On Saturday 14 May 2022, the hottest band in the world took the stage at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford, CT. After quite the walk from the parking lot into the lengthy line at the venue gates, rain began to trickle down on the makeup-donned KISS fans. The crowd was filled with people wearing KISS-inspired costumes and makeup as well as KISS t-shirts.
Kiss – Xfinity Theatre, Hartford, CT – 14 May 2022
Words and photography: Shannon Wilk
At 7:30 PM, the opening artist David Garibaldi took the stage. His performance is appropriately titled Rhythm And Hue, based on his blend of rock music and painting. As he runs around to Alice Cooper and KISS tunes selectively throwing paint on the canvas, Garibaldi encourages the crowd to sing along and enjoy themselves.
As the anticipation grew, the band’s intro music – Led Zeppelin’s Rock N’ Roll – began and the curtain fell. Smoke billowed out as the band descended from platforms up in the rafters and cheers erupted from the lawn to the barricade as their beloved band began to play.
Flames shot up and all of a sudden like a freight train we were rolling into Detroit Rock City. The band marched around onstage in their trademark platform boots and unique character costumes, they were dressed to the T.
After the fiery performances of Shout It Out Loud, Deuce, War Machine and Heaven’s On Fire, it was about to get hotter and louder. The band rocked out I Love It Loud and Gene strutted around the stage with his flaming torch in hand. Before we knew it, it was Cold Gin time again. Eric rose and played the bridge of the song standing triumphantly at his kit. Smoke filled the stage as Thayer began to shred on his beautiful Flying V guitar.
Calling Dr. Love Lick It Up, took us to halfway through the set and Tears Are Falling. An earth-shaking performance of Psycho Circus with a short rendition of 100,000 Years and it was time for Eric Singer to shake the place with his intensely impressive drum solo.
Gene then took his turn to shine with God Of Thunder. The cameras portrayed close-ups of Simmons as he ripped through a bass solo. Blood seeped from his mouth and he began to rise on his platform. Up in the sky, Gene personified the God Of Thunder himself.
Stanley announced that he wanted to come out to the crowd but he wouldn’t do so uninvited. In response, the crowd produced an explosive “PAUL! PAUL! PAUL!” chant. As Gene, Tommy and Eric kicked into Love Gun, Paul flew out over the crowd and up onto a platform toward the back of the pavilion.
Next it was time for another KISS hit, I Was Made For Lovin’ You. Still out on a platform in the crowd, Paul Stanley blazed through the song letting the crowd do the heavy lifting in the song’s catchy choruses. At the end of the song, Paul flew back over the crowd to return to the main stage alongside his bandmates for a performance of Black Diamond.
As the band chugged through the song, pinwheels of sparks began to spin behind the band, provoking immense cheers from the audience. Just when they thought that was going to be the finale, Eric Singer’s drum platform began to rise revealing two massive tigers portrayed below him.
It was now that time of the set. Time for Eric Singer to shock the crowd with his touching performance of Beth on the piano and mic.
Closing out the set was a grand finale of two songs, Do You Love Me and one of the most iconic songs in rock n’ roll, Rock And Roll All Nite.
Throughout these songs, balloons and neverending confetti rained down on thousands of die-hard KISS lovers. What a way to end the band’s final show in Connecticut.