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[Review] KISS @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 20/8/2022

The wait has been long, and the KISS Army have been patiently biding their time, finally the day was upon us and the time was NOW! KISS are literally the hottest band in the world right now, and while that mantra has followed them for almost 50 years there has never been a truer statement.  The KISS juggernaut has been a staple in almost every Australian home, in my case they even had their own dedicated room! Hugely loved and welcomed with open arms every single time they touch down, their fans are loyal and fiercely devoted which makes the experience of a KISS concert memory to treasure forever.

As I made my way towards Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne for the first show of the End Of The Road Australian tour, surrounded by my fellow KISSaholics, the ripples of excitement were brewing. There were painted faces, KISS T-shirts for miles, and families bringing their kids along to witness what would be the show of a lifetime. I took my spot on the floor, ready to get up close and personal with the band that has shaped my musical life. I felt overwhelmed with excitement and emotion, The End Of The Road is just that and I am not sure that I was ready to say goodbye just yet. But alas, I was glad I was there to soak up every bit of the tour, surrounded by like-minded fans all there to bask in KISS glory.

Melbourne hard rock outfit Dead City Ruins nabbed the coveted opening slot on night one, playing to a sold-out arena and thousands of adrenaline-filled punters. I can only imagine the high they were riding on, and it sure did come alive during their set. Blasting through their songs they engaged with the crowd and put on an amazing show. If there was ever a band that was a walking advertisement for good hair care it was them, luscious locks aplenty as they shredded their set. Booming vocals from Steve Welsh had the crowd up and about, many wearing their merch and singing the songs. Being a local Melbourne band, it was fantastic to see such great support for them. They have a new album out next month and we were treated to a sample of what is to come. It is one you do not want to miss, go check them out, and you will be glad you did.

Now it was time to bring out the big guns and they come no bigger than KISS, the arena was electric, carrying its own pulse in anticipation. The start time came and went which added to the nervous tension, but as the lights dropped the roar was deafening. Lowering from the ceiling on pods, KISS appear belting out the classic Detroit Rock City, accompanied by pyro, flames, and a light show that left me speechless. I have seen KISS more times than I can count but I still cannot explain the overwhelming feeling of joy that they bring to each and every show.  It was a non-stop thrill ride as they smashed through Shout It Out Loud, Deuce, War Machine, and Heavens on Fire. The stage hid all sorts of party tricks that kept coming nonstop.  The heat from the flames was intense as Gene worked his magic during I Love It Loud, there was a lot of crowd participation, and came complete with the obligatory fire breathing display that we all know and love.  Cold Gin was Tommy Thayer’s time to shine as he ripped out his guitar solo and fired rockets across the stage. He has stepped into the Spaceman’s boots in a fluid movement and has looked at home from day dot.

Lick It Up was definitely a favourite and one that had Gene literally licking everything in sight with his trademark tongue out more than it was in. Gene Simmons, the backbone of KISS is such a consummate professional onstage, blasting his bass to within an inch of its life but always making sure the show runs like clockwork and every piece of the action is delivered one hundred percent every single time!  I hope that I can channel his energy when I am his age, he made me tired just watching last night, never taking a break, it was go go go from start to finish.  KISS always have, and always will, until that last show give it everything they have and leave nothing in the tank, that’s just how they roll.

The setlist was extensive covering most of the huge catalogue of albums, Dr Love, Do You Love Me, the hits just kept coming. Then as were saw a merge of Psycho Circus and 100,000 years, Eric Singer came to the forefront. His enormous drum kit catching the laser lights was a truly beautiful thing to see, his playing exemplary as always. Getting the crowd involved as he belted out a solo that echoed throughout the arena and had all eyes on him. Wowing the fans as he spun cymbals and sticks his drum riser raised to the roof and had everyone losing their minds, smoke pouring from underneath, it really was quite the spectacle.

Would it even be a KISS show if Gene did not spew forth blood during God Of thunder? Absolutely not, so we were all delighted when the green hue of lights and smoke swamped the stage and Gene treated us to his best ever party trick. Treating a lucky fan to his blood-spattered towel as he tossed it to the punters almost causing a riot. His riser taking high to the ceiling to watch over us as he sang, almost like a preacher with his congregation.

Frontman and KISS itself, Paul Stanley is still shaking his bootie with the best of them, playing his guitar over his head while giving us all a sexy shimmy. His stamina is undying as he jumped on a zip line to whizz across the venue to a second stage to play Love Gun and I Was Made For Loving You. The stage lighting up with disco balls and setting a bit of a frenzy amongst the fans, it is always a great one to sing along to and gets everyone jumping. Time to hear from Eric on vocals as Black Diamond rings out, it is one from the inception of KISS but still holds so much weight now in 2022. In classic KISS fashion, the drums rise again showcasing the cat motif and spinning pinwheels of sparks and explosions.

After a brief moment off the stage and cheers for more a stunning grand piano appears and Eric breaks into the beautiful ballad Beth, we are all singing along lighting up Rod Laver with our phone torches, knowing the night is getting close to being over and not being anywhere near ready for it.  Being like a second home for KISS, we are always treated to an exception to the regular setlist, last night it was Shandi, and what a sight it was as supersized KISS balloons rained down on us as they crooned the much-loved hit from Unmasked.

The drums started and that famous intro to Rock and Roll All Nite rang out, with smoke and confetti cannons on steroids we were awash with excitement and adrenaline as the boys brought it home.  We were answering the call as Paul worked us close to delirium, Rod Laver was heaving, and we were singing the oh-so-familiar lyrics I Wanna Rock and Roll All Nite and Party Every Day! The risers were headed to the sky with Gene and Tommy on board as Paul smashed his guitar and handed it over to one very lucky fan.  With more pyro and fireworks than New Year’s Eve, the show was over and we were left raw with emotion but on a high from the most amazing show of all time.

There are still a few tickets for the last Melbourne show on Tuesday night, and I recommend you grab them fast, believe me, this show will change your life. Then you too can wear your badge with pride and say you have earned your place in KISSTORY!

There will never be another band that can compare to KISS, their love and dedication to their loyal KISS Army have been ever present and all we can do is say thank you. Thank you for the music of our childhood, thank you for the music that shaped our lives, and thank you for being THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!!

Tonight the play to another SOLD OUT show, but you still have a chance to catch them Tuesday MELBOURNE!!!!! 

Get your part of remaining tickets here : TUESDAY 22nd AUGUST 2022

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