KISS 40th Anniversary Tour Review - Melbourne

KISS 40th Anniversary Tour Review

Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – 8 October 2015

Written by The Rock Man / Full Throttle Rock

Over the years I can say that I have been blessed to bear witness to some of the biggest bands in rock history come to Australia to perform. Yet having said that I can also say with hand on heart that I have never found anything that gives me the same kind of thrill and excitement as seeing a KISS show. And so it was that once again I found myself at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena eagerly anticipating what was to unfold.

As the lights go down there is a buzz of electricity that fills the arena; then the KISS battle cry comes roaring over the speakers: “You wanted the best, you got the best. The hottest band in the world… KISS!” In an explosion of pyrotechnics, lights and sound, the black curtain drops and like magic our costumed heroes appear grinding out the opening bars of Detroit Rock City as they stand atop of the massive steel ‘Spider’ construction which occupies the majority of the stage. Slowly the ‘Spider’ begins to lower the band to the stage proper and away we go for a two hour thrill ride which includes many fan favourites including Deuce, Do You Love Me?, Calling Dr. Love and Lick It Up, alongside some of the band’s more recent tunes such as Psycho Circus and Hell Or Hallelujah.

Their 1982 album Creatures Of The Night has long been my favourite KISS recording and I am left in a state of KISS ecstasy as they churn out three killer cuts from that record: the title track, I Love It Loud and War Machine (complete with fire-breathing antics from bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons). Is it possible for this night to get any better? Oh wait… this is KISS; of course it can!

For example, I never get tired at watching frontman Paul Stanley fly through the air on a harness from the main stage to a smaller stage at the back of the arena to embrace the audience and perform Love Gun. Then there is the wickedly brilliant bass solo of Simmons which sees him spurting blood, then soaring high onto the top of the ‘Spider’ stage to belt out God Of Thunder with authority and force. And not forgetting the guitar wizardry of Tommy Thayer with his shooting pyrotechnic effects from his guitar. The band have mastered these theatrics over decades and they simply never get old. As they work a few more classics, the band bring the main set to a close with Black Diamond which sees drummer Eric Singer take control of vocal duties. As the loyal crowd knows this is a massive dynamic song, and with Singer on vocals and in a live setting that dynamic impact is raised ten fold.

After a very short break the band triumphantly returns to the stage. KISS have left just enough room to take this energy charged spectacle to another level as they deliver a bombastic final set which includes a solo acapella version of Shandi performed by Stanley, and then they launch into the heavy hitters Shout It Out Loud, I Was Made For Lovin’ You and the anthemic Rock And Roll All Night.

For music fans who often feel short-changed by artists who don’t deliver value for money with their live performances, KISS does not disappoint. Seeing this band perform live is an awe-inspiring experience; one that stays with you long after the confetti falls and the show moves on to the next City.

The Justin Biebers of the world should take note. You lip sync because it's too hard to sing, dance and breathe at the same time? Last night in Melbourne four men over the age of 50 took to the stage in seven-inch leather heels and they not only managed to sing and move at the same time (shock horror) but they also played instruments, flew through the air, were launched to the roof and rocked the house!

So to all the young artists finding it hard to do more than one thing at a time, get yourself to a KISS concert to see how the big boys do it. That is of course if it's not too hard for you to get there.

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