NEC Birmingham, 20th November '96
Review by the newest member of the KISS army, my fiance
It was seven thirty five on the 20 November, in a not so full Birmingham NEC arena,
everyone eager for
the support band to hurry up and make an appearance and then make way for the real reason
everyone was there.... KISS.
I doubt anyone had even heard of 'Verve Pipe' but I was prepared to watch and listen
with an open mind/ear. I can't say they wowed me or the rest of the crowd either,
especially by wrecking the classic 'Strawberry Fields' for their finale. No one even
seemed to notice they were there although they tried to make their presence known by
playing louder and louder, but to no avail. A lot seemed more interested in getting their
face air brushed with KISS on one cheek and a spider on the other, a few more daring ones
had their faces done to match one or other of their KISS faves. When the lights came back
up the arena was beginning to fill and by half past eight it was pretty much packed to
capacity. Not long after, the lights went down and the crowd prepared for the great
Just from seeing the outline of the KISS logo on the mega size curtain at the front of
the stage brought amazing excitement. After the traditional introduction 'ALL RIGHT
BIRMINGHAM. YOU WANTED THE BEST, YOU GOT THE BEST, THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD.... KISS!
There was a great
flash of light the curtain ripped in two and fell to the floor as they started kicking out
It was amazing, the sound was good and the visuals even better, I stared on in
amazement. Slightly marred only by Ace's rock-jig being a little out of time with Paul and
Next came, 'King of the Night Time World', and then 'Do You Love Me',
which had a cool new ending. Then Starchild announced "I know some of you have Rock
'n Roll pneumonia, so we better call out the doctor." Then the arena of fans shouted
almost in unison 'Doctor Love', as they started to play. After this was 'Watchin'
You', 'Let me go Rock 'n Roll' and the brilliant 'I Stole your Love'
with the fans getting more into it with each song. No encouragement to join in was needed,
although throughout the show Demon raised his leather wings indicating we should clap and
sing along even louder.
The next song was 'Shout it Out Loud' which was one of my personal favourites,
they really kicked
ass. That was followed by 'Firehouse' with the obligatory fire coming out of the
floor and everywhere. Towards the end came the fire engine sirens and then Gene emerged
from the left of the stage with a baton of fire, and breathed it into the air. It wasn't
as good as I've seen previously, as it didn't go very far into the air, but it was still
pretty spectacular. Then it was Ace's turn in the limelight, as he performed 'Shock Me'
with a never ending guitar solo. During this, smoke began to pour out of his guitar and he
toured the stage to escape it, eventually the guitar flew into the air, which seemed to
indicate the end of the solo. But no, he reappeared with another guitar and went on again.
After an eternity it ended, and I'm sure even the most dedicated Ace fan was relieved when
he finished. One of the highlights though was when he was shooting rockets out of his
guitar and one of them hit a stage light and completely bust it.
'C'mon and Love Me' was played for the first time on the reunion tour, and it
sounded great. It was introduced by Paul making comments about some of the female fans
towards the front of the arena and him saying "What's the phrase? Gagging for a
Shagging?" It sounds quite crude but actually it was quite amusing to hear such an
English phrase uttered by the great one! Paul also introduced the following song by
warning us all against drinking and driving, as if we did we may not be around in May when
they want to come back and see us!! He added if we did drink as it was so hot why not
drink 'Cold Gin'. We obviously had to shout this back several times before they
would play it. I must admit this isn't usually one of my favourites but I really enjoyed
the live version. Maybe it appealed to me more as Gene sang half and Ace sang half, which
I thought was very effective.
'Love Gun' was truly fabulous, definitely one of the highlights, and a great
introduction from Mr. Stanley. Pretending to use his guitar as a gun. We obviously all
knew what was coming next, but he followed this up by saying "It's eight inches of
cold hard steel. It hurts but you know it feels good." I can't speak for his steel,
but the song sure felt good.
They were really pulling out the stops now, if possible getting better with each song. 'God
of Thunder' had to be the major highlight for me. It was introduced by Gene spitting
blood to the sound of his bass and about halfway through the song he flew to the top of
the stage and landed on a platform where he performed the rest of the song. Fire shot up
from the ceiling, floor and everywhere as Gene tried to cope with the dripping blood. On
more than one occasion I saw him wiping it with his hand to stop it dripping everywhere.
As he somehow made his dismount, the others started belting out 'New York Groove'
again a major highlight. At the end Ace even sang "Back in the Birmingham
Groove" which proved at least he knew where he was! Ace also impressed us with his
flashing light guitar which added to the ever tremendous effects.
The Cat Man got his turn next, which was only fair, as we didn't see him for much of
the show. For me, I
think they could have used Peter a bit more by maybe including 'Beth' or 'Hard Luck
Woman', but each to their own. 'Black Diamond' was nothing short of spectacular, it
really got the crowd going, who seemed to have forgotten about the little cat at the back.
Not for long though as at the end of the song Peter and his drums rose up towards the
ceiling on a massive platform. At the same time Ace and Paul on the right side of the
stage and Gene on the left were propelled towards the crowd on a crane-like contraption.
After this they made their first goodnight. After shouts of 'more' and stamping feet
and the like which seemed to last almost as long as an Ace solo, the four emerged again.
'Detroit Rock City' (OK so I'm running short of different words for brilliant
and great!) took us to the penultimate song of 'I was made for loving you'. Paul
claimed it was the first time they played it live in 17 years - even though it appears on
'Alive III' from the Revenge tour of 1992 - he clearly doesn't count that.
Everyone knew what was coming next, and although we all wanted to hear the song
desperately, in a way we didn't as we knew it signalled the end of a memorable show. The
Rock anthem 'Rock and Roll all Nite' was played with gusto and passion, a true
summary of the whole show.
You will never know truly what a KISS show is like unless you witness it, and once
witnessed you will never forget it.
I wanted the best, I got the very best ..... KISS
King of the Night Time World
Do You Love Me
Let me go Rock 'n Roll
I Stole your Love
Shout It Out Loud
C'mon and Love Me
God of Thunder
New York Groove
Detroit Rock City
I was made for Lovin' You
Rock and Roll All Nite