons. That's traumatizing stuff, man.

When the lights went out and the initial fireworks were over, we watched a video of the members "getting ready" and "approaching the stage." The band rode out to the stage on golf carts and the customary introduction boomed through the stadium: "You wanted the best, you got the best: the hottest band in the world, KISS!!"

Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Singer, and Tommy Thayer then opened with "Modern Day Delilah" from their 2009 release, Sonic Boom and then went back to 1976's Destroyer with "Shout It Out Loud." Commence the Simmons guitar-licking and tongue exhibit, Stanley pick-spitting, and drawn-out Thayer solos.

Stanley warmed the Houstonians up quickly, mentioning our long history together. "We go back a long way," he said. "You people are some of the finest people we've ever played for... we would not miss being here."

Location Info


NRG Stadium

1 NRG Park, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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As a KISS purist, I will say this until I am breathing my last breath. THAT IS NOT KISS!

That is a bastardized tribute band that happens to have Gene and Paul as members.


As a parent of a 9 year old boy, I wasn't dressed up, nor did I paint my face because I wasn't a KISS fan. Our son proudly had his face painted and his Gene Simmons wig on. If they come back next year, we will be there and now after experiencing a KISS concert with our son, I'm a fan and I might just paint my face next year!


Loved how they took Lick It Up into The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again. I never have been a fan of Beth, but my 15 year-old daughter was having a blast singing along (and this is the same girl I took to see Hannah Montana/Cheetah Girls a few years ago at the HLSR). I didn't expect a pristine sound mix, but I had lots of fun singing along to I Love It Loud, Deuce, and Firehouse. The only thing that would have made the night complete is for Ace Frehley to come out and play Shock Me...

Michael Belmares
Michael Belmares

Club seating provided a decent view and decent sound. Could've been a bit on the treble side that was a bit low. My first time in reliant stadium...yeah, I'm probably not going back.

Jarod Frank
Jarod Frank

To be fair, I don't think a dollar was given for every rodeo ticket. He said it was on their tour, and, misleading as it my sound, I don't think these one-off shows they're doing this month count as part of their tour. I think it was something they had set up with Live Nation. At the Woodlands they presented a "check" with the amount of how much they had accumulated so far to representatives of the Wounded Warriors. Still nice they acknowleged the servicemen, but I don't think they got $72,000 from last night.

As far as the sound mix goes, I'd venture to guess that the rodeo might have stipulations on sound levels, so KISS might have been a little handcuffed in that area as they were with time constraints, confetti, flying, and blood spitting. I thought they did a great job given the circumstances, and it was one of the most unique shows I've seen in the 37 times I've been lucky enough to catch them!


No mention at all of the mix quality, huh? Paul was way too loud and the bass & drums were barely-audible mud below everything else. Paul perpetually popped "P"s on his mic, and about the only time we could hear Tommy was when the lyrics left room for one of his solos.

I hope they get someone on the board who's mixed a rock show for next year's concerts.


Seems to me that the sound mix is something that can make or break a show for some people; for others (including me) it's a lot more incidental and has to be really horrible for me to say something about it. As in BAD.

From what I've seen at the Rodeo this year, Reliant is still a cave, but it's sounding a whole lot better. Not sitting in the piped-in press box probably has something to do with that.


It really did detract for me, partly because it was so unexpected. I've seen shows there where the mix is spot-on. I expect Paul to shift the vocals a bit to avoid high notes some nights; I expect lyrics to be mildly fudged now and then. I don't expect to go to a concert with an act as big as KISS - KISS, ffs - and hear audio mud.

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