KISS (Live)

At The Hydro, Glasgow, U.K., May 27, 2017

KISS (Live at The Hydro, Glasgow, U.K., May 27, 2017)
Photo: Mick Burgess

As the closing strains of Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll was replaced by a low, ominous drone, the inevitable battle cry shattered the tranquillity with the legendary words….YOU WANTED THE BEST, YOU GOT THE BEST, THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD…..KISS and so it began, the greatest Rock show on earth descended from the rafters on a space age platform surrounded by swirling smoke and a cacophony of explosions as KISS stormed into Deuce.

With Gene Simmons stalking the stage in menacing fashion and Paul Stanley dancing, skipping and leaping into the air at every opportunity along with Tommy Thayer’s screaming mid song solo and Eric Singer’s driving beat, this was total sensory overload.

In true KISS counter punch fashion no time was wasted in following straight up with Shout It Out Loud, a classic anthem with Simmons and Stanley trading vocals and the packed Hydro adding the Glaswegian choir to the chorus.

In a rare moment of reflection, Stanley paused to remember those who lost their lives at the Manchester Arena earlier in the week and led a minutes silence in a touching tribute. KISS themselves, having cancelled their own show in Manchester as a mark of respect.

KISS are no political commentators and resumed normal service with Lick It Up astride a huge front of stage riser replete with an array of lasers and columns of flames not to mention a cheeky snippet of The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again.

Dressed in updated costumes from their Creatures of The Night era but alas no sign of the fabled tank turret, Gene launched into the fist pumping I Love It Loud as Stanley pulled a star struck kid out of the crowd to strum along on his guitar.

Ever the ultimate showman, Stanley never remained still for a second. He posed and preened like a technicolour peacock and delivered some of the cheesiest introductions to songs ever heard on stage but that’s what we keep coming back for and who else could make one side of the arena outcompete the other with such conviction and absolutely get away with it.

The classics came thick and fast with Firehouse complete with blazing sirens, flashing lights and Gene’s fire breathing the icing on the cake and Black Diamond featuring Singer on vocals.

The setlist has long been a bone of contention with die-hard fans who have clamoured for more deep album cuts whereas the band insist that those at the shows want wall to wall hits. Both sides have a point but KISS deliver the killer blow of the night with an immense Flaming Youth, a rarely played diamond from Destroyer that was welcomed like a long lost friend.War Machine too, with its bulldozing riff slipped into the set, at least in part answering the critics in the best way possible. What was a surprise however was the absence of Love Gun for the first tour since 1977.

Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer taking on the Spaceman and Catman personas in the absence of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss has also been the root of some disquiet but this has been the most stable line up in the bands 40+ year history and there’s no denying that Thayer and Singer make a significant contribution in driving the band along and arguably have enabled the band to continue in a way that would have been impossible with all of the original members. Perhaps Thayer singing his own Outta This World instead of Frehley’s signature tune Shock Me would answered some of the critics but having said that he did do an impressive job, unleashing a salvo of rockets from his guitar at the song’s climax.

A couple of more recent songs including Say Yeah, one of the standouts from Sonic Boom and the kicking title track to the hit and miss Psycho Circus kept things a touch more current and of course mega UK hit single Crazy, Crazy Nights made an appearance too.

All of the elements that have made a KISS show such an impressive spectacle over the years were all present and correct including Gene spitting blood before flying into the lighting rig prior to God of Thunder and the confetti storm during the rousing Rock ‘n Roll All Nite along with Stanley’s ritual destruction of his guitar surrounded by a cacophony of explosions, flame throwers and smoke with Simmons and Thayer projected right out over the crowd on hydraulic platforms. This was truly jaw dropping stuff.

With Disco stomper I Was Made For Lovin’ You coming across much harder live than on record and the evergreen Detroit Rock City bringing the show to a riotous close the 7 year wait for KISS to tour the UK was duly rewarded with an event that just emphasised why KISS have been one of the most popular bands on the live circuit for over four decades. No one does a show quite like KISS and KISS delivered big time.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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