"I Was Made For Lovin' You... poses the question, 'Can you get enough of me?' Answer: never."
A KISS face-painted fella, complete with half-up/half-down topknot à la Gene Simmons, skates past commuters wandering down Olympic Boulevard en route to Rod Laver Arena. Inside the venue, and on closer inspection, some of the face paint looks like it's come outta cheap-arse horror showbags.
Joe Perry lookalike/former Mötley Crüe replacement singer and now frontman with The Dead Daisies, John Corabi sports very LA patchwork pants and boasts a killer set of pipes. Drummer Brian Tichy's mad stick tosses draw gasps. Hang on, there's a guitarist onstage whose hair doesn't seem quite long enough to fit the bill. And soon enough we're told Dave Leslie from Baby Animals is filling in for the band's guitarist (who also plays guitar for Guns N' Roses) Richard Fortus who's out of action following a motorcycle accident. The Dead Daisies are a well-oiled vintage machine, but there's always familiarity in their riffs - is that Smoke On The Water, Rose Tattoo's Bad Boy For Love or maybe even The Jean Genie? And then they actually play a cover: the Mötley Crüe version of Helter Skelter by The Beatles - yes! Then bass player Marco Mendoza rips open his vest to reveal a hairy-but-ripped torso just before exiting the stage.
During intermission, a punter is spotted next to the bar queue in full Vinnie Vincent makeup, complete with "Can You Spare Some Change?" cardboard sign hanging around his neck.
"ALRIGHT, MELBOURNE! YOU WANTED THE BEST..." And this crowd knows the spiel so well that they yell the rest of the words together with Paul Stanley. The KISS curtain drops, the entire band is up on top of The Spider stage contraption. Flames fire up on cue, pyros detonate and we're away. The Spider lowers KISS to stage level. Stanley wags his tongue about with a plectrum stuck to it then spits it out long distance into crowd. Synchronised guitarography continues to thrill and this band's guitar artistry is outstanding even if you take away the theatrics. And those platform shoes!!!!
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Gene Simmons has gotta travel with his own mic considering the amount of tongueys he gives it throughout the evening. Drummer Eric Singer pouts in his Catman makeup, his mouth pursed into a perfect catsbum impersonation. The War Machine visuals are next-level: a Stormtrooper-inspired, KISS-themed droid army. There's an onscreen montage of ex-members, including footage of the KISS 'sans makeup' phase during Do You Love Me. Those green and white lasers cut through the air like space needles. Fireworks coming outta guitars, Simmons' gnarly blood capsules, Stanley flying over the crowd to land on a spinning platform/second stage hovering above the sound desk - it's all here! Stanley tells us that with the weather changing we'd better watch out for "rock'n'roll pneumonia" and then (segue alert) calls on Dr Love. We all Lick It Up. It's true that those who remain seated do have fat asses (as Stanley points out). And we all wanna fly over the crowd with Stanley.
The KISS encore kicks off with Shandi and Melbourne is in fine voice tonight, as further demonstrated during Shout It Out Loud. The killer double-demolition of I Was Made For Lovin' You - which poses the question, "Can you get enough of me?" Answer: never - and Rock And Roll All Night is everything and as confetti canons explode, all our rock'n'roll dreams come true. Then as we try to move into the aisle toward the exit, we notice a flame still burning away onstage. A sizzling spectacular.