HEY KISS — WE’RE IN SUNRISE, NOT FORT LAUDERDALE
Date: August 6, 2019
Venue: BB&T Center
Location: Sunrise, Florida, USA
For the last six years, my family and I usually make our way to south western Florida for a two-week holiday during the summer. This time, we were in Cape Coral, which is in between Sarasota and Naples, and right next to Fort Myers. Each time, I check to see whether there are any concerts “nearby” and almost every year I have drawn blanks in that regard. Six years ago, my family and I were vacationing in South Carolina and 21st Century Goliath were playing about an hour away somewhere. However, we had just completed a 14 hour drive to get there and I was pretty tired so didn’t attend that show. I regret that one since 21st Century Goliath disbanded less than two years later. Two years ago, I was considering to go see Kickin Valentina play somewhere in the Tampa area but a three hour drive each way and a late start for Kickin Valentina resulted in me not attending that concert. Luckily, I have gotten to see Kickin Valentina play a couple of times (at Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3 in Maryland in May 2018 and Rocklanta in Georgia in March 2019) since then.
I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw that KISS were playing in Sunrise, Florida on August 6th. The band that I proclaimed to be my “favourite” one growing up and as a young adult was playing just around the corner. Well, two hours away but that was close enough. Back in March of this year, I had seen KISS perform in Toronto, Ontario, Canada during the first leg of their End of the Road World Tour and I was thinking at that time that this could potentially be the last time that I would see them play live. I knew that KISS would be returning to Toronto on August 17th but wasn’t sure whether I would be able to attend that concert, and I am still not sure at this point! Accordingly, seeing KISS play in Sunrise, Florida was a huge bonus and would simply make this Florida vacation that more memorable. For the last five years, our family has traveled with another family and good friend Pierre expressed an interest in joining me on my KISS excursion. Now I would not consider Pierre a “heavy metal” fan by any stretch but he proved himself quite knowledgeable about KISS‘ history and classic rock in general. It made me think to how anyone from my “era” — even if they didn’t listen to Ratt, Mötley Crüe or even Accept back in the day — are aware of those bands given that back in the ’80s, those bands were household names just like all the pop rock artists that grace the Top 40 these days.
I knew that Sunrise was pretty close to Miami and having visited the latter city a few days prior, I estimated that it would take us about three hours to get to the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida based on the GPS system in my Toyota Sienna (which is often wrong). Accordingly, Pierre and I left at around 4:15 pm knowing that the doors opened at 6:30 pm and the concert would start at 7:30 pm. As we made our way along the lovely I-75S, we switched to the Waze app for our navigation and suddenly we were going to be arriving to the BB&T Center by 6:45 pm. That was great news which quickly turned when we became stuck in a huge amount of traffic due to an accident closing both lanes of the southbound I-75 lanes. All of a sudden, the Waze app was providing estimate of an 11:42 pm arrival before eventually advising that we would be arriving just before 9:00 pm.
Given that we were not moving at all on the highway, this is when I decided to find out once and for all if performance painter David Garibaldi was opening for KISS on this leg of their North American tour. It’s not that I wanted to see Garibaldi perform but rather that I wanted to make sure that there was a scheduled opening act so Pierre and I could buy some time to get to the venue. I had previously tried to find out if there was an opening act via the internet and Facebook postings about the Sunrise show but had been unsuccessful up to that point. I couldn’t remember Garibaldi‘s actual name but did recall that I had posted an article on Sleaze Roxx about Garibaldi opening for KISS. A quick search on the Sleaze Roxx website using the word “kiss” and I found the article and identified the painter’s full name. From there, I looked at Garibaldi‘s Facebook page, and lo and behold, he was indeed opening for KISS once again. That was great news as even if we made it to the venue just before 9:00 pm, we wouldn’t be missing KISS‘ set. Eventually, Pierre and I both got out of my vehicle stranded on the I-75S highway with everybody else. Due to my wearing a KISS t-shirt, I was approached by another KISS concert goer who inquired when the concert was supposed to start. Just as we were starting to chat, the vehicles ahead started to move signalling that the accident in question up ahead was likely cleared up which was great news! We eventually arrived at the rather imposing BB&T Center, home to the Florida Panthers (NHL hockey team), at around 7:15 pm and quickly purchased the cheapest tickets that we could. That turned out to be $44.50 US per ticket, which is probably the cheapest ticket to a KISS concert that I ever purchased since the ’90s (and excellent value for what we would receive in terms of entertainment).
