Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Crazy, Crazy Night

By George Garner
Photos by Alyson Blanchard

Gene Simmons and Company have a Crazy, Crazy Night in Sheffield

There can be few moments in rock 'n' roll quite as exciting as the one that occurs at 8:45pm this evening when Sheffield Arena is plunged into darkness and the towering curtain bearing the legendary KISS logo drops to the floor. Enormous flames erupt onstage, barbecuing the front row as KISS -- in all of their eight-inch heeled, face-painted glory -- appear on a superbly OTT, steaming platform. As they burst into Modern Day Delilah, the announcement introducing KISS as "The hottest band in the world!" is clearly not an exaggeration.

Then the aforementioned curtain drops and KISS start a classic show that lets each band member shine. Guitarist Paul Stanley's moment of glory comes when he flies over everyone's heads to a revolving stage, where, with his sparkling guitar, he looks like a human disco ball. Equally impressive is legendary man-demon Gene Simmons (tongue constantly out) who stuns everyone as he breathes fire, spits blood, and, with his cape spread behind him, flies up to a special stage above the lighting rig to play I Love it Loud. On top of that, guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer have a spectacular firework-enhanced guitar/drum solo competition that climaxes with Eric shooting a firework into the rafters from a bazooka.

As jaw-dropping as all of this is, the theatrics never overshadow the music. Tonight, as Paul says, they "dig deep," playing the classics alongside killer new material from last year's 4 K-rated Sonic Boom. With Crazy, Crazy Nights, Love Gun, Lick it Up and indisputable highlight God Gave Rock 'N' Roll To You, they send the all-singing, all-air-guitaring KISS Army to rock 'n' roll heaven.

Everything about the show is executed so brilliantly that there's simply no room for cynicism tonight, especially not with the three trillion tonnes of confetti exploding everywhere during the finale of Rock And Roll All Nite. This really, truly is the greatest show on earth.


How Was It For You?

Gene Simmons: "KISS have always had a love affair with England, so to hear the Sheffield crowd sing God Gave Rock 'N' Roll To You tonight was truly insiprational.

Martin (fan) - Sheffield: "That was the sixth time I've seen them now and it seems the older they get, the better they are. KISS are the greatest band ever!"

Sadie (fan) - Sheffield: "I've never seen a bazooka fired during a gig before! That was my first KISS gig and I loved it! I'm going to see them again at Wembley.