Review: KISS, Def Leppard rock 'n' roll Usana crowd
West Valley City • A warm summer night saw music legends KISS and Def Leppard rock an estimated 20,000 people at Usana Amphitheatre in West Valley City.
KISS lived up to its billing as one of the best live acts in rock 'n' roll, lighting up the Utah night sky with pyrotechnics, confetti and anthemic songs.
Opening song • "King of the Nightime World," played with fire shooting behind the band as bassist Gene Simmons and guitarist and lead singer Paul Stanley strutted around the stage.
Highlight • A dual encore of "Detroit Rock City" and "Rock and Roll All Night" saw the crowd explode with applause as white confetti rained down, three band members were elevated above the stage and Stanley smashed his guitar into three pieces.
Crowd favorite • For the seventh song of the set, Simmons "vomited" his signature fake blood and was raised to a microphone high above the stage. The blood dripped down his metallic chest plate as he sang "I Love It Loud."
Best quotes • "We go way back in Salt Lake City, before some of you were even in Salt Lake City," Stanley said before "Shout It Out Loud," referring to one of the band's early shows at the Salt Palace. "People say, 'Salt Lake City? Isn't that where all the Mormons are?' But you're some of the finest, most partying people we've ever come across."
In the crowd • Stanley performed his signature stage trick during "Psycho Circus," flying high above the crowd and landing on a platform, where he played the song in the middle of the audience.
Low note • Stanley's voice gave out early on in the show and was sporadic throughout as he struggled to hit certain notes. The band also played a string of lesser-known songs that saw the crowd lose some interest instead of classics like "Love Gun," "Lick It Up," and "Strutter."
Before KISS took the stage, Def Leppard warmed up the crowd with the band's classic British rock sound, standing as a crisp and lively complement to KISS.
Opening song • "Let It Go," played immediately after a short intro of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," the band adorned in various pieces of clothing emblazoned with the British Union Jack.
Highlight • The last three songs, "Pour Some Sugar on Me," "Rock of Ages" and "Photograph," which featured photo-booth-style pictures of the band's career scrolling across the big screen.
Crowd favorite • The band played "Animal" as the third song of the set with neon signs flashing on the big screen. The crowd sang along loudly to the chorus of "And I want, and I need, and I lust, animal."
Best quotes • "This one's for Uncle Gene," singer Joe Elliott said before the band played "Foolin'."
"We always come here. Turn around and look at yourselves, that's why we keep coming," Elliott said before the band played two acoustic songs.
Opening bands • Canadian metal band Kobra and the Lotus opened, with the band's female singer Kobra Paige resembling the inflection of former Black Sabbath and Rainbow frontman Ronnie James Dio.
Next up • 7 p.m. July 3 The Soulshine Tour featuring Michael Franti & Spearhead, SOJA, Brett Dennen and Trevor Hall.
The rock icons light up the Utah night sky; opener Def Leppard offers a crisp and lively complement.
When • Monday
Where • Usana Amphitheatre, West Valley City
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