Kiss couldn’t possibly play all their great songs in just one night.
The face-paint-wearing band’s music is frequently overshadowed by their image and explosive stage show, but they’ve still amassed some 20 studio albums over nearly five decades together. Any possible set list will inevitably leave out some strong tracks.
Besides, no self-respecting fire department would let them set off that much pyro in a venue they’re legally responsible for protecting.
So here’s a look at the 10 best songs that Kiss have yet to play at any of their farewell End of the Road shows. Billed as the band’s last ever, the tour started way back in January 2019. It was supposed to have ended in July 2021 but has been postponed repeatedly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group has played 25 songs so far, including a one-night-only performance of “Strutter” at their audience-free, live-streamed New Year’s Eve Kiss 2020 Goodbye show.
1. “I Stole Your Love”
From: Love Gun (1977)
Kiss’ live shows fell into a bit of the rut during their face-paint-free late ’80s, with very predictable set lists that ignored far too many of their classic ’70s songs. But the band got back on track big-time with 1990’s Hot in the Shade Tour, which saw the welcome return of many beloved makeup-era tracks. They announced their legacy-reclaiming intentions right up front by opening every show with the explosive “I Stole Your Love,” the first song from 1977’s Love Gun. Partially inspired by Deep Purple‘s “Burn,” this Paul Stanley-penned track has since turned up frequently on the band’s annual Kiss Kruise concerts, but hasn’t been played regularly on tour since 2009.
2. “Watchin’ You”
From: Hotter Than Hell (1974)
Kiss released their first six studio albums in a dizzying span of less than two and a half years between February 1974 and June 1977. Their reputation as an amazing live act was built by performing these songs night after night all over the country, opening up for anybody brave enough to share the stage with them. So, with all due respect to the ’80s and beyond hits that currently make up about one-third of the band’s set lists, it’s hard to see any of these early songs lose their spot on the nightly set list. That’s especially true for Gene Simmons‘ sinister “Watchin’ You,” which was a highlight of both 1975’s Alive! and 1993’s Alive III. Another near-annual Kiss Kruise favorite, “Watchin’ You” was played at about a third of the shows on the band’s 2008-2009 Alive 35 tour.
3. “I Want You”
From: Rock and Roll Over (1976)
Paul Stanley’s vocal gymnastics during the call-and-response section of “I Want You” were one of the big highlights of 1977’s Alive II. It would be outlandishly unfair to expect any 70-year-old singer to hit those same dazzling heights now, and that could be one of the reasons the song hasn’t been heard at a Kiss concert since the conclusion of the 2004 Rock the Nation tour. “You do come to terms with your own mortality,” Stanley told Rolling Stone when asked in 2018 about the effects of aging on a singer. “I’ve been doing a lot recently to make sure my voice is in great form, [but] if you want to hear me sound like I did on Kiss Alive!, then put on Kiss Alive!“
From: Dressed to Kill (1975)
At some point, this list will turn into more than just a rundown of songs from Kiss’ career-defining ’70s live albums that haven’t been played on the End of the Road tour, but we’re not quite there yet. “She” dates back to Stanley and Simmons’ days in their pre-Kiss band Wicked Lester and was one of the centerpieces of the band’s early stage shows. Live, the group stretched the song into a seven-minute epic with extended instrumental sections including a coda lifted in full from the Kiss album track “Let Me Know.” “She” was last played regularly on the band’s 2008-2009 Alive 35 tour.
From: Kiss (1974)
One of 15 songs Kiss has performed live more than 1,000 times, “Firehouse” is both effortlessly catchy and a perfect match for the band’s over-the-top stage show. It was last heard regularly, however, on the band’s 2012 tour with Motley Crue. It’s hard not to wonder why the kings of rock merchandising are passing up the chance to sell replicas of Stanley’s fireman hat at every show. At least they’ve tacked the song’s sirens and red lights finale onto the end of “War Machine,” where it plays while Simmons does his fire-breathing routine.
6. “Hotter Than Hell”
From: Hotter Than Hell (1974)
As promised, we’ve finally arrived at the last of the Alive! tracks on this list. Delightfully paired with “Firehouse” on Alive!, the infectious title track to the band’s sophomore album finds Stanley unsuccessfully trying to woo a married woman. Somehow it’s been played less than 300 times at Kiss shows, most recently appearing regularly on the Alive 35 tour.
7. “Comin’ Home”
From: Hotter Than Hell (1974)
One of the best songs from Kiss’ first three studio albums not to be featured on Alive!, the Beatlesque “Comin’ Home” found new life as the opening song of the band’s acoustic shows, as demonstrated during their 1995 MTV Unplugged appearance. The track was never played live during the ’70s or ’80s, according to Setlist.fm, but an appearance at recent Kiss Kruise shows proves that it works great on stage in its original electric form.
8. “Modern Day Delilah”
From: Sonic Boom (2009)
The lead single from Kiss’ first new studio album in over a decade proved itself as a strong concert opening track on the band’s next two tours and features new guitarist Tommy Thayer hitting it out of the park on his initial recorded solo with the group. Despite all that, “Modern Day Delilah” has been replaced on recent set lists by another Stanley-penned Sonic Boom track, “Say Yeah.”
9. “I Still Love You”
From: Creatures of the Night (1982)
“I Still Love You” was never released as a single, but this slow-burning Creatures of the Night breakup song was a staple of Kiss’ ’80s shows, casting a bright spotlight on Stanley’s vocal powers. Bruce Kulick‘s guitar work also shines here. This would be a fantastic song for the band to break out if he’s ever invited onstage for an End of the Road appearance.
From: Hot in the Shade (1989)
Only two Kiss songs – “Beth” and “Forever” – have cracked the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, while “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” peaked at No. 11. So it’s rather surprising that Kiss hardly ever played “Forever” live since putting their makeup back on in 1996. This would be another excellent choice for an onstage reunion with Kulick, whose gorgeous mid-song acoustic guitar solo kicks the song into the stratosphere.
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