Article From 'Heat' Magazine
April 10 - 16 1999

For lunatic spectacle and pantomime excess you can't beat Kiss

KISS Wembley Arena (4/5)

heat2.jpg (16343 bytes)IN THE DARKNESS AS SWEEPING searchlights scan the crowd, presumably looking for non-believers, the whole place suddenly starts to shudder like Krakatoa going though it's warm-up routine. Over the PA comes an announcement of God-like authority: "Aaawright, London. You wanted the best. You got the best." Unfortunately, there's no time for the disembodied voice to elaborate further on this assertion because, in the instant it takes for the curtain to drop to the floor, the stage has become a riot of flashing lights, explosions and leaping flames. Out front, four figures dressed like they've just been hijacked on their way to an intergalactic clown convention have already got the volume turned right up to 11 and are getting stuck into an indeterminate sludgy racket that's most likely called Psycho Circus. This'll be Kiss, then.

Fully reunited since 1996, the pulling power of Messrs Criss, Frehley, Simmons and Stanley never did owe much to their music. A quarter century of the basest schlock metal, all of it honouring their own lascivious rock 'n' roll heroism, has seen to that. But for sheer lunatic spectacle and pantomime excess they have yielded to nobody since the 1970's.

Approached with a hefty dollop of salt and some good quality cotton wool in the ears they still offer an absurdly entertaining night out. They've even got a new gimmick too - 3D video screens - so that when you put on your special glasses it looks like Gene Simmons' reptilian tongue really is coming right at you. Well, nobody said this was going to be art.

So if there must be a bass solo, then it might as well be perpetrated by a big bloke wearing tights, station platform-sized silvery boots, breast plate, batwing cape and studded codpiece who's perched on a gantry 40ft above the ground and likes to be referred to as the God Of Thunder. Besides, who else but Kiss can be bothered to have guitars that fire rockets these days? Or be dangled from invisible wires like plump, superannuated Peter Pans? Or celebrate the end of each number like it's the Chinese New Year? Or pay tribute to Stanley Kubrick by making a row like a sackful of tomcats being caught up in some heavy machinery? Or dare squawk about their Love Gun? Nobody, that's who. The fact that you know that they know they're old enough to know much, much better only adds another bogglesome dimension to their already peerless buffoonery. Robbie Williams has still got loads to learn. PETER KANE


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