The godfathers of rock, KISS, announced they were touring Australia in October, 2015 as part of a 40th Anniversary World Tour.
The six-concert tour took off in Perth on October 3, then moved to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle.
The band’s latest show, "The Spider", featured a giant computer-controlled monster arachnid hanging over the stage as part of a 43-tonne set with 900 pyrotechnics and 400,000 watts of sound.
Supporting them were super group 'The Dead Daisies', featuring Richard Fortus from Guns ‘n’ Roses and John Corabi from Motley Crue.
Only two members of the original KISS lineup remain: Paul Stanley, 63, and Gene Simmons, 65, alongside percussionist Eric Singer, now on his third tour of duty in the band, and lead guitarist Tommy Thayer, who joined in 2002.
Concert Review 1
As for Kiss, what can you say that hasn’t been said a hundred times before? There are so few bands these days so self-aware and so gloriously over the top that somehow the well-worn cliché of their performance always manages to suspend disbelief and exceed expectations. As a veteran of just two Kiss shows two decades apart tonight just seems so much more than I could have imagined, or remember. Sure it’s cheesy, sure Paul’s sincerity, which is overwhelming at times seems too much, but in the context of the show it all makes perfect sense.
From Stanley’s pouts and ruffling of his glorious mane, to Simmons’ evil stares and fire-breathing antic Kiss has finally got to that point in their career 40 years on where the parody has become part of the enjoyment of the show. And whilst die-hards may moan about the face-paint worn by Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer – those guys are both an integral part of the spectacle.
Opening with the band descending from ‘The Spider’ the huge stage set the band has brought over to Australia for the first time – almost an update of the old Alive II staging – it’s gloves off; and as the riff from ‘Detroit Rock City’ hits with smoke and lasers and all manner of pyrotechnics in play its going to be a glorious visual as well as aural experience.
Tonight the set-list was spot on, bringing back as it does a slew of mid-period Creatures of the Night material - starting with the title track and adding a rather fine ‘I Love it Loud’ and ‘War Machine’. It’s a welcome surprise interspersed at it is with the vintage: ‘Deuce’ ad ‘Do You Love Me’ (always a favourite that one!) and the newer ‘Psycho Circus’ and ‘Hell or Hallelujah’.
Of course it’s the set pieces that steal a lot of the thunder – from Gene’s blood spitting bass solo, during which he flies back up to the belly of the spider; to his fire-breathing during ‘War Machine’ and Paul’s flying fox visit to the cheaper seats during an impeccable ‘Love Gun’ . But tonight every song had its pyrotechnic accompaniment, and the big screens reflect on the past forty years with some cool shots from the archive.
Closing the main part of the show the much-loved ‘Black Diamond’ still takes some beating. The encores of course were unforgettable: ‘Shout It Out Loud’ giving way to ‘I Was Made for Loving You’ before ‘Rock and Roll all Nite’ and several tons of white confetti closed the set, and opened up the Australia leg of the World Tour. [Review taken from therockpit.net]
Concert Review 2
We wanted the best and, oh man, did we get the best!
As any one of the near-capacity crowd of twenty-thousand who packed into Sydney’s Allphones Arena last night can attest, the power of a KISS show is still immense even after forty years.
Or, perhaps it’s because they've had four decades of experience playing stadiums and arenas – think of that, how many other bands can lay such a claim? Other than the Rolling Stones, not many at all – that Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer know what it takes to grab an audience by the scruff of the neck, buffet them with heavy guitars, thumping drums, flame bursts, lasers, smoke bombs and some of the greatest rock anthems ever written, and send them home happy.
If you were in the audience last night, and you didn't enjoy the show, which ran for a pleasing two hours, you’re either lying to yourself or you hate rock music. KISS know what their fans want, and they deliver in spades. The new spider stage – something you have to see to believe – is the centrepiece of a spectacle that is unrivalled in rock today, and will probably never be topped in the annals of rock music history…except maybe the next time KISS tour.
Of course, Australia has always been a happy hunting ground for KISS, stretching way back to the 1980 tour dubbed Kisteria, but Australians are notoriously fickle when it comes to performing artists not from these shores. Big overseas acts have been roundly panned and abandoned here. Not so, KISS. Despite line-up changes over the years, and a switch from face paint to being unmasked, a few farewell tours, and some more line-up changes, the band still draws a crowd.
It was the band’s third show in as many nights, having played Melbourne twice, and singer Paul Stanley, who’s voice is, let’s face it, not what it used to be, could probably have done with more of a break between performances. His voice was wearing thin towards the end, but the ample supply of Gene Simmons-sung numbers – including ‘War Machine’, ‘I Love It Loud’ and a pulsating ‘God Of Thunder’ sung from the Allphones rafters – saved the show from disaster.
Look, everyone knows that Stanley’s voice isn't what it once was. The people in charge of the tour should have recognised that three shows in a row might not have been the smart move. Stanley was searching hard for the high notes late, and not always finding them. It was a situation that could easily have been avoided. A day or two off and Stanley would've been fine. It’s just as well that KISS aren't playing tonight.
Aside from Stanley’s voice giving up the ghost late, this was a powerful show. I love the new set list that includes a more even split of songs sung by Stanley and Simmons (and Eric Singer’s ‘Black Diamond’ was as good a vocal performance as there was all night) simply because there are some great Gene songs that didn't always get a look in. The afore-mentioned ‘War Machine’, for example. That is a brilliant song to hear live!
