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LIVE – KISS, Monster Tour with Motley Crue, Thin Lizzy & Diva Demolition – Perth, 28 February 2013

| 6 March 2013 | Reply

Perth Arena, Perth, Western Australia
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

It was touted as “the biggest and best show on Earth” – and KISS’s Monster tour made good on the hype, delivering an epic night of decade-straddling classic rock n’ roll that left fans exhausted and hoarse from cheering and shouting along.

KISS Live Perth 28 Feb 2013 04

It wasn’t all nostalgia though: Brisbane’s DIVA DEMOLITION haven’t even released their debut album yet but somehow found themselves opening for not one but three rock legends, and it’s not an opportunity they were about to squander.  Throwing down a confident and well-rehearsed set on a teensy bit of stage out front of the three other setups, they did their best with a set of songs drawing on singer/bassist Kylie and guitarist Shaz’s punk background that, whilst no doubt enjoyable in a club environment, were a bit out of their depth on the big stage in a near-empty arena.  DD need a bit more road time to knock their tunes into shape, but the potential is there for them to become something special.

THIN LIZZY’s Scott Gorham is a man who has lived the rock life hard and earned the t-shirt.  After losing his friend and lead singer Phil Lynott in 1986 he has stopped and started Lizzy a few times with various line-ups, and it’s this incarnation over the past few years that has been really making waves – featuring Gorham and drummer Brian Downey from the original band, Darren Wharton on keyboards who has been with them since 1980, cult legend vocalist/guitarist Ricky Warwick of 80’s/90’s bikermetal outfit The Almighty who delivers a respectful but not imitative performance in Lynott’s place.

It only takes a few bars of opener Are You Ready to tear the still-sparse crowd a new one, and we quickly realise we are in the presence of legends:  Gorham and Damon Johnson’s – and Warwick’s at times – six strings all intertwine sinuously; bassist Marco Mendoza slinks and prowls around the stage like a gum chewing demon, locking in perfectly with old hands Downey and Wharton.  It’s a treat for blues rock fans who never thought they’d be lucky enough to see such a fantastic band in our town.

Warwick leads a singalong through Rosalie – a Bob Seger song which Lynott made his own in the old days – insisting EVERYONE stand up:  after all “rock n’ roll isn’t supposed to be COMFORTABLE”, and promises to return to our town before launching into classic The Boys Are Back In Town to close a triumphant performance.

Motley Crue, ever the showmen, ascend the stage after marching with banners through the Crue standing area, hot chicks in tow.  Somehow it seems foolish to have expected anything less from the most over the top band of the hair metal era.  In their first song alone, nothing could be more different from the two bands which preceeded them:  the stage is saturated with pyro, fireworks, mid-air ribbon gymnasts, dry ice, ample volume to make your Grandparents weep and enough fire to keep Hell well lit for a month or more.

Tommy Lee’s drum solo is, like pretty much everything Tommy Lee does, over the top: his entire kit revolves 360’s around a circular rollercoaster, leaving him playing upside down at times, punctuated by more fireworks and lasers and the whole shebang, not that there was a lot of drumming going on to the backing tracks.  Nikki Sixx pitches in with a flamethrowing bass guitar, and the fact that they’re all even alive at all is no mean feat, so perhaps all the glitz and glamour, fire and females is their celebration of being here at all.  It’s certainly enough to keep an ADHD kid transfixed for a week!

It’s a spectacle for sure, and the set list runs right through their career highlights – Live Wire, Shout At The Devil, Home Sweet Home (featuring a blinged up baby grand piano intro by drummer Tommy Lee), Girls Girls Girls and Wild Side, Dr Feelgood and Don’t Go Away Mad, Primal Scream and more recent singles Saints Of Los Angeles and Sex – but despite some solid showmanship, rumours of Vince Neil’s lazy vocals in recent years prove correct:  his voice isn’t as strong as it once was, and as he puffs and pants his way from one side of the stage to the other, too many lines are dropped along the way.

After the madness of Crue’s explosive set, one might be forgiven for thinking that KISS couldn’t match up – after all, they’re older, slower and – forgive me for this, wearing more wigs… right?

Hell no!!!  In Paul Stanley, KISS have a lead singer who can STILL hit (almost) all the notes AND play ringleader out front of an unrivalled and dramatic rock n’ roll circus, not to mention a back catalogue which is just about incomparable in modern music!

Their stage show has less firepower-per-minute than Motley’s, but it has songs from the 70’s (Detroit Rock City, Shout It Out Loud, Black Diamond, Rock n’ Roll All Night), 80’s (I Love It Loud, War Machine), 90’s (Psycho Circus – a terrible album but in the live setting they pull the title track off very well) and beyond the turn of the millennium (Hell Or Hallelujah, Wall Of Sound), and more than enough action to keep the masses entertained.

As CEO’s of KISS’s legacy, it’s Simmons’ and Stanley’s show of course, and they value add the show with gimmicks that date back to the Seventies:  Gene Simmons spits blood, breathes fire and flies like a bat up to The Gods for (naturally) God Of Thunder.  Stanley delivers wonderfully overblown speeches, sings Shandi (a bigger hit here in Australia than in The States) solo with only an acoustic guitar (and we doubt anyone else on the bill would be brave enough to do something like this!), and flies over the crowd to a platform mid arena. The sidemen also get their moment to shine – Thayer and Singer both sing (Out Of This World and Black Diamond respectively) and do a fun joint solo, culminating in guitar bomb-shooting, drum riser-elevating, bazooka-ing action that fits right on in with the incredibly entertaining comical theatre of the ridiculous on show.

As for the room, whether it’s fireworks, bursts of flame hot enough to toast marshmallows twenty metres away or swirls of fairy lights, there’s always something going on, and it all add up to heaps of fun for young and old (both of which there are many present!)

An encore sees more tongue waggling from Simmons through Lick It Up and preening from Stanley through disco rocker I Was Made For Loving You before confetti cannons are employed for a celebratory singalong to Rock n’ Roll All Night.

KISS’s Monster tour proved an epic night of entertainment that not only straddled classic rock’s musical genres and decades, but also showcased several theatres of rock n’ roll delivery.  Will there be a better value show this year?  It’s doubtful!

You can also read Shane’s review of the support bands for Perth’s Xpress Magazine at this link: HERE

KISS setlist:

Detroit Rock City
Shout It Out Loud
Hell Or Hallelujah
I Love It Loud
Psycho Circus
Calling Dr Love
Wall Of Sound
Out Of This World
Guitar & Drum solo
God Of Thunder
War Machine
Shandi (Paul Stanley solo)
Love Gun
Black Diamond

Lick It Up
Won’t Get Fooled Again
I Was Made For Loving You
Rock n’ Roll All Night

Motley Crue setlist:

Saints Of Los Angeles
Shout At The Devil
Same Ol’ Situation
Don’t Go Away Mad
Home Sweet Home
Drum Solo
Live Wire
Primal Scream
Dr Feelgood
Girls Girls Girls
Kickstart My Heart

Thin Lizzy setlist:

Are You Ready
Killer On The Loose
Don’t Believe A Word
Whiskey In The Jar
Cowboy Song
Boys Are Back In Town

Diva Demolition setlist:

Take You Higher
You’re A Bitch
Something Strange
Blow Your Hair Back
Rock n’ Roll Dream
Derby Girls
Tease You, Please You
I Like It Too Much

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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