“YOU wanted the best, you got the best!” The familiar rallying cry rang out as the psycho circus came to town for one last whirl. After 46 years of loyal services to panstick and novelty band merchandise, gonzo American rockers Kiss are hanging up their pimped-up platform boots following this End of the Road tour.
Kiss, Hydro, Glasgow ****
Concerned parents responded to the news by rushing their pre-school children – many dressed up as their favourite Kiss character – along to the Hydro for their first and likely last blast of the band in their full cartoon glory, and the pan-generational party commenced with the band descending from the rafters on flying saucer discs to a mighty salvo of pyrotechnics.
Founding members, Gene Simmons (aged 69) and Paul Stanley (aged 67), their trademark stage make-up covering a multitude of sins, led the charge with rock’n’roll party tunes Shout It Out Loud, I Love It Loud and other dumb but fun paeans to volume.
Kiss remain all about the over-the-top stagecraft and the good times, invoked by the hard rock humour of Calling Dr Love. Stanley presided over the traditional pantomime splitting of the audience, cajoling the crowd in a state of permanent shouty excitement. How this man does not lose his voice on a nightly basis is one of the great mysteries of rock’n’roll but then this was a well practised routine, involving fire-breathing from Simmons, fireworks fired out of guitarist Tommy Thayer’s fretboard and a succession of solos performed from atop an array of hydraulic platforms.
Eric Singer’s drum solo was relatively pared back and centred mostly on the kickdrum, but bassist Simmons went for the full demonic ritual, spitting stage blood during the hokey God of Thunder before Stanley’s traditional aerial ride across the heads of the crowd to deliver the energised boogie of Love Gun from his own Starman podium. But this was mere warm-up preamble before they fired up the mirrorballs for I Was Made For Lovin’ You.
It was hard to top their camp disco classic so the closing Black Diamond was bolstered with an indoor fireworks display of giant catherine wheels. Opening the encore, Singer took the lead on bombastic piano ballad Beth, which was what passed for an intimate moment in this ridiculously entertaining heavy rock hoopla. Stanley sported a special saltire guitar for the celebratory Crazy Crazy Nights and Kiss went out on a literal (hydraulic) high with Rock’n’roll All Nite.
Missing them already.