KISS @ LG Arena, Birmingham – 5 May 2010

Easily identified with face paint and flamboyant stage outfits, KISS rose to prominence in the mid 1970s on the basis of their elaborate live performances, and nearly forty years on they’re still not to be missed.

To date, KISS has sold over 40 million albums and been awarded 24 gold discs in the USA, and their worldwide sales exceed 100 million albums. With a stunning new stage show and a 140 minute set-list which stretches from their 1974 debut album ‘Kiss’ to 2009’s ‘Sonic Boom’, the costumed rock superheroes are lowered on to stage on a floating platform amid a hail of pyrotechnics.

“The Demon” Gene Simmons, “The Starchild” Paul Stanley, “The Spaceman” Tommy Thayer, and drummer “The Catman” Eric Singer, launch straight into one of their killer new tracks, ‘Modern Day Delilah’ before plunging back to ‘74 for ‘Cold Gin’.

At the age of 58, Paul Stanley can rock out with the best that present day rock ’n’ roll has to offer. Winning over anybody who is unsure by announcing he will be calling the city “Birming-um” rather than the typical American “Birming-ham“. A task he sticks to for the next 2 hours during a heaven sent performance, for old and new KISS fans alike.

The 20 track set includes: ‘Firehouse’, ‘Deuce’, ‘Crazy, Crazy Nights’, ‘Calling Dr Love’, ‘100,000 Years’, ‘Love Gun’, ‘Black Diamond’, ‘Detroit Rock City’ and ‘Lick It Up’. Tommy Thayer’s guitar fires rockets during ‘Shock Me’ and ‘I Love It Loud’ sees 60-year-old bassist Gene Simmons hoisted high above the stage to the lighting gantry, tongue waggling and dribbling blood.

This is as much about the theatrics as the music. Fireworks, explosions, innovative video screens, a barrage of spectacular lights, and at times Eric Singers drum kit hovering in mid-air. An exciting spectacle although business as usual for KISS. The ultimate showmen in the ultimate heavy rock pantomime.

The show draws to a close with ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ with Paul Stanley taking flight over the crowd to a stage at the rear of the arena, before returning to end with ‘God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You’ and ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’.

With their motto: ‘‘you wanted the best, you got the best’’, and on the eve of our General Election, it was KISS that got the vote from the LG Arena faithful, for a truly fantastic show!

Review & Photography: Steve Johnston

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