Martin Curtis' Wembley Report

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"Me and my good lady got there about 4.30, and just got out and had a walk round to soak up the atmosphere and sample the merchandising stall. A fair few people were already queuing , including one guy who'd done a real good Paul Stanley get up - except at first we couldn't decide if it was a bloke or a woman - but it was a bloke and all power to him he'd done a real good job. We loved looking at the make-up, it really added to the occasion. When I went to see KISS - 19 years ago - I remember seeing a few people who had done a Paul Stanley job using a mirror and had put the star on the wrong eye, but you expect that sort of thing from Germans - the Brits had got it right. We also watched a couple of guys in the car next door, sitting in the front seats looking in mirrors putting on their make-up while a wife and son sat in the back watching. The irony of that sort of appealed to me. I also spotted a lass with a white face and a playboy bunny on one eye, a few "Little Miss KISS" T-shirts and some and also a pretty good "Ace Frehley."

Our seats were in Block 7 of the Arena on the left-hand side, looking down on the mini-stage in the middle of the standing area - but more of that later. Next to us was a lass from Bristol who'd come over with 4 teenage girls. She was another KISS fanatic, who'd been to merchandising and paid 100 for KISSTORY (amongst other things) - During the Buck Cherry set she paid another visit and, I think, bought the entire stall. Anyway she was a real fan and we had a good talk about a few things KISS. I was also surprised by the number of young kids around - I regretted not taking my 10 year old lad, who is a real KISS fan - but his turn will come.

BuckCherry, support act, were absolute crap. The lead singer had a whiney voice, trousers that were too big for him and he kept doing auditions for riverdance. They were just awful. I got the impression that they thought they were Guns 'n' Roses - but they weren't!! Maybe I was expecting too much because last time I went a very young Iron Maiden supported them - but I don't think it was that - I just think they were crap.

During the break the Psycho Circus curtain went up - looked pretty good I thought, but it was a bit transparent - Then came the "Alright London, you wanted the best...", the crowd roared and KISS were on - opening with "Psycho Circus."

I don't have a full playlist but the played all the old classics "I was made for Lovin You", Deuce" "Fire House"(with Gene doing his fire breathing), "God of Thunder" "100,000 Years", "Let Me Go Rock 'n' Roll" and also "Within" and "Into the Void" from Psycho Circus. I wish they had done "We Are One" instead of "Within" because it doesn't quite stand up to live performance (listening to the tour edition CD will tell you this).

Sound was excellent, and the 3D effects were fantastic, especially the video clips (one 3D clip in particular of Gene showing off his tongue made my good lady smile a bit - can't quite figure out why). I also thought it was a giggle watching all these roughy toughy Heavy Metal types with these naff 3d glasses on.

Gene Simmons was an absolute star posing all the way through - at one point flying up into a stage on the lighting rig after doing his blood spewing bit and performing God of Thunder from up high - with some sound effects used to make the final chorus sound fantastic.

Ace's solo was excellent, with a superb smoking guitar and then firing rockets off, including one which shot off a lighting rig. Ace was excellent all the way through the night with rip-roaring solo's and fantastic posing. He really looked like he was loving it. Ace also performed a bit of 2001 during his solo, which again was great and was accompanied by some real cool 3D clips.

The only criticism of the whole gig, was that I thought "Within" and "I was made for Lovin' You" sounded a bit iffy - but that is nit-picking.

Paul Stanley showed what an absolute showman he was, at one time telling the crowd that when they started out KISS used to listen to British bands and that Britain was their second home. During "Love Gun" he went on a slide across to a small stage in the middle of the crowd to sing, he finished off by stepping down from the stage to "High Five" some of the crowd before sliding back to the main stage, all the time with the crowd singing "Love Gun" over and over again - fantastic!!

Peter Criss drum lifted out and above the crown during his solo, a great change from just the rising drum kit of old - really, really spectacular.

The final song of the set was "Rock 'n' Roll All Nite" , during which a load of ticker-tape and streamers was blown across the crowd and went absolutely everywhere. I have to say that was a fantastic sight. Ace also had a Catherine Wheel spinning on the end of his guitar which looked just brilliant from where we were.

The encore started with Peter Criss sat on a stool singing "Beth" to backing track, pretty good - but would have been better slightly longer and with acoustic backing. This was followed by "Detroit Rock City" - with some great 3D video clips. The final tune was "Black Diamond" with a spectacular finish - an indoor firework display, explosions and fire shooting out at the back of the stage - from where we were sat half-way back, we could feel the heat from the fire, so God knows what it was like for the guys at the front!!

All in all it was a fantastic night, with so many highlights it's amazing. Have no doubt about it, after you have seen a KISS concert, you realise that Queen and Freddie Mercury and the Strolling Bones and Mick Jagger are nothing.KISS gigs are the greatest Rock'n' Roll shows in the world and KISS are the ultimate rock band. I can't wait for my next show.

My wife is not the greatest KISS fan in the world (but she is a fan) - but she was raving about it, and that says it all.

We eventually got back to sunny Peterborough at about 12.30, ears still ringing and "Rock 'n' Roll All Nite" still sounding in the back of our minds."

 

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