"Some came to Kiss to remember; some came to Kiss to forget."
There's nothing like seeing an iconic band and thinking, 'well that was probably the last time' only to have them dutifully return to play again. Kiss are that band and while their last show here was only two-and-a-half years ago, Perth Arena was pretty much packed out with a diverse membership of the Kiss Army.
Having toured with the headliner on US dates as well as the annual Kiss Kruise, The Dead Daisies were well placed to open for the hottest band in the world. A strange moving collective of rockers-with-rocksteady-credentials, John Corabi (Motley Crue, Union) has taken over the vocal reins from the beleaguered Jon Stevens, and usual guitarist Richard Fortus (Guns N' Roses) was replaced by The Baby Animals' Dave Leslie, due to a motorcycle accident in California on the eve of the tour. They've clearly got the credentials on tap however, as their performance was well-received from an audience baying for the group known as 'the hottest band in the world', in spite of being a greatest-hits-of-other-bands set.
Everyone knew that Kiss would be lowered to the stage on body of the infamous Spider Stage, but knowing it would happen didn't diminish the impact of this ever-epic intro. In a burst of explosions and colour bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons and lead guitarist, Tommy Thayer, descended from the Spider as Paul Stanley shouted Detroit Rock City's spectacularly appropriate first verse given the starting time and date: 'I feel uptight on a Saturday night; Nine o'clock the radio's the only light'. It's as classic Kiss as Kiss gets, and when followed with the old 1-2 on the Gene Simmons-led Deuce old fans were in Kiss heaven and newer ones had got a quick schooling in quintessential Kiss.
The likes of Creatures Of The Night, I Love It Loud and War Machine (the latter serving as the point for Simmons' ever-impressive fire-breathing) may have left some casual fans scratching their heads, but the songs, release on 1982's Creatures Of The Night album were written at a point when the band were down, out and finding the hunger that had deserted them in the Kissmania of the late '70s/early '80s. The band obviously enjoy playing them, so there's an intensity in the playing that offsets their potential unfamiliarity (to some) as well as showing off Eric Singer's drumming abilities, which were spot on all night, as were his backing and ghosting vocals, providing sweet spots where four-decades of screaming have lessened Stanley chops.
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While Do You Love Me provided some old-school shakey-time for Stanley's ever gyrating hips-and-ass, the "future classic" Hell Or Hallelujah (from 2012's Monster album and the 'newest' song of the night), brought in the combined - and somewhat abridged - drum and guitar solo from Singer and Thayer... and yes there were rockets. In this duo Stanley and Simmons have musicians who bring it in every time both musically and vocally, not so much imitating their Catman/Spaceman predecessors as assuming the roles.
The big songs rang out: Calling Dr Love saw Simmons in lasciviously tongue-lashing good form. While Lick It Up has occasionally plodded in various tours, the breakdown into The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again is dynamic and classy. Is Simmons' blood drooling classy? Possibly not but when he 'flies' to the top of the roof to sing the lead vocal he's more than won the crowd. And while 1980's Shandi may have been the biggest Australian hit for Kiss, it's still an albatross around the band's neck, as it's difficult to make energetic in band-form and will generally emerge as a Stanley-led crowd singalong... with the wrong chords. The Starchild shook it off and called the band into the classic Gold Gin, followed by Love Gun (whereupon he flew over the crowd on a zipline to a rotating B-stage) and the consummate set-ender, Black Diamond.
Encores at pretty much any concert are a given, but at a Kiss show, they are the law. With the big-three of Shout It Out Loud, I Was Made For Lovin’ You and the fab-finale of Rock n’ Roll All Night, Kiss left Perth Arena awash in fire, confetti and fun, as showman Stanley smashed his guitar to smithereens leading up to a final 'goodnight!'.
Some came to Kiss to remember; some came to Kiss to forget. They all left with new memories as they spilled out of the venue and onto the road. And that's road's name is rock'n'roll.
Originally published in X-Press Magazine