As a life long member of the Kiss army I have witnessed Kiss live on a number of occasions, some of which I have classed as the best shows in the world, others I have walked away asking for my money back, so when the band announced that they were touring Australia once again I really didn't know what to expect. We all have to remember that Kiss had announced back in 2001 that they were doing their farewell tour, I am sorry but I don't think that means you then come back to do three more tours after announcing it's all over! To be honest I am surprised that no one has ever tried to sue the band for doing such acts! Nevertheless Kiss fans were excited to see the band once again returning to the Australian shores to perform at the Melbourne Grand Prix before adding headlining shows in Sydney and Brisbane. Kiss' performance at the Melbourne Grand Prix received rave reviews from fans of all woks of life and the media showcased the show as one of the best Kiss have ever put on in Australia, reports such as that really got me excited to see the band two days later. Everytime Kiss have toured Australia I have always made sure I had some idea of what the set-list was going to be, I always wanted to know about the stage-shows, costumes etc in advance but on this occasion I was in the dark about most of the shows running, I wanted this show to have elements of surprise to it and there were a few.
There is no doubt that promoter Andrew McManus and Kiss have forged a very close friendship over the last few years and it is great to see the band returning even though my opinions at times would have you thinking otherwise. The one thing I can't understand is why the hell you would bill Vanessa Amorosi as the opening act for Kiss, it just doesn't make sense. I understand that she can appeal to a wider audience than some other bands but I am pretty sure most people who attended the show all shared those same thoughts. I can think of at least twenty or thirty other artists I would have much preferred to see opening for Kiss. We all need to remember that the week Kiss played here we also had Immortal, Ozzy Osbourne, and Metalstock happening, and within a few days a massive metal festival was going to take place in New Zealand which also featured Poison, Lordi, and Whitesnake. I have to ask the question... why didn't Kiss double bill with Poison and or Lordi. That would have made for a much more exciting show. As you can imagine I didn't even bother walking in the doors to see Vanessa Amorosi performing, I was there for one band and one band only... KISS!
The seats we had for tonight's show were amazing, first elevation, and second row on Gene's side of the stage, the view was amazing! That infamous introduction music started to play over the P.A. System... There is one thing you can always be sure about and that's when you hear The Who's 'Won't Get Fooled Again' you know it's only a matter of minutes before Kiss are going to take to the stage! As Roger Daltrey and band belted out that classic Yyyyeeeaaahhhh! during 'Won't Get Fooled Again', the black curtain unrolled in front of the stage showcasing a massive Kiss logo and the roar of the crowd was louder than I had witnessed at any previous Kiss concert, I was watching grown men on the floor jumping to their feet with excitement holding each other in their arms jumping up and down screaming. It was hysterical to see, I couldn't help think that this must have been the first time they had seen the band live from the reactions they were expressing. The lights dimmed and the crowd went crazy as the band broke into one of the best songs Kiss could ever open with...'Deuce'! The crowd were on their feet and that is where most stayed for the remainder of this two-hour extravaganza. The band was in fine form, they were tight, in tune, and loud, just the way we love to hear them! The stage was an amazing wall of amplifiers, Eric singer was elevated somewhat in the center of the stage, and Gene, Paul, and Tommy were making use of the stage as if they owned the Acer arena, running from side to side, and full of energy! As Deuce finished the band quickly went into 'Shout It Out Loud' another crowd favourite but a song I could have done without for the umpteenth time. Next on the set-list was 'C'mon and Love Me', I was amazed that this was in the set to be honest. It had been a few years since the band last played this live and it made for a very nice change to hear it once again!
Over the last few years there have been many fans that have constantly slammed Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer for the way they play the classic songs and for wearing the make-up and costumes of Ace and Peter. I somewhat agree that if Kiss are still going to continue then it is time for Gene to let the guys design their own make-up and costumes, but as players, they are truly amazing. No one can deny the fact that Eric Singer isn't an amazing drummer; he has played with the very best of bands from Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, and more recently Avantasia. His drumming skills are far better and beyond those of Peter Criss and he is always fantastic to watch live in concert! When it comes to Tommy Thayer, who better to play Ace Frehley's guitar parts than the man who re-taught Ace his own licks before the 1996 Kiss reunion tour! I thoroughly enjoyed Tommy all round this time much more than the bands 2004 visit, he looked much more comfortable onstage, played a lot of the old guitar solos as Ace would have and yet he seemed to put his own spin on them, which only enhanced the overall feel of the songs!
