What better way to celebrate the United States’ birthday than with KISS in Tucson, Ariz.? Well, that’s how thousands of people felt on this Fourth of July as a crowd lined up around the corner at the AVA Amphitheater (hair, face paint and all) as KISS kicked off the first leg of their "Freedom To Rock" tour. Fans from all walks of life, some carrying KISS dolls, others wearing KISS shirts, even concertgoers dressed up like band members themselves waited outside the venue as early as 4PM for doors that weren’t to open until 7PM.

Fans didn’t seem to notice the sweltering 104 degree heat by the time the gates opened and the night’s festivities began. Many fans enjoyed the opening band, Magnetico, whose lead guitarist and vocalist, Rafael Moreira, is known for his work with KISS' Paul Stanley. The power rock trio’s squealing guitars, rattling bass, and crashing drums set the tone for what was to be an unforgettable evening.

By around 9PM, the venue was filled to the brim and the fan anticipation could no longer be contained. Screams of “KISS, KISS, KISS” could be heard from the crowd as a massive KISS curtain covered the stage. Suddenly, and without warning, a loud pop was heard, and canons shot off into the crowd. The curtain lifted, and familiar figures dressed in white makeup, costumes and black boots wielding their instruments could be seen taking command of the stage. The unmistakable riff of “Detroit Rock City” could be heard echoing from Tommy Thayer’s guitar, as a night of rock ‘n roll had just begun. Fans could be heard from the crowd singing along to Gene Simmons’ and Paul Stanley’s harmonious vocals, while Eric Singer kept a steady beat on the drums.

As the night continued on and the band played hits like “Shout It Out Loud” and “Psycho Circus” and they never ceased to keep the energy peaking. Of course, Simmons performed his signature "spitting blood" trick during his bass solo. After playing a killer set filled with classics, the band left the stage and returned for an encore that included "The Star-Spangled Banner," which KISS hadn’t played live since 1992. They ended their night with the concert staple, “Rock and Roll All Nite.”

After spending this Fourth of July with KISS, it’s apparent that they’re not going anywhere. Despite lineup changes, the band showed fans they still put on an incredible show after 43 years. KISS definitely have "the Freedom To Rock," and they do it very well.

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