Although I was happy on this night to find out that Garibaldi was indeed the opening act, it was only because I wanted to have more time to get to the BB&T Center. I would have been happy with any opening act to extend our time to get to the venue and not miss a minute of KISS‘ set. In terms of Garibaldi himself, I was not looking forward to seeing him but curious to take in his appearance (if that makes sense). I was disappointed with KISS not having taken a younger band with them on this tour. After all, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons had spoken in an interview with SiriusXM‘s Ozzy’s Boneyard late last year about some of the great opening acts that they had had over the years which included AC/DC, Rush, Bob Seger, Judas Priest and John Cougar Mellencamp, yet here they were bringing a performance painter to open their last tour! I get that Paul Stanley loves to paint and is probably thrilled to have Garibaldi on board to talk shop during KISS‘ North American tour but it’s really disappointing for a rock fan like me who isn’t into painting.
Nevertheless, I elected to watch Garibaldi‘s performance with an open mind. He certainly had some impressive credentials given that it was announced that he had previously performed for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the White House and ESPN. Garibaldi had a lot of energy and was definitely the most “active” painter that I had ever seen. Then again, I can’t say that I have seen many painters “perform” before. Really, I can’t think of one painter that I have ever seen “perform” aside from someone for a few minutes at a county fair or something like that. It was obvious that Garibaldi was painting some sort of face and it was not a surprise to see Garibaldi‘s first painting ending up being a head shot of Bruce Springsteen since the audience was hearing three of The Boss‘ songs during that timespan including “Born To Run” and “Born In The U.S.A.”. Next up were a couple of Aerosmith tunes (“Cryin'” and “Dream On”) blaring through the PA system so Pierre and I were expecting a photo of either Steven Tyler or Joe Perry. Pierre noted that the painting in question did not look like any one of the Aerosmith guys until Garibaldi flipped his painting canvass upside down and all of a sudden, Steven Tyler‘s face was readily apparent. No need to say that this was an impressive feat.
Garibaldi‘s last painting was not surprisingly the four KISS faces in their trademark make-up. It was announced that this painting would be signed by all four KISS members and all proceeds would go to the Make A Wish Foundation. I note that Garibaldi mentioned on Facebook before embarking on the second North American leg of KISS‘ End of the Road World Tour that he had raised over $300,000 for charity opening for KISS thus far. While that is commendable and fantastic for the various charities, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that Garibaldi was a disappointing and shitty opening act for KISS to offer to their fans. While Mötley Crüe‘s final world tour was a disappointing spectacle (I only went to the opening night of the tour in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA), at least they brought a worthy opening act in Alice Cooper. Of course, Alice blew away Mötley Crüe on that first night so perhaps KISS were not up to the challenge of having an opening act give them a run for their money? Who knows? Whatever the case, Garibaldi was fun enough to watch perform but was definitely a disappointing opening act considering who KISS could have brought with them. I would have loved for KISS to do what Bon Jovi has done for many years giving a sometimes once in a lifetime chance for a local band to open for them on a big stage (see Sleaze Roxx‘s article of Toronto based A Thousand Cures opening for Bon Jovi back in 2006).
You have to keep in mind that I had already seen KISS during their End of the Road World Tour when they played in Toronto back in March 2019. Accordingly, I pretty much knew what to expect in terms of the performance, setlist and stage show. I was actually hoping that KISS would change up their setlist by at least a few songs but that did not turn out to be the case. Nevertheless, I was still excited to see one of my favorite bands ever growing up play live one more time. KISS‘ stage set for their End of the Road World Tour is truly spectacular as they have just about pulled out all the stops with Paul, Gene and Tommy [Thayer] descending from the rafters on large “saucers” during the opening track “Detroit Rock City”, to tons of pyros and “fire” behind them (drummer Eric Singer must be roasting back there), to Gene and Tommy going way over the audience on mechanical arms during the last encore of “Rock And Roll All Nite.” Even if you’re not into KISS‘ music, there is no doubt that you’ll be entertained. I, of course, was into KISS‘ music knowing most of the words to each song they played on this night so I was loving every minute of it, and even if Pierre and I were way up in one of the many 300 level sections. Attendance was very good although I could see a block of red empty seats across from me in a few of the 300 level sections that KISS apparently did not sell tickets for so you can’t really say that the BB&T Center was sold out on this night.
