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June 15, 1996 -
July 5, 1997

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SpecialEffects.gif (5496 Byte) make-up  Love Gun costumes  huge Logoredonwhite-blackoutline5mm.jpg (974 Byte) logo  Gene spitting fire  Gene spitting blood  Ace's smoking & flying guitar  Paul smashing guitar  smoke  bombs  drum riser  confetti storm  fireworks  Ace shooting rockets from his guitar  platform risers  big screen behind drums  Gene flying  Paul flying  Ace lightning guitar  moving amps   huge blow up  dolls  Kiss Army banners   huge Logoredonwhite-blackoutline5mm.jpg (974 Byte) logo curtain falling down at the beginning of the show
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KISS finally announced a reunion tour in April 1996, something KISS fans had been waiting for a very long time! The tour started in June 1996, and for that KISS had gathered the largest show they had ever toured with!
The stage (seen in picture 1) was not too impressive at first sight, just a bunch of amplifiers, a great amount of lights, a video wall and a new logo. But once the show got underway it would reveal how impressive it actually was.


The show was more or less the best from all previous shows, done in the usual over-the-top KISS manner, and the amount of fireworks used in the show had been increased enormously. But let's take the show step by step: The show actually started even before the band was on the stage. During the final sound check (which would be The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" blasted from the speakers), a large black curtain would be lowered to hide the stage. An enormous KISS logo was printed on the curtain, but that was only revealed when the stage lights was turned on behind it.
Then the house lights would be dimmed, and the familiar humming sound (first introduced on the 1985-86 Asylum Tour) would come from the speakers. This would continue for a time, while purple search lights were going around the arena!
Then for the first time since the Crazy Nights Tour, the much missed "You wanted the best, you got the best" introduction was heard. After the introduction KISS played a few bars of Deuce still hidden by the curtain, which would drop with a loud explosion... and there they were: Peter, Paul, Gene and Ace in full make-up and costumes. 
At first the stage looked very bare... this was because the main part of the amplifier wall was lying down at the beginning of the show. During the opening of King Of The Night Time World, the amplifiers would be pushed up in up-right position, and suddenly the stage looked more complete.
The first thing most fans noticed however was the new logo. This was brighter than any other logo's KISS had ever used, and could run many different light patterns (as seen in picture 2).


The show would follow the usual patterns... in Firehouse the stage fills with smoke, sirens wails, emergency lights flashed, and Gene walked out with a torch and blew fire.
This was often followed by Shock Me, in which Ace had his solo.
He played the solo like he had in the '70's, and used the effects introduced on the Dynasty Tour in 1979: first he played on the smoking guitar, which would then be hanged from a hook, and "fly" into the lightning truss. The Ace would come out with the rocket firing guitar (picture 3), and shoot rockets hitting the stage lights, where they would explode. During the tour another effect was added to this part of the show: after Ace sends the last rocket into the lighting rig, the explosion would rip a light off, which would fall a few feet before hanging dangling from a wire. Awesome effect, because it looked real!

Later Gene would do his famous bass solo... he would appear on the left side of the stage, bathed in sickly green lights. Thunder would be heard from the speakers, while Gene started to strike the strings of his bass.
Then Gene would spit the fake blood in his mouth, and "fly" into the lightning rig (picture 4). This was an effect also used in the Dynasty show in 1979.
Standing on a platform high above the crowd (circled in on picture 5), Gene would sing God Of Thunder, before being lowered down, just before Peter's drumsolo.
As you can also see in picture 5, the lightning rig held the main part of the pyrotechnics effects. In this case the flamethrowers.

 

 

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Set list:

(First US leg):

1. Deuce
2. King Of The Night Time World
3. Do You Love Me
4. Calling Dr. Love
5. Cold Gin
6. I Stole Your Love
7. Shout It Out Loud
8. Watchin´ You
9. Firehouse
10. Shock Me (incl. guitar solo)
11. Strutter
12.
Rock Bottom
13. God Of Thunder (incl. bass- and drum solos)
14. New York Groove
15. Love Gun
16. 100.000 Years
17. Black Diamond

Encores:
18. Detroit Rock City
19. Beth
20. Rock And Roll All Nite

Other songs occasionally played:
Nothin' to lose


Set list
(Europe '96)

1. Deuce
2. King Of The Night Time World
3. Do You Love Me
4. Calling Dr. Love
5. Cold Gin
6. Watchin´ You
7. Firehouse
8. I Stole Your Love
9. Shock Me (incl. guitar solo)
10. Let Me Go, Rock ´n Roll
11. Shout It Out Loud
12. I Was Made For Lovin´ You
13. C’mon And Love Me
14.
God Of Thunder (incl. bass- and drum solos)
15. New York Groove
16. Love Gun
17. 100.000 Years
18. Black Diamond

