Artist: Paul Stanley
Venue: Irving Plaza (New York, NY)
Label: New Door/Universal Music
Tonight was a night that KISS fans have been waiting for since 1989, as it has been that long since Paul Stanley had performed on a solo tour. He would choose Irving Plaza in New York City which guaranteed a level of intimacy to the attending and long sold-out crowd. Paul would be showcasing his first solo album in two decades “Live To Win” and choose as his band the members of the House Band for the hit television series “Rockstar: INXS & Supernova”. The opener for the set would be Slunt and together all of this combined would surely be a night to remember. Here is what an excited venue full of KISS fans got to experience.
I remembered catching Slunt as the opener for Motorhead sometime last year and at the time I felt that it was a badly matched pairing. The band had talent and a look – but to me could not generate the level of excitement needed for a Hard Rock Metal group like Motorhead. Yet tonight I would find myself feeling different, as the band led by Abby Gennet, a Rock & Roll siren if there ever was one, would truly impress me with their brand of high-energy Rock & Roll. The band features Pat Harrington (guitar), Chris Ruggiero (drums) and Jhen Kobran (bass) and all of them work perfectly with the kind of music Paul would be delivering tonight. They rock when it comes down to it, and they all look like they are having a great time onstage which is always what one should display during lively music. Their performance would focus on music from their debut “Get A Load Of This” and a sneak peek at some stuff on the forthcoming effort “One Night Stand”. Some people might remember Gennet from before, as she was a former MTV2 VJ. She simply decided that talking about Rock & Roll was not as fun as doing it. The group showed a great amount of personality onstage and we would find them after their set mingling with the audience at the merchandise booth and posing for pictures. This was a good mix of music and they are set to do most of the dates on Paul’s tour – it should help with sales of their new record I am certain.
There are few shows that I have been this excited about when it comes right down to it, as while I love the feel and energy at a concert for almost any band, when it comes to something involving KISS-related stuff I risk an energy overload. Paul’s album is a good release and only arrived on the shelves a few days before the tour would begin so I wondered how his new stuff would go over, and on top of this I wondered what KISS music and old solo stuff would be delivered. When he arrived onstage he was like a king returning home to his followers. The screams and applause were thunderous from the audience and of course, I found myself screaming from the photo pit as well, but who could expect any less for this man who walked the very streets of this City for years as a member of KISS and began a legacy of Hard Rock music that has yet to be matched. Paul was all smiles as he soaked up the fan excitement and the “House Band” seemed to be the same way. I glanced at the posted set list on stage and knew we were all going to have a good time. Paul spoke and mentioned that he was going to be doing some of his favorite songs both by KISS and his solo stuff and we would even hear stuff that KISS themselves had never performed live. He would open with the title of his new release and if you had the album already you would be glad to know that while a good-recorded tune, it was a great live tune. I’m always happy to find music on a recording coming across better in the live sense as it makes the tune as a whole that much more intense. “A Million To One” from Lick It Up would be the first never before played KISS tune and it went over like gangbusters. Paul holding on very well to the high notes as always during the singing but seeming a tad hoarse during the moments he was speaking. Perhaps the dismal day outside was having some effect on him but it surely did not affect his performance. “Move On” would be the first number from his excellent 1978 solo album, and it just brought everyone back to how good a recording that was. That recording and a lot more KISS were the premise of Paul’s first solo tour adventure and one can only hope that recordings and video of this turn up on official releases somewhere in the future.
A true great performer always has a kick ass band with him, and for this tour Paul’s decision to use the “House Band” from the television show “Rock Star” was a work of genius. To anyone who has seen the show you will agree that for much of it they were the best part of the whole thing. Comprised of Paul Mirkovich (keys), Jim McGorman (guitar), Rafael Moreira (guitar), Nate Morton (drums), & Sasha Krivstov (bass), Paul guaranteed himself a group that was able to play anything that was thrown at them be it new solo music or old and apparently any era of KISS. I hope we don’t have to wait for another season of the show to see this talented bunch of guys again. At many points during the show the audience was singing word for word, and this was especially the case for “Tonight You Belong To Me”, his ’78 CD opener and one of my favorite tracks on the release next to “Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me”, which would fortunately follow this track after KISS staple “Lick It Up”. I should have expected a rumor mill being a KISS member’s show, and they were on high as I heard people saying how Ace was in the room, or Peter was there and so on. I didn’t see either of them, not that I was really looking very intently but neither made a stage appearance and later I would read online that Ace was supposed to attend as a guest but did not make it to the show. He would perform eleven KISS tunes tonight and of course while he hit the mark on some oldies there were some in the audience who could have done without the ever present “Lick It Up” and “Love Gun” for him to place something else in there. I’m sure half the reasoning behind it is the guaranteed audience participation factor. From his solo effort I would have changed a couple of things around sacrificing “Lift” or “Everytime I See You Around” for “All About You” or “It’s Not Me” since those have a better vibe to them that would have killed onstage. The only downside of the whole night would be a brief interaction with some drunk in the audience who aimed at heckling Paul. Without batting an eye he shut the individual down and it was back to business. They should know better than to try something on someone in the business for so long and why attempt to ruin everyone else’s time anyway. There would be a few encores, one solo and one KISS until finally Paul would talk to us one more time before he left. He closed out with “Goodbye”, his 1978 solo’s closer and said that he wrote this last for that particular album and wanted to have it end with the knowledge that he is coming back.
Paul Stanley is having much of this tour filmed for release on a DVD in the near future and a return to other venues is also in the works once this first batch of dates has run their course. If you are a KISS fan or just can use an evening full of rock solid music then do not miss him the next time around.
Full Paul Stanley Gallery: HERE
1. Live To Win
2. Hide Your Heart
3. A Million To One
4. Got To Choose
5. Move On
7. Tonight You Belong To Me
8. Lick It Up
9. Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me?
10. Magic Touch
11. I Still Love You
13. Every Time I See You Around
14. Do You Love Me
15. I Want You
16. Love Gun
17. Lift – encore
18. Detroit Rock City – encore
19. Goodbye – encore
Official Web site: www.paulstanley.com