There was an update to Wikipedia last night that resonated from Scotland under the heading “how to put on a farewell show”. All the previous information was scrubbed with the words see KISS left on the page. This is not going to be topped.
It has been a good few years since KISS have played Glasgow and some of the first words out of Paul Stanley’s mouth were who was at the Glasgow Apollo show in 1983( and who wasn’t born then). That was my first KISS show and they dragged along some young guys who did alright by the name of Bon Jovi and they brought my local heroes Heavy Pettin from the bars to the biggest stage in the city at that time.
Back then you were looking at 3,000 people, tonight it is four times that figure and the place is packed even with Black Stone Cherry playing in the beloved Barras and Edinburgh packed with rock gigs.
As soon as this show was announced there was nowhere else I would have been but if you had told the 16 year old me at that first show that in 36 years I would be saying goodbye to KISS and I would be feet from them with my camera I would have laughed at both counts.
I doubt there is one rock fan out there that has not heard of Kiss, they are gods amongst men, businessmen above all others and performers every single would be rock star out there should strive to be. Every single lesson you need in showmanship, business etiquette and pure fun is portrayed in this show.
As the lights dim and Zeps Rock n Roll plays through the speakers the excitement is rippling through this crowd like the breeze on the massive curtains hiding the stage. The intro tape stopped, the curtain fell and all hell broke loose.
As the band dropped from the ceiling heights to “Detroit Rock City” the flames are going off, fireworks are popping and the massive blockbuster counters dropped from the ceiling with a Starchild, a demon and a spaceman, with the Cat firmly behind his massive kit.
Between the excitement, the shock and trying to take photos the first song passed in a click of your fingers and they went straight into “ Shout it Out loud” and the crowd singing began(and barely let up the whole night). I had cheated and checked out the set list prior to the show and there were a good few surprises for me the first being “Heaven’s on Fire” as the last time I head that was the Anamalize tour back in 1984 and it sounded just as good today as it did then.
With a brief interlude for “War Machine” and Gene breathing fire it is back to the 80s with “Lick it Up” and these songs were real crowd pleasers. The band rejuvenated themselves in this decade and the fans have stuck by them to this day but they also threw a brilliant nugget to the olders ones as they mixed in a quick version of the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled again”.
I do not know who Gene had been talking to today but his Scottish patter was knockout (as was his accent) as his intro to “ Calling Doctor Love” was you are in my hoose noo. As we are wracking up hit after hit and when you actually get a minute to think in-between being frazzled by flames and pyros you realise just how incredible the sound is tonight. The Hydro is well known for some iffy
sound performances but tonight is perfection. Stanley is in fine form and 100% better than the last time I saw them at Download and Hellfest.
Every piece of tonight has been meticulously planned from the photographers briefing(this never happens) and every second of the show. As we get to Tommy Thayer’s guitar solo this becomes intensified to the max. With a mix of musicianship and space invaders it takes Frehley’s popping guitar to new heights as he fires at the floating video screens and blows them up…yes, this is the show to end all shows.
The solos came in a trio as Gene came last(thats what all the women say) and intensified the proceedings as he took to his flying stage in hellish red light, smoke and as “God of Thunder played the blood flowed”. The full effects on all the video screens was incredible.
We have seen Paul flying on a wire for decades now but it never fails to put a smile on your face. He starts by asking to be invited into the crowd and after enough begging by us he flies over our heads and lands on the small, elevated stage right in front of the cheap seats. He then proceeds to burst out “Love Gun” and “I was Made For Loving You” (or the disco song as it is known). I have to say I never liked this song but live it is a different animal as are the band who really do not look like they are ready to wrap up a career….c’mon guys, its only 4 years till the 50th anniversary.
I suppose the biggest surprise to all was as the encore kicked off and we are looking at Eric Singer at the front of the stage behind a piano as he completely nailed “Beth”, one of my favourite tracks and probably the least played song live for my liking. I would go home happy right now but the guys are about to put Rammstein’s monthly pyro quota into two songs as they close with “Crazy Crazy Nights” and a jaw dropping rendition of “Rock and Roll All Nite” that saw Tommy and Gene go out on spinning platform and saw them have a plectrum(pick) fight when they got close enough to each other before the flames, the pyros, the balloons, the confetti and the explosions closed out the show.
How this band are doing this at their age and in those costumes is bemusing…and begs the question what year did they sell their soul to the devil to be going so strong and with the biggest show, the most amount of merch sold and most importantly the craziest and most loyal fans in the world.
If you missed these shows you are an idiot as it really was a visual and sonic masterpiece. This is your rock Super Bowl, your world cup or your wimbledon. These boys have been with me for a very long time and I am happy and honoured to call myself a fan and all I can say is thank you for the music, the shows and the sheer enjoyment…you showed a spotty teenager what this business is about and now sitting here at over 50 I cannot believe how you bowed out. People will say it is all about money but no, this is about music and it is about the fans and right now I would tell you I would triple tonights ticket price to see that all over again.
Review by Ritchie Birnie
Photography by Metal Planet Music