Monday, September 17, 2012

"The Tour" rocks Toronto - Meister's Story


When The Tour 2012:KISS/Crue was first announced I was not overly enthused.  I’ve seen KISS ten times or so and just like no matter how much you love your favourite movie you can only watch it so many times before losing interest in it.  Having already seen the set-list for this KISS tour, I knew that there would be no surprises and was basically just a repeat of anything that I’d seen before!  I did not rush to purchase a ticket.  I had never seen Motley Crue and that alone had me contemplating picking one up.  No need to spend millions here, Gene and Paul already have enough of my cash to make several mortgage payments on my house!  I’m going solo anyways so why not just grab a cheap ($45) lawn ticket and hang out in that more party atmosphere than the reserved seating sections?  Finding that another friend already had lawn seats, the I was warming up to the idea nicely and even more so upon my discovery that my fellow Decibel Geek Wallygator was also attending the show (he had 400 level reserved seats, so basically lawns).  The party was taking shape and my excitement started to build again.  As I said, I have never seen the Crue (how I continually missed them is beyond me, but it happened), so the anticipation of their performance was the deciding factor to get me a ticket.  Good thing that I ordered mine when I did, as the show completely sold out shortly after!  My next surprise was that The Treatment was listed as the opening band.  I wonder if it is the same band whose début CD, entitled This Might Hurt, had just recently found it's way into my purchases, why yes it is! 

Awesome, I love that disc and it spins in my regular listening rotation.  I quickly got to work, talking to my friends and Wally too about The Treatment (which I cited as the must hear album of the year during these talks).  By now Mr Wally had signed me up to the Decibel Geek weekly pod-cast and website as a writer and I was having a great time posting articles on some of my favourite bands.  Somehow the ingenious (he says as he rubs his fingers together, ala Mr. Burns) idea to contact The Treatment for an interview exploded into my head.  After being forwarded to their manager (founding member Dhani Mansworth’s father, Laurie), I sent off a list of questions as an email interview.  Less than a day later, the questions had been returned graciously filled out and answered by lead singer Matt Jones (read my article/interview here: ).  Now I was totally pumped to see this show and hopefully catch up with the guys from The Treatment in person.

After a long day of wandering the streets of Toronto and enjoying beverages on a sunny patio (all this after the Accept concert the previous night, (read about it here: ) I arrived at the gates and met up with Wally and his brother outside.  They were waiting for the third member of their group to arrive and since they had assigned seats there was no rush to enter, I left them outside and headed in to claim my little grassy knoll, hopefully near their assigned seating section of #407.  

Once through the gates I was met by a pleasant (although outrageously expensive) beer vendor, why yes don’t mind if I do!  Now, there are certain things that you would expect to see at a KISS concert, many of the audience members in full make-up for one, but that's a new one on me (see photo on left)!  Ice cold bubba can of generic Molson Canadian  beer (poured into a plastic glass "because of Motley Crue" I was told) in hand, condensation dripping on the ground behind me, I spotted the merchandise booth and bee lined straight there.  Already knowing that I wanted to secure a Treatment T-shirt to sport proudly in support of this young band of brits, my cash was hot in my hand.  In response to my question (asked in my interview with The Treatment) of the best place to get a Treatment CD, Matt had answered that a show was the best place and he was not wrong!!  “Get a free Treatment CD with the purchase of any Treatment shirt" signs were all over their corner of the display area!!  A KISS or Crue shirt sells for $40 and these guys were selling theirs for $40 and throwing in a $15 CD!!  I already have the disc, but I'm sure I can find a good home for the other one….......Wally?  Why is NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY here wearing a Treatment shirt, especially at such a good deal.  Oh well, maybe after the show when people have heard them play their sales will go up… least they should!!

I pulled my new Treatment shirt on over top of last night's new Accept shirt, once again clasped my condensation laden beverage cup and sauntered off through the milling throng to claim my grassy knoll.

The Treatment hit the stage promptly at 6:45pm to the appropriate “God Save the Queen” and merging into Drink, F**k, Fight.  The seats were pretty empty, but that didn’t stop them from pounding through the first song.  World On Fire came next and led straight into Party On, the two of which do not appear on the CD.  Matt announced that it was their pleasure to be in Canada for the first time and that they would be over at the merchandise stand for pictures and autographs and wanted to meet as many of us as possible!  They broke out into Just Tell Me Why and then ramping it up with The Doctor and keeping pace into Departed, easily two of the best from the disc.  Matt again announced the meeting and greeting of everyone and that CD's were available for purchase before stating: "this is our latest video" as they went into Nothing to Lose but Our Minds.  Closing out with my current personal favourite, Shake the Mountain, some of the sparse crowd were on their feet by now and a few fists were in the air, hopefully some new fans!  The Treatment sounded tight and like they were having the time of their lives up there setting the stage for the two heavy hitters yet to come tonight.  Shake The Mountain?  Certainly, for me anyway, it was Shake The Molson Ampitheatre!!
Meister meets The Treatment of the U.K.

