June 14, 2010
By Jonna Palmer Jeppsson
Photo by Pontus Tideman

Kiss. Stadium, Malmo, 6.13

As much as we wanted to see a dignified Sweden rock finale, we never got it from Guns N 'Roses. Less than 24 hours after Axl Rose left his audience with a sense of emptiness in their bodies, many, many people were finally swept into that much-longed-for rock dream when the KISS circus roared in to Malmo Stadium.

The band's intro movie on the big screens already set the bar: a Gene Simmons of Godzilla-size stomping around in a big city is a pretty good metaphor for the band as phenomenon. Subtle they are not, but you can not possibly take your eyes or ears off of them.

Whether it is Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer or Arne Hegerfors and the Dalai Lama who hide behind Catman and Spaceman makeup doesn't interest us -- Kiss is a brand and a lifestyle, where space and content are the same thing. The band delivered a super-choreographed spectacle and it felt as if four superheroes were on the scene.

To be honest, is there anyone who has not fantasized about being Gene Simmons for a day, though for different reasons now than when we were young? As the intro to the beefy "I Love It Loud" played, he lit up in neon green, gurgled blood, the bass roared and he flew up to a platform above the stage. Parents who were smart enough to take their ten year old said that Gene turned him into a lifetime member of the Kiss Army tonight.

As darkness falls, it strengthens the feeling of being in a rock video from 1986. The drum podium's flying up in the air, the bang and smoke look ultra-cool when all four members are simultaneously displayed on the monitors in "Detroit Rock City" (the previous "Black Diamond", by contrast, among tonight's best riffs.)

The sea of spectators looks like a starry sky during the ballad "Beth" (Singer performs it nicely and hundreds of heads tilt gently onto anyone's shoulders) It is the first encore of six - way to go, KISS, for giving fans' wallets value for their money, a business strategy that more musicians (yes, Axl, I'm talking to you) should learn.

After closing with "Lick It Up," "Shout It Out Loud", "I Was Made For Loving You" "God Gave Rock'n'Roll To You II" and "Rock and Roll All Nite" I stand there with confetti for eyelashes and feel that now, now, my five day weekend of rock got its perfect closure.