Just as you would expect, all the old favourites were there – ‘Detroit Rock City’ to open, as the Spider Stage lowered the band from the rafters to the stage, ‘Lick It Up’, ‘Love Gun’, ‘Deuce’, ‘I Was Made For Lovin’ You’, ‘Shout it out Loud’ and the memorable confetti-soaked show closer, ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ – and all sung with a searing, hard edge. As good rock should be!
‘I Was Made For Lovin’ You’ may sound disco-tinged on a record, but on the stage, it’s as heavy a song as the band has in their catalogue. ‘Love Gun’ is even more bombastic live than on the record (and was sung by Stanley after taking a flying fox across to a B-stage in the middle of the arena), and everything from Creatures of the Night is titanium-tough. Even ‘Hell or Hallelujah’ from KISS’s most recent release, 2012’s Monster, is epic. It’s going to be a classic, Stanley tells us. And, having heard it live a few times now, I don’t doubt it.
Then there was the flame, smoke, fireworks and laser lights that, nightly, transform KISS from being a normal rock band to one of the can’t-miss Bucket List performs in the history of rock. Gene’s blood spitting and fire breathing isn’t new, but it’s a It’s an assault on the senses in the very best sense of the world, and I remain convinced that the band’s arsenal of things that go BOOM! Is bigger than some small country’s!
For guys who are getting on in age, they move so smoothly around the stage, despite doing it in platform heels, clad in gear that, whilst it looks good, probably isn’t hugely practical for what they do. Gene must sweating like a machine beneath his body-encasing armour, but he never shows it. His on-stage act, whilst perhaps bordering on comical/pantomime at times, is a highlight.
Paul Stanley is the ultimate showman. The way he commands an audience is beyond impressive, as is his ability to move around the stage like he’s gliding a few inches above it. He’s definitely the ying to Simmons’ Yang, and the two as an on-stage force are just about unparalleled in rock. You think of great on-stage combinations – Jagger and Richards, Axl and Slash, Bono and The Edge, Springsteen and Clemons – and realise that Stanley and Simmons are right up there.
Special mention to Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer on guitar and drums. They’re brilliant musicians – and, by all accounts, brilliant people, too – and KISS fans should thank them for their service rather than comparing them to their predecessors. After all, without their efforts in the wake of well-publicised issues with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, there’s a very good chance that KISS wouldn’t exist today. For mine, Singer is a better drummer than Criss ever was.
KISS! You’ve delivered another epic. Can’t wait to see you again! [Review by Kitch at blogkitch.blogspot.com.au]
The Party Never Ends For Kiss
(Rolling Stone Article, Nov 2015, p31)
"More than four decades after forming, the legendary rockers return to Australia"
When KISS first toured Australia in 1980, they were, says frontman Paul Stanley, "prisoners of the hotel", such was the pandemonium surrounding the band. "It was amazing to be front page news every day and to meet some incredible people and some equally incredible women," he titters. Thirty-five years on, Kiss are returning once again this month, bringing with them their 'spider' stage production. Stanley checked in ahead of the tour to reflect on the band's career.
You've been doing this for 42 years. Is there anything left for you to learn about playing live?
I'm pretty good at it. But that doesn't mean I enjoy it any less. What happened with time is I cherish what I do that much more. So to be up on stage, I don't know how much I have to learn at this point, but I savour what I've created and what the fans give back.
Is there an era where you think the band was at the peak of their powers creatively?
People tend to see that initial surge as the high point, and quite honestly I think we've eclipsed that. I believe that Sonic Boom  or Monster  are as good as anything we've done, it's just that anything that's classic has to go through a period of time. "Psycho Circus", "Lick it Up", those are now classics, but they weren't classics when they came out. So in terms j of firing on all cylinders, we've never fired ! on more efficient cylinders than we do now.
2015 marks 40 years since the Kiss Alive tour. Is that hard to process?
It's hard to digest it. Forty years is a lifetime, and to think that I'm doing today what I did then, nothing's really changed. This has been my life. If 40 years is a lifetime, well, it's been mine.
Any plans to follow up the 'Destroyer' and 'Love Gun' reissues with more from your back catalogue?
We'll see. At the moment the plate's full, but tomorrow the phone may ring and someone will say, "Why don't you go in and remix Rock and Roll Over?" Who knows. Each day brings a new surprise.
So there's no strategy? That seems odd for a band like Kiss.
For all the adoration Kiss receives, is there anything you don't think you get enough credit for?
I get all the credit I need from the people who count. And the people who don't give credit don't count. If you deny the truth, then why would I waste my time? I only have time for the people who share my beliefs. I'm not here to make converts. [Interview by Rod Yates]
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) sourced from Drac Ulla at bootlegsworldwide with thanks. Limited artwork is compensated by loads of tour photos and stage shots. The quality of this concert is quite remarkable for a bootleg and the recording has been more than likely sourced from the main mixing board. I only wish I had made the effort to go to their earlier Melbourne concert at the Rod Laver Centre and would be interested in hearing from anyone who might have attended.
02. Detroit Rock City
04. Psycho Circus
05. Creatures of the Night
06. I Love It Loud
07. War Machine
08. Do You Love Me
09. Hell or Hallelujah
10. Guitar and Drum Solos
11. Calling Dr. Love
13. Bass Solo
14. God of Thunder
15. Cold Gin
16. Love Gun
17. Intro: Black Diamond
18. Black Diamond
20. Shout It Out Loud
21. I Was Made for Lovin' You
22. Rock and Roll All Nite
Kiss Link (248Mb)