Watch: GENE SIMMONS And TOMMY THAYER Perform KISS Classics At Rock & Brews Grand Opening In Ridgefield

April 24, 2024

Gene Simmons and his solo band performed last night (Tuesday, April 23) at the grand opening of the Rock & Brews restaurant at the Ilani dining and entertainment destination in Ridgefield, Washington. It marked the KISS bassist/vocalist's first live appearance since the legendary rock act concluded its "End Of The Road" farewell tour at New York's Madison Square Garden in December.

The GENE SIMMONS BAND took the stage at Rock & Brews at 8 p.m., with the ribbon-cutting ceremony taking place eight hours earlier.

In addition to Simmons, the GENE SIMMONS BAND members include guitarists Brent Woods (WILDSIDE, SEBASTIAN BACH, VINCE NEIL) and Zach Throne (COREY TAYLOR) alongside drummer Brian Tichy (LYNCH MOB, THE DEAD DAISIES, WHITESNAKE, BILLY IDOL, FOREIGNER, PRIDE & GLORY, SLASH'S SNAKEPIT).

The GENE SIMMONS BAND played a number of KISS classics alongside covers of MOTÖRHEAD's "Ace Of Spades" and LED ZEPPELIN's "Communication Breakdown". Simmons's KISS bandmate, guitarist Tommy Thayer, came up on stage for "Parasite" and "Lick It Up".

The setlist was as follows:

01. Deuce
02. War Machine
03. Detroit Rock City
04. Weapons Of Mass Destruction
05. Ace Of Spades (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
06. Communication Breakdown (LED ZEPPELIN cover)
07. I Love It Loud
08. Shout It Out Loud
09. Love Gun
10. Calling Dr. Love
11. Cold Gin
12. Parasite (with Tommy Thayer)
13. Lick It Up (with Tommy Thayer)
14. Are You Ready?
15. 100,000 Years
16. Let Me Go, Rock ’N’ Roll
17. I Was Made For Lovin’ You
18. Rock And Roll All Nite

Simmons and his KISS bandmate Paul Stanley co-founded Rock & Brews with a team that also includes entrepreneur, restaurateur and hotelier Michael Zislis, who is behind some of Southern California's most well-known establishments like The Stand House and Shade Hotel, as well as concert industry veteran Dave Furano and Dell Furano. The team opened the first Rock & Brews near LAX airport in Southern California in 2010. Since then, they have quickly expanded the growing franchise to include over 20 of locations in California, Florida, Kansas, Missouri and Texas, with more coming soon.

Prior to the Ridgefield appearance, Simmons told ABC Audio about the show: "There are no rules, which is my favorite thing in life. Anything is bound to happen. I may jump off the stage and get into the audience. We may pull some folks out of the audience. You wanna sing 'I Was Made For Lovin' You'? Here's the mic. Good luck."

Regarding the setlist for the concert, he said: "We get a chance to play songs KISS has never played and some songs have never been recorded. So it's a very exciting event."

Located on the Cowlitz Reservation, Ilani, developed by the Cowlitz Tribe and Salishan-Mohegan, a partnership that includes Mohegan Sun, one of the world's foremost gaming and entertainment developers and operators, is the Pacific Northwest's premier gaming, dining, entertainment, and meeting destination. With nearly 400,000 total square feet, Ilani includes more than 100,000 square feet of gaming space with nearly 3,000 slots and 75 gaming tables; 18 different restaurants, bars and retail outlets; and a 2,500-seat meeting and entertainment venue hosting nationally recognized performances.

GENE SIMMONS BAND will next play the Summer Breeze Open Air festival in São Paulo, Brazil on April 26 before launching a European tour on July 27 in Kuopio, Finland.

Back in 2017 and 2018, the GENE SIMMONS BAND played a number of shows with a lineup that consisted of Simmons alongside guitarist/bassist Jeremy Asbrock, guitarist Ryan Cook, guitarist Phil Shouse and drummer Brent Fitz.

Six years ago, Simmons stated about his solo shows: "Doing these smaller concert halls, which hold a thousand to three thousand people, means they get filled up by real diehard fans. They don't want to hear the 'same old, same old.' They want to hear nuggets, as they say. It's a hoot for me because I've never really had a chance to do this stuff live. It's been a lot of fun." Gene told the Chicago Sun-Times: "By the end, I get the chance to bring as many people from the audience as we can fit on the stage to sing with me."

Regarding how the idea for a solo tour came about, Simmons told Australia's Advertiser in a 2018 interview: "The GENE SIMMONS BAND was not a plan or anything. About a year ago, a corporate event asked me to be keynote speaker … then they said, 'Won't you get up and sing a few tunes?' I explained that you can't just do that, you've got to have a band and rehearse and all that. They said, 'Well, we'll pay you X dollars more,' and I said, 'I like you!' "So I put together a band from Nashville — these guys back up Kid Rock and lots of other people — and without a single rehearsal, I just told them which songs I wanted to do and they learned them. It just sounded natural — there is such a thing called chemistry. They don't teach that anywhere — I mean, they do teach 'chemistry' but not the kind I'm talking about. It felt right and as soon as the videos went on YouTube and such, people were calling. This little GENE SIMMONS BAND never tried to be KISS… It was just a little bit of fun and stuff. Now all of a sudden, we're headlining festivals in the Czech Republic, Canada, Germany… It's crazy."

KISS played the final concert of its "End Of The Road" farewell tour on December 2, 2023 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Regarding why now was the right time for KISS to call it quits, Simmons told USA Today: "The touring band that is KISS with the makeup and the dragon boots and fire-breathing, that has to stop and that has to do with Mother Nature and Father Time. If we were a blues band or I was blessed to be Keith Richards in THE ROLLING STONES, I'd show up in my comfy sneakers and T-shirt and stand still and play. But we're different bands. Physically, we are the hardest-working band on the stage. We idolize [Mick] Jagger and Bono and the great showmen, but if you put those guys in my outfit, they would pass out in half an hour. It's 40 pounds of armor and studs and seven-inch dragon boots that are about the weight of a female bowling ball. So you've got 20 pounds on your feet and then you've got to spit fire, fly through the air and the entire band is doing that for two-plus hours. If you have any love for the fans, get off the stage before it's too late. How many boxers have stayed too long in the ring? We're doing the right thing."

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