You wanted the best, you got the best, the hottest band in the world – KISS!
1987 was a pretty significant year for me – purchasing my first proper album – Kiss’s Crazy Nights, one that was soon followed by vinyls from Motorhead and Anthrax, but it was Kiss performing “Crazy Nights” on TOTP that turned me on to rock music and metal music. Despite many years of going to gigs KISS have remained the single band I’d never seen live but wanted to – I was in Norway last time they hit the UK, and UK shows have been scarce but at Birmingham NEC tonight they didn’t disappoint.
Arriving at Birmingham NEC the Demon and Starchild followed us into the car park, two of an army of demons, starchilds and spaceman – some wisely had clearly not fancied the train journey with Kiss paint on and were sat near the station on benches decorating themselves. Being at a Kiss concert dressed as the demon would be totally normal, but I guess standing on a commuter train the same would not apply.
Our seats were in block 3 which was to the right of the stage and pretty close. Support band “Taking Dawn” who at times reminded me of Skid Row seemed to suffer from poor sound to start with but finished off with a hard rocking version of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”. Black curtain down with the KISS logo and the excitement started to build, looking down many folks in full KISS costumes and makeup were on the floor below, a fantastic photo opportunity for others.
To say huge would be an understatement for the sort of stage show Kiss had set up. Birmingham NECs stage had never looked so big and following the “You want the best you got the best” introduction through the mist and pyrotechnics Kiss appear on a platform being transported over the drum riser onto the stage. Bang. And Bang. Platforms, stage suits, fire and more explosions with the first track of the night being Delilah from Sonic Boom.
Second track Cold Gin – possibly one of my favourite Kiss songs was just amazing to hear live – I’ve seen it played by Kiss tribute bands but Gene’s thumping live bass and vocal and Paul’s dancing across the stage strut with mirrored flying V were worth ‘ ticket price alone. Crazy Nights was a rare treat – of all the concert DVDs I’ve seen of Kiss I think it’s a rare song to hear live. Another set of pyrotechnics, and then hit after hit – Love Gun, Firehouse, Dr Love, Lick it Up, Black Diamond..
Gene – who earlier was h fire returns for a bass solo and then disappears up into the overhead lighting rig for “I Love it Loud” – a song to which the whole arena sing along, true lyrics for us all.
Tommy Thayer’s guitar antics saw rockets flying from his guitar – Eric Singer who’s drum kit was now floating above the stage produces a bazooka and shoots a pyro into the ceiling.
The encore saw Paul flying over the crowd on a wire and landing on a special platform near the mixing desk to the disco beats of “I was Made For Loving You”, the pace slowed for God Gave Rock N Roll to you and they finished with Rock N Roll all night.
For over two hours Kiss rocked Birmingham – no question, the show was huge. Even stadium shows I’ve seen didn’t come close to the hugeness of KISS tonight. It was a crazy crazy night.
KISS Online – http://www.kissonline.com/
Live recordings from the tour – http://simfylive.com