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Gene Simmons Pays Tribute to Chuck Berry at First-Ever Solo Concert

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Gene Simmons paid tribute to rock pioneer Chuck Berry by adding an impromptu version of “Johnny B. Goode” to the setlist during the Kiss star’s first-ever full-length solo concert in Cleveland last night.

“It’s a very sad day today,” Simmons noted near the end of an otherwise loose and lively 17-song, hour and forty minute show. “One of the founding fathers of rock and roll has passed on… if it wasn’t for Chuck Berry there wouldn’t have been rock and roll.”

After lightheartedly warning the audience that they hadn’t rehearsed the song, the bassist and his excellent three-guitarist and a drummer backing band (who perform together as Thee Rock N’ Roll Residency) tore through “Johnny B. Goode,” with the Demon even engaging in a brief duck walk.

Other than two songs from his 1978 solo album, the song selection focused entirely on ’70s-era Kiss classics, including rarities such as “Almost Human,” “Got Love for Sale” and the 1979 Dynasty selection “Charisma,” which Simmons noted hit No. 1 on the charts in Mexico.

He also paid a nice tribute to former bandmate Ace Frehley before launching into “Parasite,” noting, “this was written by Ace, and you gotta give it to Ace… there were bad days, but on a good day he’d walk in with a classic like this.”

The show was the first of five performances Simmons will perform in conjunction with personal appearances at Comic Con events across the country. The remaining four shows are scheduled to take place at the Wizard World-branded conventions in in St. Louis (April 8-9), Philadelphia (June 2-3), Chicago (August 26-27) and Austin (November 17-18). Visit Wizard World’s official site for full details and ticketing information.

Gene Simmons 3/18/17 Cleveland Agora Setlist
“Radioactive”
“Deuce”
“Nothin’ to Lose”
“Calling Dr. Love”
“Almost Human”
“Cold Gin”
“I Love it Loud”
“Got Love for Sale”
“Parasite”
“Plaster Caster”
“Charisma”
“See You Tonite”
“Christine Sixteen”
“Johnny B. Goode”
“War Machine”
“Let Me Go, Rock and Roll”
“Rock and Roll All Nite”

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