Pyrotechnics are devices that create a variety of visual effects at rock concerts to enhance the experience for the audience. Ranging from small explosive charges to spark-spraying nozzles to flames, pyrotechnics have been a mainstay of Kiss' live shows since the very early days of their performances.
The use of pyrotechnics is handled by highly-trained & licensed professionals who monitor and choreograph their use with the band's performance to insure that both the band members and the audience will not be injured during the show. Rehearsals for tours will include a precise planning process that will coordinate the devices with specific songs. One such example from Kiss' tour for their 1984 album Animalize included large flames that would shoot from the stage at the beginning of the song "Heaven's on Fire." During live shows, Gene Simmons would perform his own pyrotechnics, breathing fire near the end of his bass solos or during other songs. In the early days, while perfecting his technique, Simmons would set his own hair aflame.
In 2003 during a live performance of the band Great White at a small club, The Station Nightclub, in West Warwick, Rhode Island, the spark-sprayers used set the acoustic foam lining the stage aflame. The fire quickly spread throughout the club, which allegedly had not met fire code standards. One hundred spectators died in the fire and hundreds more were injured, many severely. Shortly after the incident, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons talked to reporter Connie Chung on CNN about the tragedy of the fire and about the use of pyrotechnics by music acts and how if safety standards are met, they can make a show more enjoyable for the audience.
In August of 1992 during a performance in Montreal, Quebec, James Hetfield of the band Metallica was severely burned by a large burst of flame while the band performed their song "Fade to Black". Hetfield suffered 3rd degree burns over one arm, part of his chest and his face. The band were forced to cut their performance short after only 50 minutes, but promised to return to Montreal to finish the show. (Subsequently, the other headlining act, Guns N' Roses, cut their own performance short when lead singer Axl Rose walked off stage in a fit of temper, leading to riots in the city.) Hetfield later commented that somehow his coordination with his practiced position onstage had become confused, causing his injuries.