KISS Live Photo Review
KISS - Live Photo Review by Maggie Wright
May 7, 2017
KISS is in a class all of its own. With a career spanning over four decades, KISS has remained true to themselves and true to their fans. They have put more into their performances than ever, and Oslo Spektrum welcomed them with a huge roar. The lights dimmed as Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll started playing over the loud speakers and fog spilled out from under the massive curtain hiding the stage.
“All right, Oslo!! You wanted the best! You got the best!! The hottest band in the land! KISS!!” boomed over the the loudspeakers. The curtain dropped, and a raised section of the center of the stage, complete with drum kit, lowered the band through the cloud of fog. The theatrical entry was just the start of the type of show that fans have come to expect. For a KISS show is not just a concert. It is an extravaganza full of pyrotechnics, flames, lasers and more; yet the music remains the main event.
Opening with Deuce, Simmons, or should I say the Demon, emerged from the fog, in full spiked armor and bat wing cape. Complete with the axe shaped bass, Simmons’ appearance brought a huge cheer from the crowd. Whether it was Simmons wagging his famous tongue, or Stanley dropping to one knee and sticking a guitar plectrum on the end of his tongue, the two founding members of KISS knew what their fans wanted, and they were more than happy to oblige.
Flames at least ten feet tall shot out on either side of the drum kit as Thayer broke into his first of many solos, and Stanley played his guitar between his legs to the delight of the fans fortunate enough to have a spot on the barrier. The line-up may have changed, they may be older, but when the Demon, the Star child and the Spacemen came together center stage to do the choreographed moves during the bridge, it might as well have been 1975 and I was glued to a TV watching The Midnight Special on NBC. KISS is that kind of band that seems to transcend time and age; fathers and sons, and whole families, with ages ranging from 7-70 were there. And probably some outside that range!
After a pyro-accented ending, amidst the cheers and whistles of the crowd, Stanley approached the microphone, his guitar lacquered with a Norwegian flag slung across his bare midriff, and greeted the crowd for the first time. After getting them warmed up with a shouting competition, he asked the girls how many of them like to get licked. Before the female cheers faded, he asked the same of the guys, and teased the audience about how dirty they were! Stanley started to sing, and although his vocals showed the signs of strain, Simmons, Thayer, Singer and the crowd, made up for it. The flames, synchronized with the chorus, seemed to encourage the fans, and when the centre stage rose with Thayer and Stanley on it, amidst the light of green lasers, the venue absolutely erupted. Singer’s performance on the night was spectacular, and Lick It Up was one of his outstanding moments of the night. My only wish was that he had been featured more on the large screens due to how far back his drum kit was.
The massive televisions screens, the LED light production, and all the special effects were meticulously executed, and completely complimented the music, making for an absolutely spectacular show. One of the highlights for me, though, was seeing Thayer use his new signature guitar prototype, the White Lightning Explorer, which is due out later this year. It looked as slick as it sounded! And while Simmons’ spitting fire at the end of Firehouse was a real crowd pleaser, I was more impressed with Thayer’s performance during his guitar solo, at the end of Shock Me, which was incredible, even without the guitar firing rockets!
Just before Flaming Youth, Stanley asked the crowd how many people had never seen KISS before. What seemed like thousands across the arena raised their hands. This could easily explain why the set list was so full of old classics, and that songs from the "Monster" album were absent. While I feel that "Monster" is the best album KISS has produced in some time, as Thayer mentioned in our interview, the lack of album sales meant that the crowd would have been totally unfamiliar with the songs. And the fans came out to hear classic KISS. The nostalgic images of KISS through the years on the main screen during Flaming Youth was like a trip down memory lane for both the band and their fans.
Simmons’ bass solo, in a blanket of flog, featured his famous mouthful of blood and demonic expressions, which brought screams and whistles from the fans. But when he "flew" to a stage suspended from the ceiling, it really made the fans go crazy. From that stage, he raged into War Machine and gave a performance of demonic proportions!
Things calmed down briefly when Stanley did a solo performance of a verse and chorus of Shandi, before saying "OK, let’s get on with the show!" Crazy Crazy nights showed the band’s strength in vocal harmonies. Having four members of the band able to sing is a real asset, and, personally, I would love to hear more of Singer and Thayer on vocals.
With so much going on, there was bound to be a hitch somewhere, and it came when Stanley was supposed to glide over the crowd to perform Psycho Circus. He had prepared the crowd for it and seemed surprise when a crew member, who should have been helping him onto the metal ring, that it "was not working". Ever the professional, and the show must go on thing, Stanley performed the song from the main stage.
With a single spotlight on Stanley performed a guitar solo, solemnly and mournfully before bringing the tempo and the crowd back up and introducing Black Diamond. Singer’s vocals were outstanding, and Thayer produced yet another incredible guitar solo. The song ended with a drum roll, as more fog poured out, and the center stage lifted Thayer, Simmons, and Stanley up for the final notes of the song. On returning them to stage level, cannons fired and confetti blew across the floor level of the Spectrum, while Rock ’N’ Roll All Night began. I don’t want to give all the surprises away, but something really spectacular happened at the end of that song, and fans enjoyed the hell out of it.
KISS has been a controversial band over the years, but when you have 10,000 fans cheering and singing along, that is the best endorsement a band can ask for. No one left this show feeling disappointed. In fact Kiss have secured a whole new generation of fans with every show they’ve performed. Any KISS show is an unforgettable experience, and this exceeded all expectations!
Paul Stanley - rhythm guitar, lead vocals (Star child)
Gene Simmons - bass guitar, lead vocals (Demon)
Tommy Thayer - lead guitar, lead vocals (Spaceman)
Eric Singer - percussion, drums, vocals (Cat)
Shout It Out Loud
Lick It Up
I Love It Loud
*guitar solo- Thayer*
*bass solo - Simmons*
Crazy Crazy Nights
Let Me Go, Rock ’N’ Roll
Rock And Roll All Nite
I Was Made For Lovin’ You
Detroit Rock City
For more information, including tour dates, visit:
Kiss World Tour 2017 (European dates):
May 1 Moscow
May 4 Helsinki
May 6 Stockholm
May 7 Oslo
May 9 Horsens
May 10 Gothenburg
May 12 Dortmund
May 13 Stuttgart
May 15 Torino
May 16 Bologna
May 18 Munich
May 20 Brno
May 21 Vienna
May 23 Frankfurt
May 24 Rotterdam
May 27 Glasgow
May 28 Birmingham
May 30 Manchester
May 31 London
Checkout Our Tommy Thayer Interview
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