Final Kiss Tour Review – A Glorious and Absurd Triumph of the Kings of Rock ‘n’ Roll Theater | Embrace

FWhen they first graced a club scene in 1973, calling themselves the child stars of Alice Cooper, The Beatles and The New York Dolls, Kiss billed themselves as “The Hottest Band In The Woooooorrrrld! ” even when no one had ever heard their name. No one has ever lived up to the adage better: dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

“You wanted the best, you have the best!” blasts a voice over the AP and over the heads of 20,000 fans gathered at the stadium hosting the Sydney leg of the band’s End of the Road tour – an alleged last series of shows which began in 2019 before being interrupted endlessly by Covid. A huge black curtain emblazoned with the Kiss emblem falls as pyrotechnics burst, fireballs shoot towards the ceiling and four grown men dressed in shiny black and silver clown costumes soar in unison to the riff of opening of Detroit Rock City. Paul Stanley groaned triumphantly, “I feel good/Saturday night!” and so are we, already radiant in front of the unbridled rock’n’roll theater of the absurd that is Kiss. (Detroit Rock City is about a young fan who dies in a car accident in his rush to get to a Kiss gig – which sounds like a huge disappointment to start a show, but like anything Kiss, you just don’t think too hard about it.)

Few bands have been as maligned as Kiss over the course of their careers, and no band has done more single-handedly to prove music critics redundant than they, walking – perhaps a little slower than their youngsters. – around the stage in front of a crowded arena 50 years after their formation. They have always viewed criticism as losers and criticism as useless. And, they’re right: trying to control what people enjoy is the last bastion of the bitter and the defeated, the blind and the lame. The only thing Kiss cares about (other than making more money, which is what they care about the most) is their army of lifelong fans: the loyal Knights In Satan’s Service. And for them, they’ll deliver nothing but wall-to-wall hits for two straight hours at beyond-deafening volume.

The band delivered wall-to-wall hits for two straight hours at beyond-deafening volume on the Sydney leg of their End of the Road tour. Photography: Igor Vidyashev/Atlas Icons

Along with their hilarious, ridiculous, and ingenious attention-grabbing gimmicks, Kiss also has more than a few songs that are legitimately awesome, and they still sound fantastic while singing them. Gene Simmons turned 73 on this tour, so they say it really is the last dance for Kiss – and never in such a short time have I earned more respect for our elders than during this gig and his exploits. of physical endurance. Will the holographic versions of Kiss spin into the future and into eternity, playing no one in the crumbling ruins of dust-shrouded casinos? Yes. But it will never be the same again.

Their shows are, on the whole, family entertainment (for the very lucrative children’s market). The songs Kiss wrote that could be construed as encouraging naughty behavior tonight boil down to a few: Cold Gin, a rock classic written by Ace Frehely, who was kicked out of the band for indulging in substances that famous teetotal Simmons couldn’t stand (but who sings this song with the conviction of a real lush); Lick It Up, which is not about ice cream; and love gun, which is not about a water gun. Better not tell that to the many children visible around the arena, standing on the shoulders and singing the choruses at the top of their innocent little lungs.

Simmons’ teenage inclinations stay alive as he spits fire and wobbles on 7-inch platform heels, while cooking inside 20kg of stage costume. He spreads his enormous tongue to spill about a liter of (absolutely real) blood on his forehead while rising on a platform above the stage to shout the ridiculously accurate god of thunder, engulfed in dry ice. He fights face-to-face with guitarist Tommy Thayer during Deuce, reaching twice in between to catch Thayer by the manhood, in a sort of very public hazing ritual that he notably avoids with Stanley.

Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons watched the crowd after spreading his huge tongue to spill a liter of (absolutely real) blood on his forehead in Sydney. Photography: Igor Vidyashev/Atlas Icons

Paul Stanley! He kisses his gorgeous 70-year-old biceps, presenting himself as a proud graduate of the Iggy Pop school of older, incredibly ripped rock dudes. He rocks his still-thin hips with effortless brilliance and puts his guitar behind his head to play a solo. He puts his foot through a hoop on a kind of fruit bat and is winched above the crowd, singing as he passes, until he is dropped onto a stage at the far end of the arena floor. Does all of this somehow… exciting? Look, we’re all three sheets in the wind here. Not an octave has been shaved off his vocal range, as he hits the high notes of I Was Made For Loving You: an irresistibly danceable disco-rock track that Kiss wrote at a time when it looked like disco might overthrow hard rock as the dominant pop genre of the late ’70s. It’s now a proven song with the same longevity as the men who wrote it.

While it’s hard to take the spotlight away from the antics of the two original septuagenarian frontmen, the other half of the band are treated to their moments of glory with long guitar and drum solos, during which the frontmen hide in backstage, presumably to lie for a few minutes in a hyperbaric chamber while being fanned by giant flippers. Eric Singer takes the stage to play a sparkling silver piano while singing Beth, the sweet sentiment that only the most stone-hearted cynics could deny. (Kiss started the “metal band with a heartfelt ballad” genre rule with this song.)

Fuck, live
‘Kiss is the part of us that sometimes needs to disengage from the exhausting realities of the world.’ Photography: Igor Vidyashev/Atlas Icons

Kiss was fighting for our right to party (everyday) when the Beastie Boys were still in elementary school. To watch the crowd in this Corporate(™) Arena is to see people lounging for free in pure adoration. It’s beers held in the air and very bad chants. It is the fist that pumps and applauds the explosions. He stands under a shower of red and white confetti as the crowd is led by the chorus of the closest to the show, Rock and Roll All Nite. No longer is Monday sitting at your desk all day flipping through spreadsheets or prepping in the kitchen giving your wrist RSI. It’s unabashed boastfulness and rock star fantasies mixed with unexpected vulnerability. Kiss is the part of us that sometimes needs to disengage from the exhausting realities of the world; the part that allows us to reconnect with hedonistic pleasures that only exist to be enjoyed. For me, Kiss is just about being very alive in glorious moments as they pass through us. That’s all, at least for two magnificent hours.

  • The Kiss’s End of the Road tour continues in Australia until September.

  • This article was last modified on August 30, 2022, to correct Eric Singer’s last name.

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