There’s not much you can say about a group that’s ‘been there, done that, got the T-shirt’ so to speak, but last night’s KISS performance was expectedly audacious, loud, and highlighted why they’re still at the top of their game after 40 years.
Descending from the heavens as they opened with ‘Detroit Rock City’, the masked quartet took a few moments to get their sound together but after that it was hell for leather. The band ripped through song after song, supported by the whole ‘production’ that KISS are famous for. The blend of lights, pyrotechnics, fire, and theatrics are very much a part of the KISS road show and, to be frank, expected at a KISS concert.
The theme of this tour is ‘The Spider’, so they have brought with them a massive arachnid-like metal structure moved by 38 computer controlled winches, featuring 220 automated lights, weighing in at 43,000 kgs, incorporating 900 pieces of pyrotechnics and powered by 400,000 watts of sound.
Singer Paul Stanley interacts with the crowd regularly, and being no stranger to Australia sings the praises of our wine regions. He’s clearly a fitness buff, as he encourages those of us seated to ‘get off our fat asses and stand up’- as you do! Gene Simmons’ towering presence is a spectacle in itself, as it is both he and Stanley that still call the shots with the band’s direction and whole marketing machine. Simmons though, has remained the most outspoken of the group and this shows in his performance on stage. He’s the man!
Both Tommy Thayer (guitar) and Eric Singer (drums) though, are worthy in their roles as the Cat and the Spaceman, identities formerly filled by Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. There’s been a lot of talk about the band’s current relationship with former members, but a video montage of the band’s history, (or KISStory) during ‘Do You Love Me? ’ pays homage to all members past and present in what could be read as a burying of the hatchet. Nonetheless, it was a respectful sentiment and a fine tribute to a 40-year career.
Special guests were The Dead Daisies, a powerful musical collective created by a rotating line-up that features some of the world’s best rock musicians. This tour features Dave Leslie from Baby Animals filling in for Richard Fortus (Guns N’Roses, The Psychedelic Furs), Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake), John Corabi (Mötley Crüe, RATT), Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses, Hookers & Blow), David Lowy (MINK, Red Phoenix) and Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol). These guys were loud and hard, a perfect warm up for KISS and worthy of two thumbs up.
If you’ve never seen KISS perform, don’t wait another 40 years. You’ll be entertained with good old rock music, theatre, and the odd bit of fire and brimstone. These guys don’t just rock- they ARE rock!
Reviewed by Darren Hassan