GIG REVIEW: AT WEMBLEY
May 14, 2010
When I first saw KISS 2 years ago at Download 2008 it seemed like a total one-off. A singular date, no plans to record any new material and a set relying on the seminal Alive album. It was a hell of a show but I was left with the feeling that was the one and only time I would see the 'Hottest Band In The World' in a live environment.

Fast forward 2 years and not only have KISS just completed the UK leg of their new European tour they are doing it on the back of a new (and acclaimed by both fans and critics) album in 'Sonic Boom'.

When KISS first announced the tour though myself and friend Andrew sort of just left it. We had heard the album and knew how brilliant it was and obviously we knew what an amazing live act KISS were but we just sort of left it. Until about 2 months ago when we realized how annoyed and miserable we would feel if we were sat at work or at home knowing KISS were playing live in our country!

So off we headed to the sold out Wembley Arena on the last night of the UK leg of the (deep breath) 'Sonic Boom Over Europe: From The Beginning To The Boom Tour'.

After getting there we were pleasantly suprised to find the merchandise stand outside the arena, which would save valuable time in getting a good spot at the front. After getting our shirts we waited just under 2 hours outside and were let in about quarter past six.

But before we could see KISS there was the small matter of the support band Taking Dawn. While this were OK, their music was quite average and generic and you could plainly see the only reason they got this slot was due to the influence of their record company the ever powerful Roadrunner Records. Not even the singer jumping off the stage into the crowd at the end of their set (which closed with a painful cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain') could keep the interest up.

A few minutes after they had vacated the stage the huge KISS curtain dropped and we had the agonizing wait for the band to hit the stage...then the lights went down and this happened...

Launching into the first track from 'Sonic Boom' Modern Day Delilah was a fantastic opener that sent the crowd into a frenzy with the entrance over Eric Singer's drumkit.

Proving it was from 'The Beginning' they continued with a song from the self titled first album - Cold Gin and followed that with other early gems Let Me Go, Rock N' Roll and Firehouse.

It was back to the Boom for the album closer Say Yeah which was then followed by another cut from the debut album with the brilliant Deuce.

Then it was suprise time. A song that the band aren't massive fans of (and this was proved by Gene Simmon's rather bored backing vocals) but it is KISS' biggest selling single in this country. Of course I mean Crazy, Crazy Nights. A song also that hasn't been played on any tour since the Hot In The Shade Tour of the late 80s or possibly the Revenge tour of the early 90s. It went down a storm.

After another 70's era highlight in Calling Dr. Love it was Tommy Thayer providing vocals for Shock Me which led into Tommy's guitar solo and Eric Singer's drum solo. Which included both of them being levitated on platforms and shooting rocket launchers. Brilliant.

The final new song of the evening was I'm An Animal and then it was Paul Stanley's brilliant vocal display in the "song we always play...because it's good!" 100,000 Years.

Instead of going up to the rafters for 'God Of Thunder' Gene Simmons now goes up to I Love It Loud after his blood spitting bass solo. Our position was such that we would have got cramp if we looked up at him for too long. It's a great song though from the often forgotten 'Creatures Of The Night' album.

The hits kept rolling with Love Gun, Black Diamond (which included a segment of Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin) and the main set closed with the ubiquitous Detroit Rock City.

After a brief break KISS returned promising "the longest encore you've ever seen". It wasn't but it was the most brilliant!

Kicking off with the title track from 1983's Lick It Up they carried on the one of rock musics ultimate party tracks Shout It Out Loud before Paul Stanley got on the zip line to the back of the arena for the always fantastic I Was Made For Lovin' You.

Another big suprise was the inclusion of God Gave Rock And Roll To You a song not heard on these shores since the early 90s! I remember this song when it first came out (Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey!) and it was just mind blowing to hear it live. I may have welled a bit.

What else could KISS finish with but Rock And Roll All Nite? And that they did, blasting the arena with confetti cannons...I swear I must have ingested a couple of pounds of the stuff.

It was a hell of a show, and surpassed the Download 2008 performance by a mile! Paul did promise they would return and I hope they do. He is 58 now (you wouldn't know it from the nights performance) so they can't leave it THAT long!

Although to be honest I never thought I'd see KISS once let alone twice, and the second time sop close so I can always live with that.

That setlist in full...

Modern Day Delilah
Cold Gin
Let Me Go, Rock N' Roll
Firehouse
Say Yeah
Deuce
Crazy, Crazy Nights
Calling Dr. Love
Shock Me (with Tommy and Eric solo's)
I'm An Animal
100,000 Years
I Love It Loud (With Gene's solo)
Love Gun
Black Diamond
Detroit Rock City
Lick It Up
Shout It Out Loud
I Was Made For Lovin' You
God Gave Rock N' Roll To You
Rock And Roll All Nite