KISS (Live)

At The Utilita Arena, Newcastle, U.K., July 14, 2019

KISS (Live at The Utilita Arena, Newcastle, U.K., July 14, 2019)
Photo: Mick Burgess

45 years after exploding out of New York selling over 100 million albums and amassing more gold and platinum discs than any other band except the Beatles, it’s finally the end of the road for America’s most over the top Rock ‘n’ Roll icons, KISS.

It’s been 9 years since KISS last played in Newcastle and 36 years since their first ever appearance on the Lick It Up tour but sadly this would be the last. The KISS Army raised their flags and marched down to the Utilita Arena in huge numbers for one last time.

Descending from the rafters on octagonal platforms spewing sparks and smoke with explosions rocking the back of the hall, it was like entering a battle zone as KISS kicked off with Detroit Rock City.

Shout It Out Land with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons trading vocals had the whole crowd singing and punching the air before the hard driving Deuce, from their very first album, took us back to where it all started.

Ring leader Paul Stanley, the consummate frontman, pirouetted on six-inch platform boots, covering more ground than a marathon runner, constantly whipping the crowd into a frenzy while demonic bassist Gene Simmons stalked the stage flicking out his lizard sized tongue.

Say Yeah from 2010s Sonic Boom, another stadium filling anthem and Psycho Circus from their 1999 reunion album sat comfortably alongside the vintage cuts from the ’70s while the ’80s hits Lick It Up, Heaven’s On Fire and the Top 10 single Crazy, Crazy Nights ensure most bases were covered.

A KISS show was famously described as a nuclear explosion in Madame Tussauds which pretty much sums up this evening performance which featured bombs, flame throwers, rockets, smoke, drums rising 50 feet into the air, not to mention a fire breathing, blood spitting Gene Simmons being hoisted up to the lighting rig during a bombastic God of Thunder and guitarist Tommy Thayer’s rocket firing guitar. This was seriously spectacular stuff where no expense was spared.

That was the icing on the cake but would have counted for nothing if KISS didn’t have the songs to match and they certainly had those by the bucket full. War Machine was suitably heavy while Calling Dr. Love allowed Simmons to dispense his lotharios cure.

Golden classics Cold Gin, Let Me Go Rock ‘n Roll and 100,000 years back in the set after an absence of a few years were rabidly welcomed before Stanley invited himself out over the crowd onto a small platform in the middle of the Arena for a glorious Love Gun and Disco footstomper, I Was Made For Lovin’ You complete with disco ball.

Black Diamond featuring drummer Eric Singer on vocals closed the set in suitably bombastic style before Singer emerged from beneath the stage sitting behind a piano for the ballad Beth, both songs showing what a great husky voice he has.

No KISS show would be complete without the chest thumping, fist pumping party anthem Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite with more confetti than a World Cup Final in Argentina as Simmons and Thayer went out over the audience on platforms as Stanley demolished his guitar while the entire stage was filled with explosions and rockets and huge KISS emblazoned balloons were hurled across the crowd ensuring this Rock ‘n’ Roll party went out with the biggest bang of them all.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • 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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