Tech, Drugs* and Rock’n’Roll – Classic rock and the digital age

14/05/2010 at 1:36 pm (Kiss, Music, Rock, Technology, YouTube)

As Paul Stanley, Kiss’ exuberant front man was proud to boast, “everything you’re hearing tonight on this stage, we’re doing it. There’s nobody under the stage playing another instrument, there’s no back up vocals on tapes. Yes you can move around and sing – if you know how to sing! That’s what we’re all about.”

KISS - Gene, Tommy and Paul

The shows are massive, and the classic hits rub shoulders with the new material without jarring. Last night Kiss were an incredible spectacle. Yes, there’s explosions, fire breathing, levitating drum kits and platforms.  There’s the elevating of a blood spitting 60 year old man in armour. But at its heart, it’s a solid and outstanding rock and roll show.

There’s not much left that can be said about this extraordinary band, except that they seem to be currently experiencing the biggest success of their career. A career that spans nearly 40 years. Why the current success? Well, timing is of course important. People are rediscovering Kiss. The outrageous costumes and facepaint, mixed with a huge show, is brand new again. People want a show, a spectacle.

Paul Stanley flying overhead

Another important factor is how to continue as a career band in the modern climate of free downloads and file sharing. I’m not talking about legalities here, but the question of how you get around it. Kiss have always been a touring band. The records sell well, as a rule, but it’s the concerts that have been the biggest draw. Now, how to capitalise on new technology and gigs?

How about taking a recording of the concert you just saw home, right there and then?  This is the interesting idea put across by SimfyLive. You buy a voucher at the merchandise stall at the concert, then after the show, you go to the Simfy stand and collect a flash USB drive.  The drive is presented in a rather nice box with a code.   This isn’t the whole concert. You get the first half, and when you go online and register with them the next day, you download the other half (or encore) when entering the code.

Last night's gig

I really like this idea, and it makes for a very unique memento of the show that you just saw. I do wonder though, if you bought your voucher and the gig absolutely sucked – not even if it’s down to the band but there’s a series of technical problems that screwed up the show – would you still be inclined to part with the £20? Well, it is a very personal thing I suppose, and the point is it is a souvenir. For me, I think I got my money’s worth.

It’s another example of having to embrace technology or be damned. For me, I found this a more rewarding item of merchandise than the standard programme or t-shirt.

And, just for your delectation, here’s a little video of the opening of last night’s show.  Shaky hands – apologies.  Rather excited…

*there weren’t any drugs, sorry.



  1. Dragonlady said,

    So cool! I am a bit miffed that I won’t be seeing them. Or maybe I’ll give in at the last moment LOL! Sure looks like they still got it!

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