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 - Smashes, Thrashes & Hits - UK - vinyl LP - £35.00, $48.30, €40.95 (New Item) (arrived 13-Sep-2021 15:56)on September 18, 2021 at 5:55 pm
KISS Smashes, Thrashes & Hits (1988 UK 15-track compilation LP on the Vertigo spaceship label, featuring their greatest hits & a re-recorded version of Beth with Eric Carr on vocals, picture sleeve with lyric inner. The sleeve shows a little light edgewear and the vinyl looks barely played)
- Kiss - Radioactive - Red Vinyl + P/S - UK - 7" vinyl - £15.00, $20.70, €17.55 (New Item) (arrived 08-Jun-2021 16:05)on September 18, 2021 at 5:55 pm
GENE SIMMONS Radioactive (1978 UK limited edition 7" single pressed on RED-EOACTIVE VINYL with Gene picture label, also featuring When You Wish Upon A Star. The sleeve displays some minor general wear with a couple of small nicks on the opening edge, whilst the vinyl looks barely played CAN134)
- Kiss - Kiss - 180gram Smoky Black Vinyl - Sealed - UK - vinyl LP - £49.99, $68.99, €58.49 (New Item) (arrived 23-Mar-2021 11:16)on September 18, 2021 at 5:55 pm
KISS Kiss (2019 UK/EU 10-track LP, a 45th Anniversary Edition of their 1974 debut album pressed on 180-gram Smoky Black Swirl Vinyl - including the singles Nothin' To Lose, Kissin' Time and Strutter. Picture sleeve factory sealed from new)
- Kiss - Lick It Up - Dutch - vinyl LP - £15.00, $20.70, €17.55 (New Item) (arrived 26-Mar-2021 12:50)on September 18, 2021 at 5:55 pm
KISS Lick It Up (1983 Dutch 10-track vinyl LP, the eleventh studio album from the American rock band, lyric printed inner & glossy picture sleeve featuring an image of the band without make-up. Apart from a sticker mark on the back the sleeveshows only light wear whilst the vinyl remains excellent with only light evidence of play)
- Kiss - Calendar 1998 - Oliver Books Original Pack Of FIVE - UK - calendar - £45.00, $62.10, €52.65 (New Item) (arrived 31-Mar-2021 12:29)on September 18, 2021 at 5:55 pm
KISS Calendar 1998 - Oliver Books Original Pack Of FIVE (This is an original SEALED pack of FIVE Oliver Books spiral bound UK calendars produced for 1998. Shrink wrapped and sealed from original and the last pack from an archive)