KISS (Live) – The End Of The Road – A Personal Journey

At The Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland, July 16, 2019

KISS (Live at The Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland, July 16, 2019)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Everyone who loves music with a passion has that Eureka moment. That split second when your entire musical world is turned on its head and your life is never quite the same again.

Back in the summer of ’79, this wide eyed school boy knew little of life outside of Top 40 radio and the Top of the Pops TV show but returning from a family holiday to discover KISS Alive II perched in front of the stereo changed all of that. From Gene Simmons sweat soaked, blood dripping face to the most stunning gatefold sleeve that opened up to show flamethrowers and bombs galore it was like nothing from this world. And then there was the music.

When asked to “put the side with Beth on”, nothing could prepare these ears for what came next. It was loud, fast, raw and so exciting. Then it was Beth. Hmmmm, a little different to the preceding I Stole Your Love but the ominous rumble of bass and four titanic beats followed by the most apocalyptic sounds ever heard, in God of Thunder and that was it. Absolutely hooked. The doors were well and truly kicked down to a life time of KISS and Hard Rock music.

40 years on and the end is nigh. KISS announced their impending retirement with a huge worldwide End Of The Road tour and 36 years on from seeing them for the first time on the Lick It Up tour, this was the final strait.

Having see the show in Newcastle 2 nights before (reviewed here) it was only polite to make the long trek up to Scotland for the last night of their last ever tour of Europe at The Hydro in Glasgow to say farewell to the ones that kicked started a lifelong love of music.

No one but no one makes an entrance quite like KISS and seeing them descend from the rafters on octagonal platforms spewing fire and smoke as explosions went off all around was an awe inducing sight as Detroit Rock City set the fuse for the most bombastic Rock show on earth.

With the same setlist as the previous show in Newcastle there is no point in repeating the earlier review save to say that little nuances missed the first time popped into view second time around from the onstage banter between the band members from Paul Stanley flicking plectrums at Eric Singer during his drum solo in 100,000 years or Gene Simmons bantering with Tommy Thayer during the mid-section of Cold Gin. This was a band clearly having fun with themselves and that sense of fun spilled out into the crowd. Of course, the clamour for the original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss was always there and it is a shame that neither has yet to make a guest appearance on this tour but the camaraderie in the current line up makes for one happy, cohesive camp. Full credit to both Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, they do a fantastic job recreating the golden years of KISS and Singer also showed on Black Diamond and Beth, on which he emerged from beneath the stage on a grand piano, what a cracking voice he has.

Of course, we could argue until the cows come home about the setlist. Should Lick It Up and Heaven’s On Fire be there or why has Strutter, such a gold plated classic, been ignored for so many years. The argument rages on. On a personal level, hearing I Stole Your Love, the one that started it all off 40 years ago, would have brought everything full circle but a 2 hour set featuring classics such as Shout It Out Loud and God Of Thunder alongside vintage cuts, Let Me Go Rock ‘n’ Roll as well as the monstrous riff of War Machine and the hits Crazy Nights and I Was Made For Lovin’ You left no room for dissent as all were welcomed like long lost friends from a hugely animated and very loud Glaswegian crowd.

With almost 13,000 crammed in to the Hydro, KISS made sure every single person in the arena felt part of the show as Stanley headed out to a small stage at the very back flying through the air on a zip wire during Love Gun and Simmons and Thayer elevated up and out over the crowd during the ticker tape snowstorm of grand finale, Rock and Roll All Nite, that saw an absolute pyro-fest as Stanley demolished his guitar. As the rear of the stage exploded in multi coloured fireworks with the final note, it was all over.

The end of the road in Europe has been reached and this 40-year love affair with Rock ‘n’ Roll’s most outrageous band has reached its end in the concert halls at least. It’s been one hell of a ride and an absolute blast. Thanks for the music and thanks for the memories. Live shows will never be quite the same again.

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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