Right on time, the lights go down, the crowd start to warm up and the large screens show Google earth zooming in on the LG Arena followed by footage of Kiss walking through the backstage area, heading for the stage. Over the speakers comes the infamous statement, “You wanted the best, you got the best.
The hottest band in the world”, after which, the band enter the stage on top of a raised platform, surrounded by an array of lights and dry ice; the atmosphere around the arena erupts. Kiss are renowned for their amazing stage shows which have been dazzling the world on and off for the past 30 years; and tonight’s performance, as part of the Sonic Boom Over Europe Tour, is no exception. The band start with the opening track from their new album, Modern Day Delilah, a song which sticks to the Kiss formula of a solid guitar riff and a catchy chorus. Eric Singer’s drum kit stays raised above the stage, whilst the other three members strut around the stage, in their platforms, simultaneously pulling various poses to assist the pit of photographers and drawing the audience into the circus that is Kiss.
The set chops and changes between classic Kiss tracks, such as Cold Gin and Deuce, and tracks from the latest album, such as Say Yeah. Each song is complimented with an exuberant lightshow which is visually stunning and makes you question whether we are in a recession, for example Firehouse ends with sirens and lights whirring whilst Gene Simmons undertakes some fire breathing. Both Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, the two constant members of Kiss, know exactly how to draw everyone in the audience into the show, with their extraordinary talent of shaming you into participating by making you feel like you are the only one not involved.
Throughout the show, the crowd are asked to take part in a variety of tasks from shouting on cue to clapping to raising your hands in the air and you can’t help but give it your all, out of respect for the energy and vigour that the performers are exuding; well, it’s the least you can do considering what they are giving to you! For the time they are on stage, Kiss do not let the pace drop for a minute, various members come and go to allow others demonstrate their skills, such as Tommy and Eric’s duet that involves dramatically shooting out parts of the lighting rig and Simmons’ infamous blood spitting escapade, which gives their fellow bandmates a well earned if not minimal break. The main set includes some outstanding tracks, such as Calling Dr Love and I Love it Loud, which sees Simmons on a platform in the dizzy heights of the arena, and surprisingly, the track that didn’t enthuse the audience, as much as I expected, was Crazy Crazy Nights.
After 90 minutes, the band finish the set with the anthemic Detroit Rock City, leaving the audience in no doubt that they will return, as some key songs are obviously absent. Needless to say, after a short interlude, the band return to the stage with the 80’s classic Lick It Up, which, part way, through segues briefly into The Who’s Who Are You. The encore continues with the upbeat Shout It Out Loud, followed by Stanley flying over the crowd to a podium to sing the song of the night, I Was Made For Lovin’ You. This track is a true Kiss classic, which sees the podium rotating and demonstrates Paul Stanley can still reach those high notes whilst rousing the audience into a dancing, singing frenzy.
The concert finishes with the clichÃ©d God Gave Rock’n ‘ Roll To You, which could have easily been replaced with a number of superior songs such as Do You Love Me?, and the finale, Rock’n’Roll All Nite, that saw the arena covered in ticker tape and a sea of outstretched arms paying the ultimate respect to the rock legends.
After two hours of a visual and aural onslaught, I can barely speak, due to all the singing and shouting, and I have arm ache from having my hands in the air for most of the evening, but do I care one iota? Not at all, I am just gutted that it is all over and I have to return to normality.
Kiss are like Las Vegas, you have to open your arms, embrace the cheese and jump right in! As Paul Stanley states, Kiss aren’t there to tell you how to live your life or to present a political agenda, let alone make you feel guilty for the deaths of African children like some other well known rock stars … Kiss are there to entertain! And I can categorically say, that you will not see a finer, more exuberant live show anywhere in the world and that going to see Kiss should be something that everyone does before they die.
Review – Toni Woodward
Photos – Steve Gerrard