Review by Paul Finn... Thanks to Peter for the complete set list
After almost 1 year and 3 million screaming KISS fans, the Alive/Worldwide '96 '97 tour has come to a close, luckily KISS chose possibly the hottest day this year to blow us away one last time (well until next year anyway).
The day didn't exactly get off to a brilliant start, the coach that was supposed to pick us up at 10 AM arrived over half an hour late (we actually saw the driver across the street asking somebody for directions!). Unfortunately the ending wasn't so good either, when a coach driver says 'If anyone sees a sign for the A1 let me know' you've just got to worry!! However, you're not here to hear about my troubles, you want to hear about the Hottest Band In The Land.
Upon arriving at Finsbury Park, the first thing that you just couldn't miss was the huge blow up KISS dolls that were positioned facing the road. I thought this was really cool, everybody going anywhere near the park couldn't miss the fact that KISS were in the neighbourhood. The park itself was smaller than I had imagined, much smaller than Donington, but the stage was just as big. Both sides of the stage had huge KISS Army banners across them which were very cool, I don't remember seeing them at Donington but I might be wrong.
The gig didn't start until sometime after 2 PM which gave us a chance to read the new tour book. Some of the pictures are incredible, this tour book is completely different to the ones they were selling when they were last over here in November. However, as my fiance and her sister pointed out some of the pictures stand out more than others... the first thing they noticed was that Paul's, erm, 'manhood' seems to be peeking out of a hole in his trousers (if you don't believe them check out the picture on page 14 of the tour book)!!
It wouldn't be fair for me to review the other 5 bands that were playing as I'm not a fan of any of them, all I'll say is that Thunder were really good and some of Skunk Anansie's set was quite good. I'm sorry but I just don't get that RATM stuff, what the hell is that all about? L7 weren't my type of band either, but at least they commented on how cool it was to be playing with KISS.
Anyway just after 8:30 PM those immortal words were heard once more 'Allllright London, you wanted the best, you got the best the hottest band in the world KISS!'. Down fell the curtain to an explosive version of Deuce, unfortunately we couldn't see much at this point as every person over 6 ft tall seemed to be standing right in front of us and it was still too light to be able to see the two screens at either side of the stage. Gene seemed to be on top form, his vocals were as good as ever as was Ace's playing, even if he was out of step during the little jig at the end of Deuce (again!). King Of The Night Time World was next, Paul's voice seemed to be a bit croaky at this point but it got better as the night went on.
Now, just to confuse us they played Let Me Go Rock And Roll, I was worried that they might be cutting back on the set list as this song didn't appear until later at both the concerts that I was at last year, but luckily I was wrong. Personally I think it was a great move bringing this song forward in the set list as it really got the crowd going. Next up were Do You Love Me, Calling Dr. Love, Firehouse and Watchin' You. Gene's fire breathing during Firehouse was very good - the best I've seen so far.
Paul introduced the next song saying that Ace wanted to sing us his favourite song - Shock Me. Ace's vocals were in top form, he sounded really good. I've got to have a little moan here though (and I know a lot of people disagree with me) but Ace's solo during Shock Me is far too long, people in the crowd start to get really restless, couldn't it be just a little bit shorter? There were some cool bits during it though, like when Ace said 'Roll over Beethoven' and started to play some of Beethoven's 5th symphony (I think!), Ace also said 'They've landed on Mars you know' which got a cheer from the audience. Both of his rockets fired off without any trouble, I have to admit I actually believed that the falling light thing was for real when I first saw it at the NEC (and I think most people believed it this time round too!).
Well, what can I say about Love Gun apart from it was brilliant? Paul asked us if he could come and join us in the crowd, but he wouldn't do so until we were loud enough. He said that they had a meter to see how loud we were (which they showed on the screens behind the band), when the needle reached the other end of the scale Peter, Ace & Gene kicked into the intro. As Paul was pulled across the crowd (managing to dodge the flying pints of beer) he started to sing from up on a platform not far from us. This was a really neat effect, it was great to be so close to the starchild, it's just a shame that he didn't sing most of the chorus - that job was left up to the crowd.
Next up were Cold Gin and Shout It Out Loud, both were very good especially Shout It Out Loud which seemed to really get the crowd going. Paul did the usual drink driving thing before Cold Gin, and once again he said they they would be coming back to England!! Gene decided to try and lick Ace's neck several times during the solo for Cold Gin - don't really know what all that was about! Paul started I Was Made For Lovin' You by asking us if we knew the words. He then sang the chorus a couple of times before the song started for real, it sounded good but I still prefer the way they sang it on Alive III. God Of Thunder kicked ass once more, with Gene flying up to sing from the lighting rig - those flames really add to the song, one false move and our Gene would've fried! Peter managed to get the crowd right behind him during his solo, he really looked like he was having fun.
Next was one of my favourite Ace tunes - New York Groove. He pulled it off perfectly with the obligatory 'Back In The London Groove' thrown in at the end. 100,000 years gave Paul the chance to get us all involved in the show once more, this was followed by the last song of the main set - Black Diamond (complete with rising drum kit and cherry pickers)..
The morphing KISS faces were shown on the monitors while we were waiting for them to come back out on stage. When they did finally come back and take a bow, Paul dedicated the show to all the road crew that had been with them over the last year. He then told us that he wanted to take us all back home with him on the plane, so he took us to Detroit Rock City instead!
My fiances sister had asked me earlier if KISS would sing any slow songs, I told her that they probably wouldn't as they didn't at any of last years shows, luckily I was wrong! After Detroit Rock City had finished on came a stool for Peter to sit on. I couldn't believe that they were actually going to play Beth - the first time ever in the UK. Peter threw 3 or 4 roses into the crowd then started to sing, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed, it seemed like the whole song lasted 1 minute! This was probably because the solo was skipped, but even so, Peter sounded great. The lyrics to the last line were sang slightly different to the usual version, Peter sang 'Me and the boys will be spending all night' (at least it sounded like that!).
As usual it was Rock 'N Roll All Nite that ended the show with all of the crowd singing along, I know a few people are sick of this song but I love it! It was the perfect song to end a brilliant set. Paul announced at the end that KISS would be coming back to see us again, let's hope that's sooner rather than later...
There were one or two things that could have been a bit better - mainly the screens at either side of the stage. The picture on them was very faint, even after the sun had gone down. The screen nearest us had a light shining right on it which made it even worse, that was a pity 'cause it was really hard for us to see the stage during the early part of the show. Also, did that old guy with the bike really have to take a leak in the middle of the crowd?!?! (those of you that seen him will know what I'm going on about!).
Overall this was a brilliant end to a brilliant tour, I know I doubted this tour from the beginning (being a Bruce fan and all) but on July 5th KISS really blew me away. My fiance had seen KISS once before with me in November (she wrote the review of that show) and her sister had only ever heard 'Crazy Crazy Nights', but all through the show my fiance was singing along to every song - and now her sister has borrowed 3 of my albums!! All of the special effects worked brilliantly (especially the pyros) they helped to make a perfect show even better. KISS are back, roll on a new album and a live video...
Most memorable quote:- 'You might not of read this in your newspapers, but it's just been announced that we are the No 1 band in the world' - Paul Stanley
The advert for 'Kaos In The Park' can be seen here.
Full set list:-
King Of The Night Time World
Let Me Go Rock N Roll
Do You Love Me?
Calling Dr. Love
Shout It Out Loud
I Was Made For Lovin' You
God Of Thunder
New York Groove
Detroit Rock City
Rock And Rock All Nite
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