Between songs Paul would do his usual few minutes of speaking to the crowd which has always bored me, only because he seems to say the same things over and over, show after show! As a vocalist and musician though, I could not fault Paul's performance. There is no doubt this was one of the best performances I have ever seen from Mr. Stanley, and for a man who had recently been suffering with Heart trouble, my hat comes off. The band kicked into one of the worst songs Kiss have ever decided to keep in their set-list, 'Lick it Up', another crowd pleaser but I can think of a million songs I would prefer the band to be onstage playing. Through-out the whole show I was amazed with just how great all four guys played, the clarity of the sound and the amazing lighting and pyrotechnics displays from start to finish. At one point during the show Paul had mentioned that the band were filming all of the Australian shows for a special Television and or Dvd release which will be titled 'Kissteria - Kiss in Australia'. I can only assume that this will feature footage from the bands previous visits going all the way back to 1980 when Kissteria first hit our shores. This is something I can't wait to see.
As the show rolled on, Paul announced to the crowd that Tommy Thayer was going to take lead vocals for then next song. The crowd were going crazy as Tommy walked up to the microphone and yelled Sydney... 'Shock Me'. Tommy did an amazing job of the song, he played it note for note perfect and finished the song at the right time, by this I mean he didn't go into the big long drawn out guitar solo we normally see from Ace Frehley. I think if that had happened a lot of the fans would have written Tommy off as nothing more than a rip-off. His interpretation of the song was very close to the original and it went over very well with the crowd. As much as I enjoyed hearing Tommy singing 'Shock Me' I would have preferred the band go into discussions and playing a song that the band had never performed before such as 'Two Sides of the Coin' or 'Hard Times'. I really believe not only Ace and Tommy fans but Kiss fans overall would have been much more excited about that prospect. No matter how many times you see Kiss live in your life there are certain songs and certain moments during the bands two-hour show that you just never get sick of hearing and seeing. For me these include hearing one of the bands earliest songs 'Let Me Go Rock 'N' Roll', and the entertaining visual effects that follow 'Firehouse'. Let's not forget the mind-blowing introduction to 'God of Thunder'. If there is one thing I can be certain of, it's that no matter how many times I see Kiss live I never get sick of seeing Gene $immons doing the blood-spitting act/bass solo. As a massive horror fan that part of the show is right up my ally. I often wonder how the younger members of the crowd feel when they see that part of the show played out, one of these days I may look for their reactions, that's if I can peel my eyes away from the onstage horror that takes place before me!
Following 'God of Thunder' was another crowd favourite...'Black Diamond'. I have never been a fan of the studio version of this one but live I can't get enough of it. It has always sounded that much heavier live and vocally Eric Singer always does an amazing job of it. I was quite surprised to see 'Black Diamond' in the middle of the bands set. I expected it to be the closing song before the band would have returned for encores, but this wasn't the case. The band broke into 'Love Gun' and like most other fans I was expecting to see Paul fly over the crowd as he had done on the last tour, but he remained onstage for what was a fantastic rendition of a song I could do without. Before Paul introduced 'Detroit Rock City', he told the fans how much he loved Australia and was looking at properties in the double bay area. The week surrounding Kiss' arrival in Australia media had been reporting that Paul was planning on a more permanent move to our great land down under, and now was in front of eighteen thousand people expressing his love for our country and waving around an Australian flag. 'Detroit Rock City' was rally cool live; the band seemed to play it a little faster then on previous tours which really gave the song new life. As the song came to an end the Acer arena lit up as if it was New Years Eve, smoke bombs and pyro going off all over the stage, it was amazing.