Although there was only one change to KISS‘ setlist from when I saw them in March 2019 with the second encore of “Do You Love Me” getting switched to “Crazy Crazy Nights”. I was still happy overall with the setlist. Sure, there are going to be some people complaining that nothing was played from the band’s return to form album Revenge (1992) or any of the solo albums from 1978 or whatever other album, but the reality is that it’s tough to satisfy everyone when you have released 24 studio albums worth of material not counting some of the extra tracks on various other releases. I, for one, would have liked KISS to play a few more songs that could be found on Alive II such as “Makin’ Love” (from 1976’s Rock And Roll Over) or “I Stole Your Love” (from 1977’s Love Gun), or more from the non make-up years such as “Tears Are Falling” (from 1985’s Asylum) or “Hide Your Heart” (from 1989’s Hot In The Shade) but what are you going to do?
Overall, KISS ended up playing four songs from their self-titled debut album (1974), one from Hotter Than Hell (1974), one from Dressed To Kill (1975), four from Destroyer (1976), one from Rock And Roll Over (1976), one from Love Gun (1977), one from Dynasty (1979), two from Creatures Of The Night (1982), one from Lick It Up (1983), one from Animalize (1984), one from Crazy Nights (1987), one from Psycho Circus (1998) and one from Sonic Boom (2009). As far as Paul Stanley‘s singing, whether he now uses vocal tracks or not, I didn’t really care. He’s at the end of a very long music career and if his voice is now shot and he needs to use vocal tracks and lip sing, so be it.
KISS performing “Detroit Rock City” and “Shout It Out Loud” at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, USA on August 6, 2019:
Watching the curtain drop never gets old, no matter how many times you see them.
One thing that was quite disappointing and kind of killed any of the crowd cheering every time was when Paul Stanley repeatedly addressed the crowd as “Fort Lauderdale” rather than the actual city that the venue was in which was “Sunrise.” Not only did Paul Stanley commit this faux pas over and over again, but Gene Simmons and Eric Singer also did it as well. You would have thought that someone would tell Stanley about it during one of the breaks when he went off stage but no, Stanley kept doing it again and again referring to the crowd as “Fort Lauderdale” and getting crickets in return. I would expect a veteran performer like Paul Stanley not to make such a mistake but I guess it happens. The funniest part was at the end of the evening when the show was over and the song “God Gave Rock And Roll To You II” was blaring from the PA system as the banner indicated “Thank you Sunrise.”
A little bit of fact checking via Wikipedia revealed that “Sunrise is a city in central-western Broward County, Florida, United States, in the Miami metropolitan area. It was incorporated in 1961 by Norman Johnson – a developer whose Upside-Down House attracted buyers to what was then a remote area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 84,439.” On the other hand, Wikipedia states the following about Fort Lauderdale: “Fort Lauderdale is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, 28 miles (45 km) north of Miami. It is the county seat of Broward County. As of the 2018 census, the city has an estimated population of 182,595.” I get what likely happened. Stanley and company flew to Florida (likely from California) and likely landed in Fort Lauderdale. I also note that there is only 10.8 miles between Fort Lauderdale and Sunrise according to Google. Nevertheless, this is something that Stanley and company should have picked up on. After all, if KISS landed at the Toronto International Pearson Airport located in Mississauga and played a concert in the nearby town of Oakville (which is part of the Greater Toronto Area), I would expect KISS to address the place that they are playing as “Oakville” rather than “Mississauga” or “Toronto.”
Overall and despite the band members’ confusion with which city that they were playing in, KISS put on a great show and I was very pleased that they played “Crazy Crazy Nights” rather than “Do You Love Me” for their second encore. My favorite songs of the night were “War Machine”, “Love Gun”, surprisingly “I Was Made For Loving You” (the latter two songs had Stanley “flying” over the audience to perform on a small circular stage) and “Crazy Crazy Nights.” Probably the best part about is that I will hopefully get to re-experience the entire KISS show extravaganza one more time when the band plays Toronto for the second time on their End of the Road World Tour in eight days.
KISS’ setlist on Aug. 6, 2019:
01. Detroit Rock City
02. Shout It Out Loud
04. Say Yeah
05. I Love It Loud
06. Heaven’s On Fire
07. War Machine
08. Lick It Up
09. Calling Dr. Love
10. 100,000 Years / Drum solo
11. Cold Gin
12. Guitar solo
13. God Of Thunder
14. Psycho Circus
15. Let Me Go Rock ‘N’ Roll
16. Love Gun
17. I Was Made For Lovin’ You
18. Black Diamond
20. Crazy Crazy Nights
21. Rock And Roll All Nite
KISS performing “100,000 Years” (with drum solo) at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, USA on August 6, 2019:
KISS – End Of The Road Tour at BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL.
KISS performing “God of Thunder” at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, USA on August 6, 2019:
Complete video starting with Gene spitting blood.