By Phil Ashdown.
Kiss are finally calling it a day. Billed as the ‘Final Tour Ever’ this tour is The End Of The Road. Many rock purists mock them as being a brand rather than a band where their legacy is designed and packaged to sell tickets to the shows that in turn sells the merchandise. And they may have a point. Nobody is interested in new Kiss music, they exist as a live band and have always been infamous for the biggest, most bombastic spectacles in the genre.
My particular feelings on Kiss started as a 16-year old in 1976, with approaching exams and thoughts of what the Summer of ’76 would bring. Through the music press of the day (Sounds, NME and Melody Maker) my friend and I had read about this American rock band that wore character make-up and wore costumes with 7-inch platforms, breathed fire, rocket firing guitars and more explosions than your average Bond movie set. Having seen Queen at Christmas the previous year we decided to make our way to Hammersmith Odeon to check them out on their second of two dates at the iconic venue on the Destroyer Tour. We bought tickets from the box office in the afternoon so it clearly wasn’t a total sell-out. What we saw that night took our breath away and was partly to blame for my life-long love of rock music and attending live shows. This was Kiss’ first UK tour and some 43 years later I decided to see them for one final time at London’s O2 Arena.
Along with the other 20,000 fans packed into the arena tonight I knew exactly what to expect, a spectacular entrance, massive amounts of pyro, incredible stage show, choreographed stage moves, Gene would fly to the top of the lighting rig, Paul would zipline to a smaller stage near the console, Tommy’s guitar would shoot sparks and Eric would have his drum solo spot. They may use occasional backing tapes to assist with sound quality but what you do get at a Kiss show is a bloody good time.
From the moment they hit the stage descending on floating platforms from one of the best designed lighting rigs I’ve ever seen, the band are on top form and clearly loving every minute. Paul and Gene’s voices do suffer on occasion, particularly in the higher registers but this is a minor gripe as everything in this well-oiled machine ran perfectly. The sound was excellent with old favourites we all came to hear, from opener Detroit Rock City through Cold Gin, War Machine, 100,000 Years and God Of Thunder sounded fresh and meaty as ever.
Other tunes such as Psycho Circus and Say Yeah were so much better than their rather lackluster studio versions. Yes at times it became a bit pantomime and they certainly could have done without drummer Eric Singer sitting solo at a piano to deliver the ballad Beth, but I suppose it gave the other guys a chance to have a rest.
A Kiss show is all about spectacle. Simmons breathed fire using his flaming sword, spewed blood and he even has his own hydraulic platform for God Of Thunder, raising him up almost to the roof. Drummer Singer also has a drum set that raises high above the stage as flames and fireworks explode around him.
The night came to a close with Crazy Crazy Nights with giant Kiss balloons released above the crowd and during Rock And Roll All Nite accompanied by the loudest explosions I’ve ever heard and a blizzard of confetti sprayed over the entire arena floor that must have kept the cleaners busy for a week, followed by Simmons and Thayer taking a ride over the audience at the end of giant cranes!
If this really is the final farewell then they certainly went out in style.
And yes it did take me back to that 16-year old of 1976 and I left the venue with a feeling that we will never see their like again.
EIL.COM Favourite Music Update Rare CDs, CD Singles, Rare Records, Vinyl Records, Albums and Music
- Kiss - Unmasked - US - vinyl LP - £15.00, $18.75, €16.80 (New Item) (arrived 30-Aug-2020 16:57)on September 21, 2020 at 1:17 pm
KISS Unmasked (1980 US 11-track LP with picture labels, housed in a great cartoon picture sleeve. The cover is Excellent with some minor shelf wear & no deletion cuts, the vinyl grades VG+/EX- with a few faint paper hairlines not upsetting play NBLP7225)
- Kiss - Reason To Live - UK - 12" picture disc - £20.00, $25.00, €22.40 (New Item) (arrived 12-Feb-2020 15:38)on September 21, 2020 at 1:17 pm
KISS Reason To Live (1987 UK limited edition 4-track 12" Picture Disc EP, also including Who Wants To Be Lonely, Thief In The Night and Secretly Cruel, clear PVC sleeve KISSP812)
- Kiss - Kiss - 180gram Smokey Black Vinyl - Sealed - UK - vinyl LP - £49.99, $62.49, €55.99 (New Item) (arrived 26-Sep-2019 14:08)on September 21, 2020 at 1:17 pm
KISS Kiss (2019 UK & European 45th Anniversary Edition issue of their 1974 10-track debut LP now pressed on 180gram Smokey Black Swirl Vinyl, including the singles Nothin' To Lose, Kissin' Time and Strutter. The vinyl is BRAND NEW & unplayed housed in the picture sleeve which remains sealed within its barcode-stickered shrinkwrap, however there is some light creasing to the top right corner of the sleeve.)
- Kiss - Double Platinum - EX - US - 2-LP vinyl set - £20.00, $25.00, €22.40 (New Item) (arrived 29-Oct-2019 14:53)on September 21, 2020 at 1:17 pm
KISS Double Platinum (1978 US 21-track double vinyl compilation LP, housed in the embossed silvered gatefold picture sleeve. The sleeve has some minor wear and, aside from a few very light paper scuffs, the vinyl is in excellent condition CALD5005)
- Kiss - Kiss: 1977-1980 - US - book - £35.00, $43.75, €39.20 (New Item) (arrived 16-Dec-2019 12:16)on September 21, 2020 at 1:17 pm
KISS Kiss: 1977-1980 (2017 US 336-page 12" x 9" hardback book by award-winning photographer Lynn Goldsmith. This is the definitive photographic chronicle of KISS at the height of their popularity, showcasing the band on and off stage, in the photo studio, and in unguarded candid moments. The book contains a wealth of never-before-seen and previously unpublished photographs and new interviews with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. With a beautiful silver embossed title cover and wraparound colour picture montage belly-band - still sealed)