March 04, 2013
Excerpted from the review by Words Ian Bell. Photos by Rodney Magazinovic


Every great fairytale starts with Once Upon a Time. When you hear those words you know immediately you are about to be taken on a journey to strange and mystical places. If you allow yourself to suspend your belief and ignore the fact nothing in a fairytale is real, you will meet strange creatures, go on amazing adventures, there will be drama, colour and heart pounding action. A good fairytale will leave you exhausted and happy.

When the lights go down and a voice booms "ALRIGHT ADELAIDE - YOU WANTED THE BEST YOU GOT THE BEST, THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD - KISS!", it is rock'n'roll's finest Once Upon A Time.

Clearly the choice of signing the big drawcard double bill of KISS and 80's metal dudes MOTLEY CRUE to headline the final race day concert was a smart one for the Clipsal. It was the first time the event has been completely sold out and the Kiss t-shirts almost outnumbered the Ford and Holden ones.

After a break it's time for the main event. The 'Hot Zone' down the front has filled up and the rest of the concert area is packed with the biggest crowd for any concert in the races history. After their 'once upon a time' the giant KISS curtain drops and Kiss are descending from the top of the stage on a flying stage, while explosions are going off all around, they are ripping into Detroit Rock City the opening track from Destroyer, their fourth (and some might say best) album. It is great. As a life long fan who has seen them play many times, for the writer, this never gets old. For the first three songs bass player Gene Simmons, guitarist Paul Stanley and guitarist Tommy Thayer (Ace Frehley left many years ago), mug shamelessly at the photographers. They know the value of their being great shots of them out there and as you can see from the Mix102 photographs from the event, every shot is a winner. Shout it Out Loud, Calling Dr Love and Firehouse lead into I Love it Loud with Gene leading a mass sing-a-long.

When a classic band says they are going to play something off their new album, it's often time to nip off to the loo, but the blistering version of Hell or Hallelujah from the latest album Monster is excellent (as is the rest of the album). The title track from the 1998 album Psycho Circus is also amazing. Tommy Thayer takes centre stage for Out of the World, which leads to Simmons bass solo, with him spitting blood all over the stage and then being winched up to the top of the lighting rig to do God of Thunder. I have seen this over a dozen times and it is still super exciting even though I know it is ridiculous. Paul Stanley sing an acoustic version of Shandii a massive hit in Australia in 1980 from the Dynasty LP. At the end of this he realises there is a fire in the lighting rig, and there is a slight hold up while the rig is lowered and fire extinguished. Stanley sings part of The Doors Light My Fire and then Kiss's own Heavens on Fire to fill in time. Once things are back to normal, they surprise us with Crazy Nights, which rarely gets an airing since they put the make-up back on in 1996. Gene sings a ferocious War Machine before Paul Stanley flies over our heads to the mixing tower to sing Love Gun. Drummer Eric Singer takes lead vocals on Black Diamond, and there is a smidge of Stairway to Heaven thrown into the middle. Masses of explosions and they wave goodbye.

They return to do Lick it Up (including the middle eight from The Who's Won't get Fooled Again), before cranking up the massively popular I Was Made for Loving You. To close the night they play the rock'n'roll national anthem. Rock & Roll All Nite, was released in 1975 and is such a fantastic, catchy, rockin' song, that is utterly irresistible. The stage is complete obscured by mountains of confetti cannons going off either side of the stage and at the mixing tower. Paul smashes his guitar, everybody in the hot zone is dancing and singing, it is fantastic. Then there's fire works.

The thing about seeing KISS is, that it is almost like seeing a Broadway show. You pretty much know what songs they are going to do, and which order. You know there are going to various set pieces that occur, (blood spitting, fire-breathing, flying guitarists, etc) and you know they are going to do all the hits and a couple of songs off the new album. You also know if you just let yourself believe it for a couple of hours, then when they say "you wanted the best you got the best, the hottest band in the world" it will actually be true.