June 04, 2010
Sonic Boom Tour Report - Part 1
Review by - Daniel Hill
Pictures by - Daniel Hill & Stuart Bayley

My story starts back in November 2009. Just one month on since blowing every penny I had on my New York KISS Trip, the unthinkable happened. KISS announced 9 dates in the UK/Ireland. Instantly, I made up my mind that I was going to tour all 9 shows, but had no idea how I was going to raise the money. Anyway, with a little bit of hard graft, I managed to purchase all of the tickets and arranged to have the time off work, all by the end of January. Now it was 'research' time.

Anybody that knows me could tell you that there was no way I was 'just' going to do 9 shows. I had to make this my KISS TRIP. Out came the KISS photo album and concertography. After a couple of weeks, I had put together a full UK map of past concert venues, recording studios, photo locations and a couple more cool places in KISSTORY. Some people can't see the point in visiting these places but what the hell, I'm only 25 and didn't get the chance to go to some of these places first time around, so while I'm in the area - Why Not! Also - it may bring back some good memories for some of you readers who have been following KISS since the 70's/80's.

My first stop came a bit sooner than expected. KISS announced a one-off show at the O2 Academy Islington, of course, I had to be there. This also gave me a good opportunity to visit some of the London destinations that I had found.

March 2nd 2010
With many destinations planned for today I decided to set out early and just drive to Slough. Due to traffic and parking in London it was much easier to park here and get the train into London. Here are some of the places I visited along the way...

Birmingham - Odeon Cinema [was once the 'Odeon Theatre'] - (KISS _ May 14th 1976 _ First
UK Tour)

London - Westminster Bridge - (KISS _ 1976 Photo shoot)

London - Buckingham Palace - (KISS _ 1976 Photo Shoot)

London - Hard Rock Cafe - (Bruce Kulick's ESP guitar which he used during the 'Asylum' tour and on the 'Uh All Nite' video)

London - Astoria [demolished, now a building site] - (Ace Frehley _ April 11th 2008 _ Rocket Ride Tour). I was recently informed that all 4 original members of KISS have attended the London Astoria at different periods of time, without make-up (Gene & Paul {Eric S & Bruce}/KISS Convention 1992), (Peter Criss/KISS Convention 1994) (Ace Frehley/Live 2008)

London - The Montagu Pyke [once 'The Marquee'] - (KISS _ August 16th 1988). KISS opened the club with a one-off show, going down in the books as one of the most intimate shows KISS had ever played (until O2 Islington). There is a plaque on the wall inside that gives a brief history of the building. It mentions both 'The Marquee' and the night KISS opened it.

London - Soho Square - (once the UK KISS ARMY Headquarters)

London - Shepherds Bush O2 Empire - (Ace Frehley _ December 17th 2009 _ Anomaly Tour)

London - Townhouse Studios - (where Paul recorded the vocals for 'Lets Put The X In Sex' & 'You Make Me Rock Hard')

London - Hammersmith Apollo [once the 'Hammersmith Odeon'] - (KISS _ May 15th & 16th 1976 _ First UK Tour), (Frehley's Comet - March 19th 1988 - This was filmed for a live video and album)

London - Park Royal Studios - (where KISS filmed the video for 'I Just Wanna'). I was able to take a look in the room where the filming took place and believe me, once you're there, you sure can tell that you're in the right place.

London - Finsbury Park - (KISS _ July 5th 1997 - One Stop Show)

London - O2 Academy Islington - (KISS - Rehearsals - March 1st 2010), (KISS - March 2nd
2010 - One Stop Intimate Show).

Upon arrival, I had a quick chat with some familiar faces from the UK KISS ARMY and then went on a 'stalking mission'. I spent a while or so chatting to security and managed to get a glimpse backstage (before the band arrived). I also managed to get a look at the set list for the the night ahead (wish I hadn't in a way but couldn't resist). An hour or so later, three black cars/vans came past me and went into an underground car park which sits just below the venue. After getting down there as quickly as I could, I only managed to catch a glimpse of Gene and Eric as they entered the building (so basically - a waste of time). Within 15/20 minutes the band hit the stage. Now,
what more can you say about one of the biggest bands in the world playing inside a venue that is hardly big enough for a tribute band, let alone KISS. People all over the globe will tell you that KISS is about the show. Well, tonight they proved that the show is just an added bonus and that the core of the band is solely the music and the fans. With no pyro or special effects, KISS still managed to blow the roof off the joint. The only effect of the night was a burst of confetti during 'Rock And Roll All Nite'. The band then dropped 'Deuce', 'Shout It Out Loud' and 'Lick It Up' from the encore (due to the lack of oxygen in the air after setting off the confetti).

The set list was as follows -
Modern Day Delilah - Cold Gin - Let Me Go Rock 'N' Roll - Say Yeah - Dr. Love - Got To Choose - I
Love It Loud - 100,000 Years - Love Gun - Black Diamond - Rock & Roll All Nite --- Detroit Rock

With 800 fans leaving totally satisfied with a taster of what was to come in the coming months, it was time to head home and just sit in wait for May 1st.

In early April I had to go to Suffolk, due to unfortunate events within the family. Whilst in the area, I
visited the following two places...

