Friday, March 1, 2013

KISS Delivers Promised 'Baddest Tour Ever' With Mötley Crüe 

They've been blasting audiences away for decades and haven't toured Australia for seven years, but when it comes to putting on an unforgettable rock show, time and age are no barrier for KISS.

Kicking off their Australian tour in Perth, the band best known for their costumed characters, explosive stage shows and Gene Simmons' freakishly weird tongue, not only thrilled established fans but also smashed away the fears of the uninitiated who may have thought they're just a decorated gimmick for endless merchandise.

They are, of course, exactly that – and a whole lot more.

Blasting out tracks from new album Monster, along with crowd favourites like Shout It Out Loud, Calling Dr. Love and God Of Thunder, lead singer Paul Stanley led KISS fans through a night of fire, explosions and platform-raising madness that was impossible not to enjoy.

(Even for this reviewer whose previous exposure to KISS comes mostly from Family Guy and the song at the end of Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.)

Before KISS even descended onto the stage, the thousands of fans had already been warmed up by Brisbane's Diva Demolition and 1970s rock sensation Thin Lizzy.

Giving a new generation a chance to actually be there and do that, rather than just wear the T-shirt, Thin Lizzy didn't hold back from belting out their hits and plenty of fans were happy to see the present day line-up on stage.

Perth Arena itself was also given a full-on warm up for the spectacular effects and explosions of KISS, thanks to a blistering set from Mötley Crüe, that would easily steal the show of any other headliner.

Particularly with a flame-throwing guitar and Tommy Lee's 360 degree drum rollercoaster that had the drummer playing upside-down high above the stage.

It was clear to the thrall of dedicated, face-painted fans however, that KISS would never be out done.

And with a show that included the trademark fire-breathing, explosions, lasers and the fierce characters rising above the audience on stage-extending platforms for impressive solos, there was no doubt who the night belonged to.

You could be forgiven for thinking that after 40 years Simmons might not be up for being hoisted above the stage lights for a solo rooftop performance or that Stanley would zip line over the standing crowd to a rotating stage in the centre of the arena. But they do it with ease.

(Although Simmons' hoist operator might want to raise him a little higher next time as he almost struggled to step onto his little stage in the sky).

The only disappointment of the night came from them not finishing the show with the excellent God Gave Rock 'n' Roll To You II from the aforementioned Keanu Reeves movie. Instead it was left to play over the speakers as the house lights went up.

They, of course, powered out the classics I Was Made For Lovin' You, and Rock And Roll All Nite in their encore but by that time the enthusiasm, dedication and renewed appreciation of the Perth faithful was already sealed.

A band that thrives on their fans' willingness to get carried away with the everything they have to offer, Stanley at one point reminisced that on previous tours, "Perth opened their arms to KISS... and they opened their legs too."

Looking at the awed expressions from older fans and the resemblance of younger painted faces staring back at the stage, I'm inclined to believe him.

See more photos HERE: