Stephen Draper's Wembley Report

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REVIEW OF KISS CONCERT 25th MARCH 1999 WEMBLEY ARENA LONDON

Well, What a Show! Fantastic, Incredible, Loud, Fun, Energetic, Professional.
No real amount of words can really explain the complete Rock Show at Wembley Arena on Thursday night, the show had everything. Rock 'n' Roll Kiss music to the full, Fireworks, lights, flame throwers, exploding guitars, firing guitars, levitating Drum kits, confetti, fire breathing, spitting blood, 3-D screens, and the most important aspect of all, the original group members Paul, Ace, Peter, Gene. You might think that I not seen the group before, but infact it was my sixth show, the first one being at Stafford Bingley Hall back in 1980.

My wife and I had driven all the way from the north west of England to see the group, since Wembley appears to be their only UK date on the Psycho Circus Tour. When arriving at the arena at about 5.00pm to start queuing for a good standing position, you mind starts to wonder how close to the stage would we get on this particular show, little did we know how good it was to be. There seemed to be a wide variety of nationalities from around Europe at the show, certainly from Holland, Spain, and from wider areas of the UK in the north including Scotland and Ireland. The atmosphere was starting to build from around 5.20pm, since we were in a line near the Stage end, we could clearly hear the Band rehearsing the start of the show. First was Psycho Circus, then followed by about 4/5 starts of Shout It Out Loud. As you can imagine the atmosphere continued to grow until the doors opened just after 6.30pm.

Once the doors opened it was straight to the front of the Arena, unbelievably it was actually right to the front of the stage. We waited as patiently as possible for the arena to fill up, since we knew the show was a total sell out, the support band came on right on time at 7.30pm. I'd read many reports from other concerts on the European leg of the tour of Buckcherry, nearly all the reports were bad to say the least, I'd tried to keep an open mind, I shouldn't have bothered, they were Awful! They were incredibly loud, and very poor indeed. Kiss and their management have had a habit in the 1970's and 80's of having support acts which have gone on to much bigger things, I truly believe this will not be the case with Buckcherry.

The security guards at the front had informed us Kiss would be on stage virtually right on 8.30pm. within 2/3 minutes they were dead right. Stagehands had gathered around the stage curtain a few minutes before Kiss came on, they were there to remove the curtain once it had dropped to the floor. From our vantage point right in front of Gene Simmons microphone, we could see the curtain hadn't totally covered right down to the floor, therefore we could see the group walk onto the stage before the music started. Again the atmosphere was electric, and the band hadn't even started the show yet.

As soon as the arena lights went out, Gene Simmons was already raising his hands behind the curtain to the first few rows that could see him, then we had the familiar, but still original Kiss introduction…. Allright London… You wanted …The HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD…KISS!

The opening song was Psycho Circus and the front half of the Arena went mad, the atmosphere was absolutely incredibly. I've seen the band close up before, but never this close with their full make-up and costume, they were larger than life, and totally Kiss. The full set list of the Wembley show was as follows -Psycho Circus, Shout it out loud, Deuce, Do you love me, Firehouse, Shock Me, Let me go Rock 'n' Roll, Calling Dr. Love, Into the void, King of the night time world, God of thunder, Within, I was made for lovin you, Love gun, 100,000 years, Rock 'n' Roll all nite, Beth, Detroit rock city, Black diamond. I've read a lot of comments about the set lists for the current tour, and I suppose they could have varied it slightly more than the 1996/7 reunion tour, but nevertheless the show was fantastic, and in my opinion the group had even more energy than the last show on the previous tour that I saw.

Gene Simmons was totally relaxed, I've never seen him smile and laugh so much before while dressed in the full Kiss make-up and costume, he was having an absolute ball! Paul Stanley never stopped moving around the stage, Ace was Ace still looking Spaced out, but holding the music together while Stanley/Simmons went around performing to the vast audience. Peter Criss was superb, working harder than ever with great timing during the songs. It was real treat to hear him sing Beth in the UK, since on many occasions this song had been omitted. The 3-D was only limited success from where we were right at the front of the stage; but then again, it was only due to our superb viewing position. One of the obviously song highlights of the show was Rock 'n' Roll All Nite, with the Kiss anthem playing to the maximum, and the confetti dropping and being fired over the audience as Simmons and Stanley prowled and danced all over the stage. This culminated with Ace's guitar setting of further fire works on the end of his guitar; this was a pure Rock 'n' Roll party in London!

To summarise the show, it was pure Kiss, and was certainly the hottest band in the world. Anybody who is thinking of going to see the band in the near future, go and see them and have a party.

Stephen Draper.

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