Stephanie Johnson, her husband and two children came to Grand Forks from Lisbon, N.D., to see KISS. She said she expected a “really good show, they’re awesome!”
It was her second time to see the band. She brought her family because “it was part of their Christmas present.”
The storied, globally famous rock band took to the stage of the Alerus Center in a shower of pyrotechnics and makeup on Saturday, Feb. 22, as the group brought its End of The Road World Tour to Grand Forks. Original members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley along with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer (with the band since 2004) launched into “Detroit Rock City” to start the show.
Due to stage placement, only about two-thirds of the Alerus Center’s seating was available. Though attendance numbers were not available Saturday evening, a crowd of what appeared to be more than 7,000 turned out to see the legacy rockers on what is supposed to be their last tour.
The “get” of KISS represents a big step for the Alerus Center as management looks to build on the success of the record-breaking years of 2018 and 2019.
“(2018) was an amazing year; we broke some venue records -- several were for Metallica,” said Anna Rosburg, general manager for the Alerus Center. “We also had a record year in 2019, as far as the number of touring events, so it’s definitely important that we are growing.”
Rosburg noted that there were 17 touring acts in 2019; a year prior, there were 12. The next highest total for touring acts was 11 in 2005.
Fans turned up for an evening of rock and roll on Saturday, and that’s what they got. David Lee Roth got the show rolling with “You Really Got Me." Originally by the Kinks, the song also was a hit for 1980s and '90s megaband Van Halen. Roth, of course, was the lead singer for Van Halen during the group's formative years.
Roth and his backing band also played Van Halen hits "Jump," “Panama” and “Jamie’s Cryin’.”
The KISS setlist included hits such as “Shout It Out Loud,” “Heaven’s on Fire” and “Lick It Up,” among others. The rockers expertly worked the stage between displays of fire and sparks. "Rock and Roll All Nite" came at the end of the evening.
Dave and Katie King came from Fargo to see the show. Dave King has seen KISS four or five times, the first in 1990.
“I figure it’s the last time to see them,” he said. “They’ll put on a great show. They always do.”
This marks the second farewell tour for KISS -- the band tried it once in 2000 with its original lineup. The group announced the tour in late 2018, and it runs through the year, across the United States and the globe. The next stop is the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Monday, Feb 24.