banner ad
banner ad
banner ad

LIVE: KISS – Perth Arena, Western Australia, 2nd September 2022

| 4 September 2022 | Reply

LIVE: KISS – Perth Arena, Western Australia, 2nd September 2022
With Legs Electric
Review by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Pete Gardner

Unbelievably, KISS were the 1970’s most reviled Satanic heavy metal cult, a face-painted Demon, Alien, Lover and, errrrr, pussycat hell bent on corrupting the youth of America.

That was decades – and 100 million albums, not to mention a small handful of band members – ago, of course, and also a couple of other final tours ago, hence some fans not attending tonight, cheekily suggesting they’ll see them next time. This is The End Of The Road for KISS, though – and this time they may just mean it, after all, Paul Stanley is now 70, and Gene Simmons 73, despite their seemingly unlimited energy, especially Stanley’s.

Today, KISS are pure theatre. Hard rock pantomime. The biggest cabaret act in the world – with a show so well-honed that surprises are as rare as virgins leaving Simmons’ dressing room back in the ‘70s.

None of this is a criticism (well, almost, but more on that later), because KISS is also the biggest rock n’ roll party show in the world, and the Perth crowd lap up every second of it, just as the rest of the country has over the past couple of weeks. Nobody leaves unsatisfied or without a smile on their face – just like Gene’s famously prolific list of conquests, perhaps.

In a fairer world local openers Legs Electric would be playing festivals throughout the US and Europe and releasing records on one of the biggest rock labels on the planet. Perhaps, for us, it’s enough that they play regularly around town, and delivered one of the best warm-up slots we’ve seen in quite a while.

Favourites I Wanna Riot, Strange Addiction, Black Magic Woman (no, not THAT one), She’s Like A Saint, Temporary Road and Dark Paradise all sound amazing, Ama Quinsee’s peerless vocals filling the Arena effortlessly. Founding drummer Kylie Soanes is her usual powerhouse self, and the guitar/bass duo of Elana Haynes and Erin Gooden evoke memories of some of the greats, from Heart to Led Zeppelin to Aerosmith. Consider Perth warmed up.

The black curtain drops and Detroit Rock City starts, fireworks go bang, flames roar, and the crowd – oh, the crowd… they’ve waited almost three years for this show, and they’re almost louder than the band.

Shout It Out Loud and Deuce follow, footage of previous incarnations of the band showing on the huge video screens. I Love It Loud is just that; while Say Yeah is the only post-90s track on the setlist, hailing from 2012 (Psycho Circus, from the album of the same name, was released in 1998, and the next most recent was Heaven’s On Fire from 1984). During Cold Gin those enormous screens capture a rare off-script moment when Simmons playfully tries to throw Tommy Thayer off his guitar solo with a pinch where the sun don’t shine and a cheeky lick from his famously prominent tongue.

That same screen leaves nothing to the imagination, and we can attest we’ve never noticed Simmons drooling and spitting as much as he does, like a hungry dog waiting for a treat. Meanwhile, Stanley plays his guitar through his legs, over the shoulder, and explosions and firebursts wrack the Arena like it’s a minor war zone. It’s pure showmanship and theatre, and it’s brilliant fun.

Thayer isn’t the bandy-legged Ace Frehley of the ‘70s, but he’s the longest serving member of the band other than Simmons and Stanley, and he nails the trademark solo spot, complete with a guitar shooting spark-laden imaginary rockets to disable the lighting pods overhead.

Lick It Up includes a snippet of The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again; Calling Doctor Love sees Thayer and Stanley trading ever-higher notes in a head-to-head solo; and Eric Singer’s hydraulically-elevated drum riser solo is as much a spectacle as always.

Simmons rolls out his blood-spitting set piece and delivers God Of Thunder with all the Demonic menace he can muster; and Stanley takes a zipline out to a stage in the middle of the floor to sing Love Gun and I Was Made For Loving You before Eric Singer sings Black Diamond, and fireworks go boom to close out the main set.

It ain’t over yet, though, as their standard encore of Beth – Singer performing to a backing track at a piano centre stage – and Rock n’ Roll All Night bookends Shandi, apparently played for Australian audiences only since it was a hit here and not so much anywhere else. Big KISS balloons fall from the gods during the encore to be thrown around the room, while confetti guns shower everybody with their bounty, and enough pyro to take over a small third world country is ignited.

If there is one criticism – and this is seriously the ONLY one, and a relatively minor one at that – it’s that they rely on too many of the same songs as the last couple of tours.

I can picture the $immons/Stanley boardroom meeting. Well, we HAVE to do that one. And I ALWAYS do such-and-such in THAT one. There’d be outcry if we didn’t do THAT one.

Sure, these are all classic songs, but it makes for a predictable night. Personally, I give the audience a LOT more credit. I think we DESERVE more.

Maybe lose Beth for I Still Love You or Forever. Drop Black Diamond or Deuce for Crazy Nights. Swap out War Machine or Psycho Circus for… well, literally ANYTHING else. That still leaves Let’s Put The X In Sex, Tears Are Falling, I, Uh All Night, Unholy, and many more unaccounted for. Maybe next time (haha *wink*)

Slightly stale setlist aside, there’s no denying that nobody – NOBODY – puts on a show like KISS. Theirs is a rock n’ roll extravaganza party overflowing with more bombast, pyro, maximum bangs-for-bucks, and non-stop good times than literally ANY other band could even dream of.

If this truly IS the ‘End Of The Road’, it was one hell of a farewell party.

Set List:
Detroit Rock City
Shout It Out Loud
War Machine
Heaven’s on Fire
I Love It Loud
Say Yeah
Cold Gin/Guitar Solo
Lick It Up
Calling Dr. Love
Do You Love Me
Psycho Circus/Drum Solo/100,000 Years
Bass Solo/Blood Spitting/God of Thunder
Love Gun
I Was Made for Lovin’ You
Black Diamond

Rock and Roll All Nite




Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

About the Author ()

Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad