Friday, May 28, 2010

KISS @ The O2: May 7th

Review : Robert O' Connor
Photograph: Aidan Cuffe

Lights, Pyro's, moving stage sets, explosions, blood spitting, fire breathing, flying rock stars, Tommy Thayer, Eric Singer, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and thirty seven years of classics from Americas greatest rock n roll band. KISS have finally arrived in Dublin to play their very first Irish show and give the emerald Isle branch of the KISS army a night they'll never forget.

Describing the excitement and anticipation before a KISS show is almost as difficult as describing the magic of the performance itself. Most Irish KISS fans have only ever seen the band in pictures and on film, but those mediums only catch a glimpse of the power, the energy and show stopping, jaw dropping charisma and mesmerizing presence the band hold on stage. In reality, KISS holds a power over their fans almost unlike any other. Fictionally, they present themselves as larger than life superheroes, capable of catapulting you into another dimension of pleasure and rock n roll and in reality, they do just that.

Hearing the now legendary 'You Wanted the Best' intro directed towards Dublin sends shivers up the crowds spines moments before the giant KISS logo donned curtain drops and the stage explodes in flashes of lights and Pyrotechnics as Paul, Gene and Tommy appear high in the air above the drum kit. Opening with Modern Day Delilah from last years, Sonic Boom album, the band instantly personify and embody everything their fans had been waiting for.

Over the next two hours, the band thrill the O2 with a selection of new material including Say Yeah and Stand, alongside a dizzying array of classics, such as Cold Gin, Let Me Go, Rock N Roll, Deuce, Calling Dr. Love, Crazy Nights and 100,000 Years among many others. Musically KISS are as strong as any of their legendary seventies competitors like Aerosmith and AC/DC, but live, they deliver a performance other bands can only dream of being able to stage. From Gene's fire breathing after Firehouse, his blood spitting, stage flying bass solo, Tommy and Eric completing Shock Me with rocket firing guitars and a rig exploding bazooka to Paul's trip over the crowds heads to a revolving mini stage at the back of the arena for a performance of I Was Made for Loving You. All this is set against a backdrop of the most elaborate stage set the O2 is likely to see for many a year with risers on both sides, a massive screen that stretches the full length of the stage and at least a hundred smaller ones towering behind the band, the KISS army flags draped at both sides of the stage, the full KISS logo in lights and a rising drum kit.

Off course the theatrics have their place and they leave you in a state of awe but the true highlights at a KISS show come when they hammer the gig home with monumental classics like Love Gun, Shout it Out Loud, Black Diamond, Detroit Rock City, I Love it Loud and off course, the show closing extravaganza duo of God Gave Rock N Roll To You II and Rock And Roll All Night.

With confetti being propelled into the air all around the arena, the stage blitzed with lights, fire and three of music's most legendary characters on different risers and the iconic Paul Stanley, smashing his guitar to the cheers of 10,000+ fans, KISS have finally played their very first Irish show and it was everything and more than we could ever have dreamed it would be. Knowing Gene and Paul's absolute refusal to surrender the make-up, it won't be long before the Creatures of Night return and Ireland will warmly welcome back when they do.