Aw you guys, I wish you could have heard him play. I really can't see how it can get any better than that!
OK, when other pianists criticise Kissin, there's a certain component of jealousy. We all wish we had his superpowers when it comes to physical mastery of the instrument. So I've been holding my tongue, not commenting in this thread for fear that it would sound like sour grapes. I can't do what he does, so how dare I criticise?
I have heard Kissin play live, and it was indeed awesome. I was deeply impressed. But I've also heard Pollini play live, and the physical side of playing the instrument was very much in the background, secondary to the revelations about the music itself. It was simply on a different plane. I don't know whether Pollini could play, say, Feux Follets
as quickly and as prettily as Kissin can, but such questions don't seem to matter.
So, with regards to Kissin's playing, you ask how could it get any better than that? I could say that Pollini (and a few others) changed my life, whereas Kissin merely impressed me.