Suffolk - Kirkley High School - (where Gene had filmed the second series of Rock School). I got to take a good look around too - I don't know how I haven't been arrested yet!!

Ipswich - Regent Theatre [once the Gaumont Theatre] - (KISS _ October 11th 1984 _ Fourth UK


The day that I had been waiting for had finally arrived and I was acting like a five year old on Christmas morning!! By now, most of you will know that every show played in the UK/Ireland used the same set list and order, the same stunts and timings, the same video screens and even the same banter Paul has with the crowd. Therefore, I will review the show as a whole before I tell you about my best bits on individual days.

First on the bill each night was Las Vegas Rockers 'Taking Dawn'. Pretty damn good if you like that kind of thing but bloody awful if you don't!! Luckily for me, I love Taking Dawn so had a good time listening to these every night. Stand outs for me were 'Endlessly', 'Time To Burn' & 'The Chain'. At approximately 8.45, the lights went down and a recording of Doc Mcghee leading the band to the stage was played on the two side screens and the show began...

ALRIGHT............YOU WANTED THE BEST, YOU GOT THE BEST, THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD, KISS. The curtain dropped and the band instantly kicked in with 'Modern Day Delilah'. Gene, Paul & Tommy entered the stage from up and over the drum kit using more light effects than the Vegas Strip. Both pyro and lighting seemed to be at a minimum as they played 'Cold Gin' and 'Let Me Go Rock 'N' Roll. As the band then started to play 'Firehouse', the stage filled with smoke and every screen had flames across them. This, added to the pyro, made the whole stage appear to be on fire. To end this song, Gene came out to perform his infamous fire breathing routine. Next up was 'Say Yeah' and the crowd sang along to the chorus, like it's a song that they'd known for years (a real highlight for me). Once again, everyone went wild as they started to play 'Deuce', proving that even younger fans love 'Classic KISS'. Next in the set was one that UK KISS fans have wanted to hear live since 1988 (well, some of us); hit single 'Crazy Crazy Nights'. It went down as well as you could expect, with most fans in each city jumping with pure delight. Following this was one of my personal favorites, 'Dr. Love'. Gene's vocals were on top form throughout the whole UK leg of the tour. Tommy was next to take centre stage receiving a warm welcome from the crowd, singing 'Shock Me'. What can only be described as a thunderous solo duet from The Catman And The Space Man followed. Tommy was first up for a lead solo (with drums), playing the guitar behind his back before sending it flying in the air. He then leaves the stage and Eric kicks in with an awesome drum solo. The pounding of the bass drum ripped through the whole of your body. Tommy then returned and fired two rockets from his guitar (one from each side of the stage). Both the Drum kit and the Space Man (on a platform) then rose and Tommy fired a third rocket from his guitar. Popping up from behind his skins, Eric fired a missile from a rocket launcher and blew down part of the lighting rig. All the band then returned as they played new Gene song 'Animal'. This was a lowlight for a lot of fans, but I personally loved it and it got better each night. KISS proceeded with '100,000 Years'. During this song, Paul took over and did the usual swinging of his microphone and stretching of the vocal chords. As the song came to an end, Gene appeared again to perform his even more infamous routine... spitting blood. With blood and drool running from his chin, he flew up into the lighting rig to sing 'I Love It Loud' (personally, I would have preferred to have heard 'God Of Thunder' at this point, but hey, I didn't get to pick the set list). 'Love Gun' followed which was yet another favorite amongst the crowd. Paul continued the show by having a little jam to Led Zeppelin classic 'Whole Lotta Love', which led into 'Black Diamond' with Eric taking over vocals. KISS then closed the first part of their set with 'Detroit Rock City', ending with the drum kit in mid air and the whole band in a still pose for 30 seconds(ish). The band then left the stage.

After 2-3 minutes of watching the lighting technician play with the dimmer switch on the KISS logo, all 4 members of KISS returned to the stage giving a bow and throwing some goodies out to the crowd. The lighting and pyro really kick in now. The band hit off the encore with 'Lick It Up' whilst a montage of KISS albums rolled across the screens. With time getting on, the band performed 'Shout It Out Loud'. Paul then flew over the crowd on a zip wire to perform 'I Was Made For Loving You' on a revolving platform. He then returned back to the stage via the zip wire to play the 1992 hit 'God Gave Rock And Roll To You II'. Not only was this a hit with the crowd, but you've got to give full credit to the guys who put the videos together on the screens. There was a tribute to classic bands such as 'The Beatles', 'Led Zeppelin', 'Rolling Stones'..... and an amazing tribute to the late Eric Carr (definitely a highlight of the show). The video also included many shots of both Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.

The show came to a conclusion with none other than 'Rock And Roll All Nite', sending so much confetti in the air, you could hardly see the stage. Gene and Tommy then rose on individual platforms, as did Eric's drum kit, leaving Paul on the stage to smash his guitar and throw his microphone about once more. The band then come back together at stage level as they say goodnight for a final time and leave the stage with a message on the back screen 'KISS LOVES
YOU......(whichever city you're in).

CLICK here to visit KISS IN UK and read the rest of the story and check out all of the great photos.