Scantily clad girls began to parade through the stadium carting/supporting poles adorned with red and white M.C. banners.  Having miraculously missed every previous opportunity to see Motley Crue I was not sure what to expect, especially since Vince Neil had broken his foot the night before in Cleveland.  A large circular, ticking clock filled the stage as a big flash pot explosion of pyro erupted and Crue stormed the stage promptly at 7:45pm, with girls sliding down ropes from the rigging above.  Vince hopped around the stage as they belted out their opening number in Saints Of Los Angeles.  Fire covered the stage as more flash pot pyro went off for the start of Wildside and Vince was flanked by dancing ladies.  I’m sure that the pain of his foot could be a factor here, but it seemed to me that Vince was struggling with the verse lyrics, almost out of breath while the chorus, however was bang on. 
With a spinning pentagram on the video screen backdrop they easily enticed the crowd to Shout At The Devil.  “I’d like to thank the guys from KISS for lending me one of their boots” claimed Vince as he pulled up his pant leg to show off the cast on his left foot before launching into Same Ol’ Situation.  The rather lack-lustre and campy Sex was up next, to which a cannon at each side of the stage sprayed water on the crowd.  The popular, but a bit of a sleeper in my eyes, Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) followed.  Emerging from behind the kit, Tommy walked along the stage, stopping on the left side to ask “why don’t you have a drink” to some audience members, “well I got a drink for ya” he exclaimed as he uncorked a bottle of champagne and sprayed them with it. “A shot for the crowd” Tommy screeched as he took up reisidence behind the piano that had been brought out and they rolled into the quintessential rock ballad, Home Sweet Home.  And finally it was time for the drum solo.  
Everyone has heard tales of Tommy’s Drum Solos and the outrageousness of them and this was no exception!  The kit was on a circular roller coaster and Tommy rolled from side to side and finally right around as he pounded out an extremely unimpressive solo musically.  Exclaiming that there was an empty seat with him, contest winner Charlene was strapped in for another drum solo and a ride to the Roller Coaster of Love song.  From there we got a short guitar solo from Mick Mars, before Live Wire
still Vince seems struggling to catch up with the verse lyrics.  And of course we need Nikki to have his bass solo too, at the end of which his guitar shot fire into the air as Primal Scream began, inciting everyone in my lawn section to "scream and shout".  Time to call the doctor for Dr. Feelgood before Girls Girls Girls.  Rounding out with another short guitar solo and closing up with Kickstart My Heart, Crue exited stage left and although the sound quality was excellent, left me wondering if I enjoyed the music or the gimmick laden stage show.

KISS dropped from the ceiling on a smoke filled platform and exploded onto the stage with Detroit Rock City, followed with Shout It Out Loud.  The sound quality was incredible and I had to ponder the age old question to myself of lip synching!  Eric's drums announced a classic KISS song, (for me, one of the first that I ever heard), I Love It Loud.  They sounded bang on all around, clear and concise.  Firehouse led into the new track Hell or Hallelujah, which I actually quite enjoy and hope that it's a sign of good things to come from the forthcoming Monster album (I personally was rather disappointed in Sonic Boom).  During the next number, War Machine, Paul was seated on the ground of the stage on the left side, tired Paul? Getting old?    Paul then announced that they were going to do an old one and Tommy was going to sing it before they launched into Shock Me (at which Tommy did an excellent job, I might add)  What's KISS without a little controversy?  I say, if you can have him wear the costume and assume the persona, you can for damn sure have him sing the tunes, especially when he hits a home-run like he did with Shock Me that night!!  I don't remember hearing too many people complaining when Eric Carr sang Beth, or is that just my feeble brain letting me down again?  
Next Tommy Thayer (Ace) and Eric Singer (Peter) did a combo solo thing which was really quite entertaining before Gene’s standard bass solo.  Same old, same old for all the years that I've been seeing KISS shows, he spits the blood and is hoisted up onto the small stage atop the rigging to play God of Thunder (one of my least favourite KISS tracks of all time).  When I was a kid discovering music (KISS is what got me into rock music by the way), I loved all the blood spitting, but now it’s just boring, repetitive and I long for my heroes to do something new.  Paul talked about how he had lived here in Toronto for about six months when he was in  Phantom of the Opera (wish I had gotten around to seeing it!).  Then just as I had predicted to
my grassy knoll buddys (I should have taken the offered bets), Paul swung out across the crowd to a small stage in the centre of the audience stands to play Love Gun, citing the overused line of "everyone deserves a front row seat"......what?,  Were you out here on the grass, or did I just miss it?  Heading back to the main stage for Lick It Up, the only non-make-up track that worked it's way into the playlist and a little guitar solo from Paul, certainly nothing new here!  A few references to how much better Toronto was than Montreal (an age long rivalry) crept into Paul's monologue from time to time to be met with uproarious cheers from the packed outdoor stadium at each mention.  Black Diamond came next with Eric singing and what a fine job he did too.  Kiss left the stage for a few minutes before returning to play the encores of Dr. Love and the standard show closer of Rock & Roll All Night.
Confetti exploded into the air and rained down on the audience for what seemed like an eternity as KISS took a photo with the crowd in the background (if you look hard enough, maybe you can find Decibel Geeks Wallygator and The Meister)!  Over all, three fine performances by three great bands all together on one night in one stadium and certainly well worth the ticket price at twice my cost!  I'm so glad I attended and should have known that KISS would not let me down.  Just like your favourite movie that you've watched
hundreds of times, you may not be excited to put it on, but once it's there you are glued to it and remember everything that brought you to it in the first place.  Thank-you to all three bands for an excellent night of rockin'!

My ears still ringing after my two day, two concert, beer drinking tour in the big city of Toronto, it's nice to be back home in my quiet, peaceful little town.  Wow, I must be getting old!

The Meister

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