(Review + photos by Amy Harris / @thefirst3songs)

Things always get a little crazy during Mardi Gras but there was no better way to take New Orleans’s biggest event of the year season over the top than seeing KISS in between parades Friday evening. The band talked about how much they loved playing the Crescent City since 1976 during their 40-year career.

Dubbed the "End of the Road” tour, rock veterans KISS brought their trademark rock and roll circus to New Orleans on Friday night (Feb. 22). The collective Starchild, Demon, Spaceman and Catman took the stage at Smoothie King Center at 9PM in their traditional makeup, featuring original members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons with longtime replacements Tommy Thayer (guitar) and Eric Singer (drums).

Though they haven’t released any original material since 2012’s acclaimed Monster, their 45 years of continuous activity spawning two-dozen studio efforts -- almost half of them achieving platinum status -- gives them the liberty to tour solely on the reputation of their live show. Members of the KISS Army turned out in droves, many dressed in full regalia, bridging a generation of fans that ranged between young children to elder grandparents.

As expected the show was a pyro-filled spectacle. Opening with rock anthem “Detroit Rock City” the band floated from the rafters on individual risers to a shower of sparks. While they effectively meandered through their immense catalog, the set was weighted heavily to their two early classic albums, the eponymous-debut KISS and Destroyer. KISS didn’t let the die-hard fans down as they performed with their usual flair which included Simmons’ fire-breathing during the apocalyptic “War Machine” and blood-spewing bass solo on “God of Thunder,” Singer’s drum-solo on “100,000 Years,” Thayer personifying Ace Frehley throughout “Cold Gin” and Stanley taking flight to get a little closer to fans at the back of the arena during radio classic “Love Gun.”

Power ballad “Black Diamond” remains a highlight of their live show. From Stanley’s guitar lead-in and chorus building into Singer’s lead vocals, Thayer’s fierce guitar solo and rich vocal harmonies, the song epitomizes KISS.

Any self-respecting KISS fan would be remiss if they neglect this tour. Do your duty and grab a ticket as the tour continues to trek back and forth across North America through September. This is not their first "farewell" tour but it will very likely be their last.

Check out our photos from KISS' performance in New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center below and get out to see a show at one of the remaining dates.

KISS / New Orleans' Smoothie King Center Feb. 22, 2019 Set List

1. Detroit Rock City
2. Shout It Out Loud
3. Deuce
4. Say Yeah
5. Heaven's on Fire
6. War Machine
7. Lick It Up
8. Calling Dr. Love
9. 100,000 Years (with drum solo)
10. God of Thunder (with bass solo)
11. Cold Gin (with guitar solo)
12. Psycho Circus
13. I Love It Loud
14. Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll
15. Love Gun
16. I Was Made for Lovin' You
17. Black Diamond

18. Beth
19. Do You Love Me
20. Rock and Roll All Nite

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