The lights stayed down as the crowd went crazy wanting Kiss to return to the stage. The band gracefully walked back onstage to take a bow as Eric Singer went to punch Gene $immons in the nuts jokingly. The band once again thanked the crowd before Paul broke into a version of 'Shandi', followed by what I class as one of the worst Kiss songs to ever be recorded 'I Was Made for Lovin You'. Not since the 1980 Australian concert have I heard a version of this song that I have enjoyed. To me it's a waste of four minutes of music, but the majority of the crowd would certainly disagree with me on this one. Lastly the band closed the show with 'Rock n Roll All Night', I would love to see a Kiss show where this really isn't the last song, but knowing the band so well, it's obvious that those last few minutes are gong to blow your mind! I have no doubts that this Kiss show was the most electrifying performance I have ever witnessed from the band. The stage show was nothing short of phenomenal and the pyro and confetti that filled the arena during 'Rock n Roll All Night' was displayed better than any show I have seen them do in the past!
Overall I really enjoyed this Kiss concert. I have now seen the band eight times and this was by far one of the best performances I have witnessed. I do however have one criticism and that is in regards to the set list! Kiss announced this tour as the 35th anniversary tour and yet very little of those years were covered. I do hope that if Kiss does decide to tour once more that they have an online poll for fans to choose from thirty songs they would want to hear live! I have no doubt that we will always hear 'Rock N Roll All Night', 'I Was Made For Lovin You' and 'Detroit Rock City', but it would be killer if the band decided to change it up some more and add songs such as... 'Mr Speed', 'Two Sides Of The Coin', 'Trial By Fire', 'Rise To It', 'Thou Shall Not', 'It's Alright', 'Nothin' To Lose', 'The Oath', 'Raise Your Glasses' and 'Partners In Crime'. I doubt Kiss fans will disagree with that! If you missed Kiss on this current tour I sure hope for your sake that they return once more.
Shout It Out Loud
C'mon and Love Me
Lick It Up
I Love It Loud
Calling Dr. Love
Shock Me (Tommy on vocals)
Let Me Go Rock 'N' Roll Firehouse
God of Thunder
Black Diamond (Eric on vocals)
Detroit Rock City
I Was Made For Lovin' You
Rock n Roll All Nite
Fri 05/09/08 Oberhausen, GER Oberhausen Arena
Sun 05/11/08 Munich, GER Olympiahalle
Mon 05/12/08 Vienna, AS Wiener Stadthalle
Tue 05/13/08 Verona, ITA Arena
Fri 05/16/08 Sofia, BUL Akademic Stadium
Sun 05/18/08 Athens, GRE Terra Vibe
Thu 05/22/08 Riga, LAT Arena Riga
Sat 05/24/08 Moscow, RUS Olympiysky Stadium
Mon 05/26/08 Saint Petersburg, RUS SKK Arena
Tue 05/27/08 Helsinki, FIN Hartwall Arena
Wed 05/28/08 Helsinki, FIN Hartwall Arena
Fri 05/30/08 Stockholm, SWE Stockholm Stadion
Sat 05/31/08 Oslo, NOR Valhal
Sun 06/01/08 Bergen, NOR Koengen
Tue 06/03/08 Copenhagen, DEN Forum
Wed 06/04/08 Hamburg, GER Color Line Arena
Fri 06/06/08 Prague, CZE O2 Arena
Mon 06/09/08 Berlin, GER Velodrom Arena
Tue 06/10/08 Mannheim, GER SAP Arena
Wed 06/11/08 Oberhausen, GER Oberhausen Arena
Fri 06/13/08 Castle Donington, UK Donington Park
Sun 06/15/08 Nijmegen, NET Goffertpark
Tue 06/17/08 Paris, FRA Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy
Wed 06/18/08 Stuttgart, GER Hanns Martin Schleyer Halle
Sat 06/21/08 Bilbao, SPA Kobetamendi
Mon 06/23/08 Zurich, SWI Hallenstadion Zurich
Tue 06/24/08 Assago, ITA DatchForum
Thu 06/26/08 Luxembourg, LUX Rockhal
Fri 06/27/08 Nuremberg, GER Arena
Sat 06/28/08 Dessel, BEL Festival Grounds