Monday, December 7, 2009 at 8 a.m.
The official Web site for the band Kiss has re-printed my review of the band's show Tuesday night at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. That's not a big deal; bands do it all the time. What is a little shady, however, is the way they edited it.
Turns out they removed anything remotely negative about Tuesday's concert on their "Kiss Alive 35" U.S. tour. Then, to add insult to injury, they posted my review with others under the hilariously labeled link "Even the Critics Love Today's Kiss." For the record, I did not love that show.
How did this happen? I'm not sure, exactly. They credited me, photographer Luke Holwerda, and New Times
, but they did it without asking (and we signed nothing agreeing that the review would be used on their site) and they lamely didn't link back to our music blog, where someone might have discovered my true feelings on the show.
So, again, I generally liked the concert. But it was my third time seeing Kiss since their reformation in makeup in 1996, so I discovered few surprises and I was underwhelmed by the two new songs inserted into the tried-and-true setlist of mostly '70s-era classics. I probably wouldn't have paid money to see Kiss this time around, but given the opportunity to review them for work, I jumped at the chance.
Much of the review was positive: The band (especially with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer replacing Peter Criss and Ace Frehley on drums and lead guitar, respectively) was tight and energetic, Gene Simmons' voice was as strong as its ever sounded, the stage show was no less an unabashed spectacle than it was in the band's late-'70s heyday, and the setlist gave the people what they wanted: "Strutter," "Detroit Rock City," "Shout It Out Loud," "Deuce," "Cold Gin," "Rock and Roll All Nite," and on and on.
My biggest complaints: Paul Stanley's ever-increasing cheesiness; his ever-lengthening stage banter; the band's exhorting its fans to go to the godless retailer Walmart to buy its "new" record, which mostly is a bunch of re-recorded Kiss classics along with a couple of workmanlike new compositions; and the band's celebration of all the children in the audience. For the record, I believe that rock 'n' roll is not, never has been, and never should be about kids. Disney and Christmas are for children; rock concerts are not.
Anyway, you'd never know I had anything critical to say about the Kiss show based on what appeared on Kissonline.com on Wednesday. It seems Kiss is incredibly protective of its image and its product. If you've ever seen the TV reality show Gene Simmons' Family Jewels, you know that you never get much "real" from Simmons. Unlike the similarly themed The Osbournes, in which the viewer sensed that was captured by cameras was quite possibly a realistic glimpse into the lives and household of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Family Jewels seems practically scripted. It's more sitcom than reality show, with a constantly mugging Gene portraying the harangued father figure.
And if you've ever seen interviews with Gene and Paul, you know they've always loved to portray themselves as being victimized by intellectual music critics and other high-culture folks who just don't "get it."
Granted, Kiss is not in the business of touting its own bad publicity or negative reviews -- streaks in their makeup, so to speak. Still, if I were still an ardent Kiss fan (I love the old stuff but generally have ignored anything produced after the classic lineup dissolved), I'd be offended that Kiss considers me not mature enough to accept the criticism of my heroes along with the praise for them.