Kiss // The End Of The Road World Tour // Live Review // The O2 // London
What really can you say about Kiss after a 50-year career that hasn’t been said before, feels strange as we go to see this legendary band in London for what could really be the last time, could it really be the last time? One more last hurrah perhaps?
Since the band’s explosive debut way back in the 1970’s KISS has more than established itself as one of the most important and iconic bands in American, and global, rock history. Now unbelievably they are calling it a day, and it allows us the opportunity to look back on the legacy this band has left, the carnage In the wake of four decades of life on the road and the fingerprints spread out across modern rock in their shadows.
As I write this review I have just watched an interview between Piers Morgan and Gene Simmons and the little pieces I have often wondered about regarding the journey of this band, start to make sense and fall into pieces. From Gene watching the Beatles for the very first time, the impact of that performance and the ripple effect on the rest of the world of rock as that little kid grew up and pushed the boundaries even further.
The early incarnation of Kiss with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss brought a new level of the spectacular to the world of rock and fast forward 50 years as Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer take to the stage at the O2 Arena, London, none of that magic has diminished whatsoever. Yes, of course in the world of Modern Rock, much like their peers Alice Cooper and even Ozzy Osborne with their antics some of it may be lost in translation, but for those who have been along for the journey, this really is something pretty special.
A KISS concert has always been more than just about the music, the music is why we are there, the spectacle is what keeps us talking for years to come, When the opening bars of ‘Detroit Rock City’ fill the air, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and you know you’re not in Kansas anymore. The evening is filled with the most majestic soundtrack of classic rock songs, but it is the sheer gargantuan extravaganza that envelopes you from the off, the absolute overwhelming barrage on the senses from the stage show, the set, the fireworks and music combined there really isn’t anything quite like a KISS live show. It is a testament to the band that four decades later, their unwavering commitment to their fans to deliver the absolute best show they can every time they step out on that stage, it is mighty impressive. You get the whole nine yards, Gene breathing fire, Paul in flight, Tommy delivering a blistering guitar solo and Eric pummelling those skins like his life depends on it, no quarter given. But as Gene said himself in his interview with Piers, none of this was possible without the other guys in the band, no one man is an island, and he owes so much to his partner throughout this journey Mr Paul Stanley who provides that balance in the world of KISS.
The O2 Arena is treated to an party packed with the most iconic of songs, a legacy that few bands could dream of, fan favourites such as ‘Rock And Roll All Nite”, “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” and of course their majestic cover of Argent’s “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” These songs have touched so many over the years, so many bands have been born out of the love of these great classic tracks, movies have been made, the very music is ingrained in the dna of our daily lives through ad’s on the tv, radio and beyond, computer games and the masters of marketing with over 5000 different lines of merchandise, KISS have led the way from the very front.
As the band wrap up the final few dates on this UK ‘End Of The Road’ Tour, we will all probably need time to catch our breath before we can truly understand what we have just witnessed. True rock greatness in the flesh, it is a bittersweet moment for both fans and band as we let go of one of the truly defining bands of modern-day rock, an opportunity to say thank you on both sides of the fence, for the music and for all the love over five decades. The live shows may be coming to an end, but their music will live on forever.