There are very few bands who have the classic stature that KISS have that can still deliver live. You have AC/DC. You have Aerosmith. You have ZZ Top. You have Def Leppard. The best and worst thing about going to see a classic band live nowadays is that you're taking a risk - after all, most members of these bands are pushing 60 (a lot are over the age). Can they really be worth the hefty price tag at such an age? Can they still incite the party atmosphere they're so famous for? Is the legend still justified? It may seem like a case of thinking too much, but all these questions were running through my head leading up to the night I'd finally get to see KISS live.
The answer to all is a massive, resounding yes.
You could touch the electricity in the air as the KISS mantra rings through the air: "YOU WANTED THE BEST. YOU GOT THE BEST. THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD - KIIIIISSSSSSSSS!!!". And with that, the curtain falls, and lowered to the stage on a riser platform, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer launch into the rallying cry of the opening track from 2009's Sonic Boom, 'Modern Day Delilah'. From hereonin, tonight is the biggest party you've ever been to, and KISS are your soundtrack - the legend is laid bare for all to see, and it's simply. Fucking. Astounding.
Tonight is mostly a Greatest Hits affair and it's exactly what we need. A KISS show is about escapism, the same way a gig from any great band is about escapism, and there's no better way to achieve this than with the tried and tested favourites. 'Deuce', 'Calling Dr. Love', and even rousing versions of seldom played classics 'Crazy, Crazy Nights' and the immortal 'God Gave Rock N' Roll To You', all mixed in with another two choice cuts from the aforementioned Sonic Boom, 'Say Yeah' and 'I'm An Animal', and everything else you'd expect in between. 'Love Gun'? It's there. 'Shout It Out Loud'? Yep, that's there too. 'Lick It Up'? It's all there! Gene Simmons breathes fire and spits blood. Paul Stanley flies to his own personal stage for the disco-tinged 'I Was Made For Lovin' You'. Tommy Thayer shoots fireworks from the headstock of his guitar. And Eric Singer....shoots down a lighting rig for no real reason but it's all in good fun.
And with a no bullshit, all hits encore ending on the climatic 'Rock And Roll All Nite', the party comes to an end. But the best thing about a KISS show is that you're not left wanting more. You leave the building well and truly satisfied (at least until the next day when, by my own admission, I'd have given a bollock to be seeing them again that night). Sure, there was no 'Strutter'. There was no 'Hotter Than Hell'. No 'Heaven's On Fire', no 'God Of Thunder' and no 'Forever' but after seeing such a spectacle, you find yourself utterly incapable of giving a shit. It doesn't even matter that Paul Stanley's vocal skills have diminished in recent years - when you're there, in the thick of it, everything feels just right.
It seems nothing can slow KISS down. A fantastic new album AND incredible live shows when you're coming up to your 60's? Most bands would kill to have that. KISS don't have to.