Encores:
19. Detroit Rock City
20. Beth
21. Rock And Roll Nite

Set list
(Lost Cities Tour/Europe '97)

1. Deuce
2. King Of The Night Time World
3. Let Me Go, Rock ’n Roll
4. Do You Love Me
5. Firehouse
6. Watchin’ You
7. Shock Me (incl. guitar solo)
8. Calling Dr. Love
9. Shout It Out Loud
10. Love Gun
11. Cold Gin

12. I Was Made For Lovin’ You
13. God Of Thunder (incl. bass- and drum solos)
14. New York Groove
15. 100.000 Years
16. Black Diamond

Encores:
17. Detroit Rock City
18. Beth
19. Rock And Roll All Nite

Other songs occasionally played:
2.000 Man, Shandi and Christine Sixteen

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During most of the show, whenever the band needed an explosion (during songs like I Stole Your Love, and I Was Made For Lovin' You) some kind of pyroeffect would correspond with this from the top of the lightning rig.
The flamethrowers used on this tour was not like those used in the '70's. Those were gasburners, while these were chemical based flash pots.

These were also used on the stage during 100.000 Years... as you can see from picture 6, these weren't quite as impressive looking as the originals, but they created a great effect nonetheless!!

Just like all other good things, even a KISS show must come to an end, and with KISS it ended with a bang!
The Reunion shows would usually end with Black Diamond. This started with Paul playing a short solo, bathed in purple light, and a mirror ball hanging over him flashing thin light beams all over the arena.
The song ends almost like it's heard on Alive! with tons of explosions. While this goes on, Gene, Paul and Ace were hovering above the crowd on two cherry pickers. This was the '90's version of the Love Gun effect, where hydraulic lifts would hoist the three members high above the stage also during this song (picture 7). However, the cherry pickers were cheaper, and more useful... the lightning crew also used them.

And no KISS show with the four original members would be complete without Peter's drumkit rising high above the stage and of course it did (picture 8).
As you can see, two golden cats was revealed as the drumkit started to "fly".
What you can't see, is that the cats had flashing green eyes.

KISS added a few effects during the tour. The most significant addition was Paul's flying stunt, which was introduced during the Lost Cities tour in March-April '97. The flying stunt was something Paul had tried to do in many years... as far as I remember they had talked about it, as early as in 1979.
But finally they worked the stunt out (as seen in picture 9). Paul would introduce Love Gun, and ask the audience if they wanted him to come out there (I wonder what he would have done, if the answer had been a resounding "NO"? But, off course, it never was!). 
Paul's transporter would then arrive on stage (there were two versions of the stunt; one for indoor arena's, and one for outdoor venues... the one shown in picture 9 is the indoor version), and then Paul would "fly" over the crowd to a platform out in the arena (for stadium shows he would land on the mixing tower).
Here he would sing Love Gun before traveling back to the stage where he would "shoot" with his guitar into the lightning rig, while a large amount of pyro's would go off!

  Something entirely new introduced on this tour was the inflatables (picture 10). These were supposedly very hard to make stand up, and couldn't be used whenever the weather was bad. Sometimes they were standing inside the arena's (beside the stage, which they did at the first show in Detroit's Tiger Stadium), but mostly they were standing outside the stadiums (funnily enough not at any of the three shows I saw!).96k.jpg (29461 Byte)

There are two more things I want to mention about the Reunion tour, two one-off instances...
First there was the show in Atlanta, GA., USA on October 1st, 1996. 
On this night they dropped balloons over the audience, in addition to the usual confetti, as you can see here on picture 11.
The reason behind the balloons are unknown, but as the two shows in Atlanta was filmed for a possible live video, that was maybe to make things look better for the people watching at home! The home video never materialized, but the segment with the balloons was part of the "Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve" TV show (which could also be the reason behind the decision behind the use of the balloons). 

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Last thing I want to bring up about the Reunion tour is the April 5th 1997 show in Columbus, OH., USA. Peter had been complaining about pain in his arms, probably due to a long tour and an aging body.
Anyway, Peter wasn't able to lift his arms on April 5th, and KISS had to make a hasty decision: cancel the show or replace Peter?
As the doors had already been opened, it was decided to put Peter's drumtech Eddie Kanon into Peter's costume and make-up and have him perform instead. The show went on, and Paul announced the change after King Of The Night Time World. Afterwards the internet was buzzing with rumors, but in general most fans at the show seemed happy that the band played instead of canceling the show. 
A bootleg video of the show has since emerged, which reveals that while Eddie's drumming was a bit off at some points, he did a very admirable job (picture 12)! 
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Tourbook

line-up: cleardot.gif (53 Byte) Gene Simmons (bass, vocals)
Paul Stanley (rhythm guitar, vocals)
Ace Frehley (lead guitar, vocals)
Peter Criss (drums, vocals)

To view the exact tourdates of the Kiss Reunion tour, go to the Tourdates page.

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