KISS - Manchester Arena, 12th July 2019
"You wanted the best, you got the best". Yes we did. KISS proved tonight at the Manchester Arena, yet again, that after 46 years they are still completely untouchable. Now 2 thirds of the way through their End Of The Road tour tonight’s show to a sold out 14,0000 fans demonstrated exactly what a rock show should be about.
Firstly, this band know how to make an entrance. As the last bars of the Led Zeppelin track Rock n Roll fade out, the big black screen drops and to present the whole band descending from their from hydraulically elevated positions to greet the crowd with tonight’s opener Detroit Rock City. And this begins a 2 hour set of breathtaking, over-the-top bombast. The production delivers on everything you could possibly imagine a rock show to have: pyro, lasers, moving stages, rocket firing guitars, inflatable balls, blood. We are treated to it all. Whilst certain band members may have a reputation for being quite mercenary financially, the face value ticket price of £65 represents incredible value for money.
Lead singer and guitarist Paul Stanley truly knows what it means to work a crowd. There is a wonderfully powerful and camp quality to his onstage banter that the likes Liza Minelli would be proud of. When he says "If you believe in rock n roll, stand up for what you believe in" the crowd respond in full and immediately. A true highlight of the show is where we see Paul flown from the main stage to a sub-stage at the mixing desk for the song I Was Made For Loving You. KISS have overall shown that whatever you can imagine, you can make it happen.
There are also moments of heart-warming nostalgia tonight where the big screen shows early band concert footage including their attention grabbing choreographed moves which tonight’s line up perform with precision synchronicity.
Despite their advancing years, the energy the band displayed throughout the entire set is remarkable. To give a specific example, Eric Singer performed the most incredible 7 minute drum solo which at one point saw him maintaining a perfectly in time double bass drum sequence whilst simultaneously very casually towelling himself dry from head to waist.
As the show reaches its conclusion, we reflect on the fact that after this tour there will be no more tours. This reality is massively inconsistent with the fact that the band clearly 100% love what they do. How can they make the decision to stop? Overall this tour could be seen as one last lesson to the next generation of bands on what it takes to become stratospheric. First and foremost bands need to have great songs. Without question there are many new bands writing great music but in the current music industry landscape, is this enough?